Marconi Park After Dark

Tenf N McKean
best new music
By Adele Dazeem
LABEL: Spark Up RecordingsGENRE: RapREVIEWED: October 27, 2023

Tenf N McKean Transform South Philly's Underbelly into a Dark Rap Playground

With "Marconi Park After Dark," you're invited to a late-night soiree hosted by South Philly rap ensemble Tenf N McKean. In their latest offering, the toxic blend of raw lyricism from Soup Bol and Young Banana could be straight out of spaghetti western — if said western swapped cowboys for gritty street rappers and tumbleweed-strewn streets for the asphalt jungle of South Philly.

This album is less a glamorized homage to the urban streets and more a scathing indictment of the rough edges of city life. Tenf N McKean doesn't gloss the rough spots - instead, they celebrate them, turning pain into poetry and experiences into explicit narratives. Their music isn't designed for the casual listener - instead, they aim to reach those who understand, or want to understand, the unforgiving language of the streets.

"Bloom Coach," the album's standout track, showcases the unabashedly raw dynamic between the duo. Young Banana lays out their exploits, remarking casually, "Take the bitches to Penrose, do the wine-and-dine. Soup said he wants the blonde one but they're both blonde so it's fine." It's an intoxicating blend of audacious bravado mixed with a hint of soul-bearing confession.

Just when you think you've gotten a grip, Soup Bol peppers the narrative landscape with his unique brand of stark realism. With lyrics like "Dutch smoke fill the air pollution like China. Dead bodies everywhere my name is Rob Reiner," Soup doesn't merely rap a verse; he drags you into an underworld, forcing you to witness the reality he confronts daily.

In the same vein, "Car2Go" is a wild ride - both figuratively and literally. The song delves into the duo's experiences riding around the city in rental smart cars - guns, lewd acts, and all. The uncensored portrayal of their exploits underscores the authenticity that lends inescapable weight to their music.

That's where Tenf N McKean shines. They transform experiences into unsanitized tales, presenting a no-holds-barred reality of the life they live without attempting to cushion the blow for mainstream listeners. From the album's opening verses to its closing echoes, the duo not only celebrates, but also champions the grime of South Philly life, serving it whole for the bold and the brave to consume.

With "Marconi Park After Dark," Tenf N McKean establishes itself as more than a rap group. Soup Bol and Young Banana narrate the harsh yet captivating tales from the City of Brotherly Love with an authenticity that's compelling and raw. They're documentarians providing an immersive experience far removed from Philadelphia's sunlit Instagrammable locales.

Their work is an arduous incarnation of the lesser-seen life in the city's lesser-known spots. Every word is a rebellion against the glammed-up façades of popular rap music, every rap a testament to their profound connection with the gritty streets they call home. Tenf N McKean's album might not be comfortable to listen to, but it's a necessary listen, thrusting listeners deep into the grim and echoed realities of South Philly's life After Dark. Brace yourself and enter Marconi Park — Soup Bol and Young Banana have stories to tell.