I’m not sure when Adult Swim became the unofficial ambassador to instrumental Hip-Hop artists with jazzy influences, but they always find the best of the best. I trust AS with this corner, which is why when I first listened to Tokimonsta’s Midnight Menu, I googled “Tokimonsta Adult Swim” out of curiosity and was rewarded by seeing that TWO of her wonderful songs (“Soul To Seoul” and “Sweet Day”) have been featured on the channel while some sarcastic intertitles played on the screen.
On Midnight Menu, Tokimonsta takes full advantage of the free form environment instrumental hip-hop. Songs such as “Look-A-Like” have about three different sections that could each work as a stand-alone beat. But instead they all blend with one another. That’s the freedom given to a Hip-Hop producer when they don’t have to worry about a rapper’s flow, or a chorus. Ideas can shift on the fly.
But after a while, if the artist is good enough (which Tokimonsta is), you start matching rappers to who’d do best on which beat. And thankfully, Tokimonsta has a very impressive string of collaborations at this point. She had a song with Kool (FUCKING) Keith, remixed Lupe Fiasco’s “Superstar” last year, and most recently, released You’re Invited, an EP with singer Gavin Turek.
You’re Invited has some of the slickest dance songs of the year. “Surrender” has an incredibly catchy hook with a very strong Aaliyah feel to it. And “Hemisphere” is more of the slower burn variety, suggested to be sung in the shower by all ages. Because Turek has such a great voice tailor made for a‘90s R&B sound, Tokimonsta embraces that by letting her usually dense production breathe a bit, giving Turek’s voice the space to shine through.
One can only hope Tokimonsta continues working with really awesome artists. I remember absolutely freaking out the first time I heard Flying Lotus, another Adult Swim star, and Kendrick Lamar on a song together. If she ever joins forces with an unparalleled like that, I’d go bananas. But I’d be okay with settling for her consistently releasing her own stuff until the end of time.