Fans of TJ Reynolds and The Freehand Orchestra deserve a warning before diving head first into Return of the Bambulas, the sophomore album by The Philosophy, a local three-piece hip hop collective comprised of T.J. “Toe Jam” Reynolds, Adam “Spread” Eaglesfield and Ike “Bambu” Boyd. Unlike Reynolds’ Freehand Orchestra, the trio performs without live instrumentation, allowing for an emphasis on lyrics and reducing the sing-a-long factor, with Reynolds’s stunning poetry-in-motion taking center stage.
The 10-track album begins appropriately with the anthemic “Start It Off," which bears a brass-heavy beat and rugged vocals. The hype continues on “Necessary” and “Doin’ It,” which calls listeners to action with statements such as, “Success is very dependent on whether we have the will to do what is necessary.” The tone changes on “U Can’t Get Me,” a lighthearted song with nimble vocals and merry lyrics. The triad gets goofy on “Panty Inspector,” the undeniable high point of the album’s second half. “Hands up! Drawers down!”
Attendees of The Philosophy’s December 22 CD Release at The Melody Inn not only heard the new album live, but were also fortunate enough to catch a rare, but always exquisite, appearance by NYC-based actress, director, and Toe-Jam-little-sister Teresa Reynolds. To commemorate the official release of Return of the Bambulas, prints of the leaf that adorns the album cover were also given to a select few lucky crowd members. Early arrivals watched up-and-coming beat boxer Tony Styxx perform, followed by Indy hip-hop super group ProForms, which features Skittz, ACE ONE, Son of Thought, Joe Harvey and Shogun.
Stream the entire album below and, if you like what you hear, cop a free download from their Bandcamp page.