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Review by Jesse Spohn
Tefman (Dexter Patterson) is a fixture on Madison’s hip-hop scene as a member of L.O.S.T. S.O.U.L.S. and on his own as well as being the force behind Top of the Map Entertainment. His first album under his own name, Feel Good Music, is triumphantly mature. He wastes no time getting into it, laying his first verse on the title track just ten seconds in. He can’t help but sound grimey with a voice that’s reminiscent of N.O.R.E., but clearly wants to explore different moods. Like many artists from the Midwest, Tefman is naturally going to blend styles from the East Coast and West Coast, and he does this quite well.
Tefman’s songs come across as painstakingly crafted to set a specific mood, as though each were written for a different scene in a movie. Gravitating toward synth-heavy and melodic beats, he is not shy about featuring auto-tuned hooks. Thanks to a mixed bag of talented producers that includes Scattered Brains, DJ Pain, DLO, Decap and others, Feel Good Music is loaded with a variety of tempos and time signatures.
Feel Good Music is an album that weaves in and out of hip-hop norms, rarely breaking new ground in terms of subject matter. As such, it comes as close to being a mainstream hip-hop record as any recent output from Madison. You may find yourself reading the credits and Googling the featured MCs and producers. It’s clear that Feel Good Music is coming from an authentic place though Tefman is well aware of what works for the masses and what doesn’t. This comes from experience as he references in album closer “Turnt Up”: I’m smarter cuz I’m older now.
Tefman is not trying to be super lyrical on purpose. He’s moving beyond regional success and heading towards mass appeal. Every – and I mean EVERY – chorus is memorable, all of the beats are knockin’ and the featured artists are outstanding. You’ll hear appearances on almost every song from artists like Star Persons, I-20, MC Starr, Boulevard Marv, Rickaby, Sincere Life and more.
The lyric feel good music is phrased a few times throughout, but this is not the type of album you can bring home to your grandmother. Sure, he references family life and pleads with people to “stop the violence,” but these messages are dominated by hustler tales. Tefman is reminiscent a mix between Rick Ross, N.O.R.E., and GOOD Music’s Consequence – so if these artists appeal to you, Feel Good Music should be an instant purchase.