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The Talented Timothy Taylor

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Album Review

The former leader of Poor Righteous Teachers, Wise Intelligent has been out of the hip-hop scene for much of the decade since his first solo album, working as a community organizer in his native Trenton, NJ. The fierce, politically-minded The Talented Timothy Taylor sounds like Wise Intelligent hasn't been away at all: besides a deeply Kanye West-like production featuring a manipulated soul sample and a placid, jazzy piano that sounds entirely up to the minute on the opening "Another Chance @ Life," Wise Intelligent comes out of the gate spitting tricky, multi-line rhymes that both scan perfectly and build into a devastating portrait of inner city Trenton. In interviews surrounding the album's release, Wise Intelligent explains the album title as a throwback to the golden age of hip-hop, when what mattered wasn't the size of one's marketing budget or ego, but one's talent behind the mic. Throughout The Talented Timothy Taylor, Wise Intelligent uses modern-day production styles and his own, undiminished, old-school flow to create a rapprochement between hip-hop's present and past, and the combination works perfectly.


Born: Trenton, NJ

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Wise Intelligent was the lead MC for golden age hip-hop group Poor Righteous Teachers, a Trenton, NJ-based trio well-versed in Five Percent Nation ideology. The exposure of their jazz-driven hip-hop was not on the scale of Brand Nubian or A Tribe Called Quest, but PRT did have an equally great influence on the new generation of alternative rappers that cropped up in the late '90s and early 2000s. Wise Intelligent's own pro-black politics were fueled by his dire upbringing in Trenton, where he and...
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