Full Circle came out in the most conventionally unconventional way possible, and it made total sense.
“Running through life I feel like there’s more for us/
And if I’m still the one, then you still Morpheus”TE dness ft. Shae Universe – Black Panther
Kicking off the year with his ‘Goodbye To Winter (freestyle)’ nobody would have expected what was about to follow from TE dness. A talented artist with a discography that rivals the best of them, sometimes TE is a victim of work rate. It’s not that he doesn’t drop music, since 2015 we have had at least one new TE project to listen to every year. It’s more what surrounds that where I think the disconnect appears. We get the body of work, maybe a freestyle or two but then musically things go quiet. Often this has simply just been life happening for example when he had his daughter or when he has launched one of his several businesses. Where we can, of course, celebrate the success of a black business owner and multi-faceted talent here, and we definitely should, it sadly leaves his music fans in a space of limbo having to replay the old tapes to get by.
Full Circle bucked this trend. This release felt organic even though I’m sure it came from meticulous planning. I think in this it allowed people to truly appreciate the kind of artist TE is as well as the quality of the music. Counter to current music climates where we are constantly bombarded with music in bulk, Full Circle came in a slow but constant stream. Week by week we would get a new track, giving us the time as an audience to digest each track properly and give each one the time to shine as a standalone. It helped that the only clues to a project coming were similar but not identical cover art and some visuals on his socials that incorporated the track name travelling in a circle. For eagle-eyed fans, they would have noticed that with each new track the previous tracks name would also feature on the visual faintly, and that was about as much of a clue as we got.
“If you take T[E] out trap, that’s rap and then we all alright”TE dness ft. Geovarn – Watered Eyes
This circle, central to the ethos of the tapes name, essentially buffered until we got the final track ‘Watered Eyes’. I have no idea whether it was intentional but I’m going to say it was, but the circle slowly filling up with track names and the circular motion they took were the last clue to say a tape was coming. I say this because the combination of the two mimicked the image of the circular buffering logo you hate to see on your laptop. With the release of the final track, the circle became complete so it was both a full circle and had simultaneously come full circle. If that’s not what was intended I’d like for it to be claimed that it is because that level of depth of thinking in terms of branding and marketing of the project would mimic the depth of the project itself.
Full Circle has something for everyone, but it has something for everyone because it feels very human. When I say it feels human that might sound stupid, but Full Circle is very emotive in its feel and sound. Typically we expect the trap talk and braggadocio on a TE project (I mean he has projects called Trapicana & Trap Nominated), and whilst that’s not absent on Full Circle it does take a back seat. Speaking on the loss of a family member, relationships – both platonic and romantic, not selling a dream, fatherhood, and perseverance – the project really takes you on a ride. It is in these cuts from Full Circle that I think TE really shines, with a special mention to ‘Black Panther’ for not only having a great name and message but also some of my favourite lines in recent memory.
“Who would I be if I ever held back?/
Only told ‘em ‘bout the nights that I sell pack/
Told ‘em I was never broke and always held cash/
Hide the truth from the youth, G what kinda helps that?”TE dness ft. Shae Universe – Black Panther
Sonically, whilst each track was released individually they all flow well together. The project feels cohesive despite its unorthodox release. A particular region of Full Circle to highlight for this is definitely the last few tracks. From ‘Lil F*cker’ through to ‘Watered Eyes’ the track ordering is spot on. You get the hype, trap talk, bragging, and then on the flip side the calm, emotional, reflective TE as well as some dope features.
Full Circle was the project we didn’t expect, but it was a project we needed. The last time TE was so introspective for so much of a project was on 2012s Welcome To The Club, which has sonically stood the test of time. To get the 2019 inward-looking TE and for it to have come packaged in a manner so suited to the current musical climate, it must be applauded. The tracks speak for themselves, and hopefully, with this and a headline show on the horizon, TE can kill two birds with one stone – solidifying himself as outside of the underrated context he’s often spoken about in as well as getting him on track to keep musically consistent.
You can stream the project above or catch some of the videos shot for the project here.