b. Terrence Tessora, Brooklyn, New York, New York City, USA. Rapper Tes was inspired to create music after hearing Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock’ at an ice skating rink. Initially freestyling with friends, Tessora began creating his own tracks and eventually teamed up with Brooklyn-based VF Productions to release two low key EPs, Take Home Tes and Sound Investments. His 2003 debut was a genuinely intriguing album that juxtaposed a seemingly breathless flow with predominantly sparse underground hip-hop. The album was originally intended to be titled Off On Mondays, in reference to the day of the week that Tessora abstained from work to record tracks, but was issued as X2 (pronounced ‘times two’), a reference to both its creator’s dual role as MC and producer as well as the double ‘T’ of his initials. The title was also apparently a mathematical in-joke and the album was packaged with a sprawling, seemingly incomprehensible mathematical formula. Tes looked to his day-to-day existence as subject matter for his dense, breathless raps: ‘Don’t watch the clock/It’s a waste of time’, he advised on ‘Fool Time’, ‘even if they pay you/don’t make it by nine’. Another track was straightforwardly entitled ‘Late To Work’. Intriguingly, the MC was his most ebullient on ‘New New York’, a track about existing in the city following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The astutely sampling track was intended to counter the feelings of woe. X2 additionally featured Japanese beatboxer Afra (on ‘Big Shots’), producer DJ Ese (on the track ‘Say When’) and Lo Deck (on ‘Late To Work’).
- Brooklyn, NY