[$6 // Edition of 25 // https://outwardrecords.bandcamp.com/album/present-and-tense]
Should you find yourself unfamiliar with the music of either Scares, Tocopa or both then "Present and Tense" will serve as a good way to become familiar with them. I feel like it's been a while since I've reviewed a split cassette where I didn't know either artist but it has always served as a good way of getting to know new music to me.
Scares is on Side A and I wonder if the unofficial name of it is "Present". There are audio clips and beats that give this a definite hip hop sound. It's drum beat loops that make me want to sing about rhythm is a dancer. This, of course, brings me to one of my ultimate hip hop heroes in Sage Francis and, yes, the music here does sound like his a bit, which is really cool. Along with Beats by Sage there are electronic piano sounds and then an audio clip asks "How do you feel inside?" If that isn't the sixty-four million dollar question I have no idea what is.
Tocopa handles Side B or what I've dubbed as "Tense" and right away I hear what seems to be hip hop but it is just presented in such a different way. To me, hip hop is a combination of those beats (usually handled by drums) mixed with bass, synth, strings, horns or some other factor- maybe even more than one- to add that sort of soul to it. This is usually presented in a way which is easy to recognize, but Tocopa mixes it up and has these same elements but just a different delivery. It is really quite unique and even as some triumphant Ice Cube comes out near the end it stays as mysterious as can be.
So with this particular split it's what I like to call the "same but different" version. Scares and Tocopa seem to inhabit the same genre but the way their music sounds is still different enough that you could tell them apart. But at the same time, yes, if you do happen to like one it is likely that you will also like the other. And there is nothing but like here. These instrumental hip hop songs say more than a lot of rappers ever could with words.