Lee Hawthorn

Quinzelly's Tyrone: conceptual king of the castle or a literal disappointment?

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Tyrone copy

When Hip Hop was first born, it was a movement to make a statement, while the respective songwriter could go for a blunt NWA style, allowing no mistake as to the point of the message. There is also a slicker, more subtle alternative, that has pushed the art for so long – the use of an extended metaphor or constructing a concept to keep to throughout. For example, Joe Budden’s Exxxes embeds his relationship with depression, cleverly disguised as a woman – something which was similarly used by Eminem on 25 To Life, but using the woman as a disguise for his relationship with Hip Hop.

Newcastle rapper Quinzelly has provided a new record that has posed me to question if it is a watertight metaphorical record, using the territorial tendencies of a dog as a front for two men trying to establish their dominance. Or is the emcee simply constructing a story about his dog, Tyrone, and there is nothing more to it? Either way, there are issues that Quinzelly should address in his next record – but if this is not the former of the aforementioned suggestions, he’s missed a trick for what could have easily been the best conceptual song to come out of the North East.

If Tyrone is a track utilising the extended metaphor, then Quinzelly could have alluded more to it. The sheer genius of 25 To Life came as a result of the fact Eminem was able to maintain the concept for long enough, but broke it to create a genuine surprise for the listener as he uttered the words Hip Hop, preceded by a bar of expletives. Without the nod to the twist, we’d all just be bored of yet another song berating his ex-wife, and it’s the lack of hint to something else that most harms my enjoyment of Tyrone – and upholds my belief of this simply being a descriptive story of a semi-neglected dog, with a mistaken sense of self-importance.

I could very much have forgiven the average beat, and the sometimes lazy enunciation, if Quinzelly had put the final nail in the coffin and made it clear which of the possible styles he had intended this to be. Yet, the ambiguity is the determining, detrimental factor in the downfall of Tyrone. The emcee could have established himself as the king of the castle, as the hook suggests, but the throne is still vacant in terms of story telling songwriters of the city – but he does deserve credit for trying, and he certainly has my attention on that basis alone.


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