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12 Hours+ ‘the Work of a Good Musician Experimenting With his Sound’

12 Hours+ is a collection of instrumentals produced by Tariq Lionel, in what I consider to be one of the most fascinating mashups I’ve ever witnessed. According to his Facebook post about the project, Lionel says “I consider [12 Hours+] to be a melting pot of my creativity,” and it certainly is a melting pot of creativity, if I’ve ever seen one. 

Beginning with “Falling,” the first song on the album, listeners are met with a piano intro, followed shortly after by the Virgin Islands anthem, played on the steel pan. What happens next blows my mind every time. From the anthem, Tariq transitions to a trap beat.

From the jump, we are told through music, exactly what we should expect from here on out: a combination of rhythms influenced by both Caribbean and American cultures of music.

Of course, some songs on this album do not follow this theme, like “Hinokami” and “Focus.” And while they are just as good as the ones that do, the ones that managed to fuse those common island sounds with common hip-hop sounds to create something uncommon from the standpoint of a West Indian listener are the ones that stood out most. 

“Joe Momma,” one of the songs on the album, was perhaps one of the most interesting tracks because it was less of fusion, and more of a translation in my eyes (or ears, I suppose). He begins with a contemporary calypso beat, a waistline activator, if you will, and manages to not just combine the melody with a trap beat, but translates it into one.

That same beat you heard at the beginning seamlessly transitions as if two musicians from vastly different places were given the same collection of notes and told to make music from them. It really is an amazing piece. 

12 Hours+ is very clearly the work of a good musician experimenting with his sound, and I highly recommend giving this collection a listen. As music in the Virgin Islands and the rest of the Caribbean continues to interact more with American elements, the blending of our cultural music with that of the mainland will be a prominent trend and Lionel has put himself at the forefront of that.

Even Zouk music makes an appearance, and while I am not as acquainted with the genre, his intention of blending cultures is apparent even in just the name of the song, “Zouk la Fkdem Kids,” which, admittedly, made me cackle.

Tariq Lionel was the recipient of the Ten Sleepless Knights music scholarship and he proves to us why he was deserving of it. I look forward to seeing what Lionel has in store for us down the road and if 12 Hours+ is any indication, it’ll be nothing short of fire.

Stream 12 Hours+ on Google Play Music, Apple Music, Tidal and Spotify.