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"TLM:: Acronyms:: Militant Muzik Group"

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TLM :: Acronyms :: Militant Muzik Group
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
In the latest issue of XXL, there are exactly two women featured (three if you count editor-in-chief Vanessa Satten). One is Eye Candy/Kim Kardashian look-alike Shakuri, photographed with her voluptuous figure covered in Hershey's syrup, and quoted as saying "It's the 21st century, and I'm all for women's rights, but I personally believe that it's a man's world and women are created to keep men company." The other is rapper Trina, who explains how her image as an oversexed badass is more part of her brand rather than her actual personality. "I'm happy people look at me as sexy, but sometimes, it is a lot," she says. "My life is so not like most of the stuff you hear on record." Unfortunately, those two women sum up the limited choices for females in the industry; you can either be a hypersexual bad girl, or a hypersexual and submissive piece of eye candy whom people will recognize more for your measurements than your name.

South Carolina MC TLM (The Lyrical Maze) steers clear of both paths, and instead follows in the heels of feminine but tough female MCs like Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot, and Lauren Hill. Sure, she has some glamor shots on her Myspace page, and her album cover is an anime image of her with oversized breasts and overhard abs, but the focus of "Acronyms" is on TLM's musical ability, not her figure or sexual proclivities. TLM is one of those few but fortunate MCs who also has a nice singing voice. The result is that she can switch between singing and rapping, and her flow has a warm, melodic quality. She comes across as confident, self-assured, strong but decidedly female. She starts off with an intro letting us know what the initials in her name stand for:

The beginning, The never ending, The revolution
Lyrically I'm living humble so I'm never Losing
Walk my Maze, My gift, reaching for a nation
Always waiting and always praying so I'm saying
I am the best, lyrically no contest
Loving life so I'm giving you me through
the Music it will set you free"

Then she explains the name of the album:

"Acronym, the first symbols and letters withing phrases and names, pronounced as words, but considered as abbreviations."

"Salt & Peppa" has an organ stab and a subdued drum beat, interspersed with some cutting and scratching. It gives her space to spit her rhymes, and it is an example of the unique production on the album. All of the beats are handled by B 4 Reel and Jelani, and their work has a distinct sound. They mix in unusual instruments like thumb pianos, African drums, and acoustic instruments to create a warm, organic sound that perfectly compliments TLM's voice. They also work within different genres, going from straight up hip hop to soulful, R&B-informed beats to jazz to dance.

TLM proves herself to be a diverse artist. She nails the hardcore hip hop of "Swag", which has a sinister bass line and drums. Songs like "Cruzin' Interlude" and "Mr. Funkadelic" have the jazzy sound of Digable Planets, with TLM not so much rapping as doing spoken word. She's at her best on bangers like "Dreamin'" that allow her to spit fire, and more soulful songs like "Someday" that highlight her sense of melody. The album ends with "Me and My Guitar," in which TLM sings and raps over nothing but a muted guitar riff. TLM is convincing through it all, proving herself to be a solid rhymer and talented singer. She only stumbles when she tackles dance-pop, liked the Auto-Tuned "Get Away." The robot voice and dumbed-down rapping stick out like a sore thumb on an album filled with much better, more complex music. If she wants to experiment with the genre, that's her business, but it would be a terrible waste of her talent if she decided to cater exclusively to the club crowd.

19 million people bought copies of "The Miseducation of Lauren Hill," and they have been waiting a long time for the follow up. They would do well to pick up TLM's "Acronyms," a continuation of the hip hop soul perfected by Ms. Hill. The Lyrical Maze is a multi-faceted artist whose impressive debut offers a three-dimensional portrait of a female hip hop artist.

Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Originally posted: August 11, 2009
source: www.RapReviews.com

- Patrick Taylor

"CD review"

Grind Reviews

Hailing from Columbia, South Carolina TLM (The Lyrical Maze) represents hard for true female MCs. With no gimmicks and no sexually charged sales bids - just straight skills and rhymes - it is of little suprise that she has been picked up as a member of The Temple Of Hip-Hop by KRS One. Bringing lyrical firepower with the straight spitting 'Salt and Pepper' TLM shows that she can stand side-by-side with the men before 'Dreamin' lets her flip her skills further, also showing that she can sing as well as rap while demonstrating that she is hard to beat on the mic. The heat continues across the album as TLM holds her own alongside her guests and in so recalls the straight spitting skills of names like MC Lyte, Nonchalant and Bahamadia. Not to say TLM is not her own woman, but just that she sees no need to bow down to marketing ploys, instead letting her ability speak for itself. Of course this is 2009, so 'Get Away' offers some fine commercial-minded autotune flavor to ease matters along before 'Mr Funkadelic' lets TLM show her story-telling skills. With plenty of highlights, TLM shows that she is a skilled MC regardless of her gender, while also showing the self-confessed influence of Jill Scott on her music on tracks like 'Seasons.' That she can outsing many R&B singers and, at the same time outrap many MCs is testament to TLM's talent. However, TLM is also willing to let others shine as names like Big Bub, B 4 Reel and others are given the chance to introduce themselves. There are points where TLM doesn't quite match her beats to her own skills, such as on 'Times Up,' but even here her ability carries the track to make it better than the most solid efforts of many other artists. The fact is, that while you may not have heard TLM on regular rotation on the radiowaves, she has skills that should see her become a household name in hip-hop. 'Magnificent' sees TLM trade bars with Chiz DiBiase over a bumping beat and synth backing before 'Swag' allows her to drop some straight-up hip-hop posturing. Dreaming on a better tomorrow, TLM drops the fine 'Some Day' before taking a look over her shoulder and showing her love for music on the autobiographical 'Time Goes By.' 'Me And My Guitar' lets TLM both rap and sing before the 'Outro' closes matters out. Truly talented and with a straight-up no gimmicks approach to her music TLM recalls the talents of an on-point and hungry Lauryn Hill. Here's hoping that she can get the props she deserves on her own account. If she does she may just take over the game with her own brand of hip-hop miseducation. Don't sleep on this one...

TLM - Acronyms (8.02.09)

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Debut Single- Get Away
Debut Album- Acronyms



TLM (The Lyrical Maze)
Born and raised in Columbia, the METRO South Carolina.
Singing at the age of 9 and writing poetry and short stories by the age of 11.
The poetry converted to a fun classic hip hop style with elite metaphors, similes, and diverse wordplay.
She started battling at the age of 13 and won multiple talent competitions
while developing the unique Hip Hop talent she possess today.
Currently a dance choreographer in Columbia, SC. TLM has tavelled and featured extensively across the nation.
Her flow has been compared to a mix of MC LYTE, with the versatility of Fergie & Pink.
The Lyrical Maze's achievements and features include
* Headline Artist -The NWO Word Warriors Tour 2008
* Featured artist at SAHAS END GAME Cd release.
* Ranked 5th internationally in the Ourstage.com T-PAIN competition
* Featured in KRS1 concert at The Apache Cafe Atlanta, GA
* Featured with Tony Winner georgia ME @ 30Something in Mobile, AL.

My Pad: Columbia