Who is Tanya Morgan? If you were thinking that Tanya Morgan is a fly looking female from around the way, well you need to dig a little deeper. In actual facts, Tanya Morgan is an all male group originally consisting of MC Donwill, MC IIyas and producer/MC Von Pea that formed in 2003. Donwill and IIyas are from Cincinnati, Ohio, and were a duo known as Ilwil. Von Pea is from the planet of Brooklyn. The Cincinnati/BK connection was forged when Donwill and Von Pea met up via the internet through the revered website Okayplayer.com created by The Roots’s Questlove in 2004. They sent files of vocals and beats to each other via email and instant messenger. This digital dialogue provided the genesis that led to the group’s release of their first mixtape Sunlighting, their first EP entitled Sunset in 2005, and their debut album Moonlighting in 2006.
Moonlighting has a number of fresh and soulful tracks produced by Brickbeats, who also hails from The Nati, including “Paper Thin,” “Ode To Tanya” and “We Bad,” interspersed with fresh skits where the Tanya Morgan tape is sold from the store and passed amongst consumers. The album received a solid 3.5 rating out of 5 mics from The Source, a.k.a. the Bible of Hip Hop journalism, and was featured in Chairman Mao’s, Chairman’s Choice column in XXL. Tanya Morgan also made a creative video for “We Be” which was a take off on Myspace for which the group referred to their site as TMSpace. You can check out this entertaining treatment on YouTube.
Since the release of Moonlighting, Tanya Morgan has toured extensively across the country and abroad, collaborated with a multitude of fellow MCs and singers, and become a fixture on XM Satellite Radio, most notably on the show Subsoniq hosted by KB and producer K-Murdock of Panacea on the XM channel The Rhyme. In addition, they continued to release classic material, putting out a mixtape entitled Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group mixed by DJ Soul and another EP called The Bridge. In 2009, the trio released their second full length album aptly titled Brooklynati. This album included songs like “Bang and Boogie,” “Hardcore Gentlemen,” “We’re Fly” ft. Kay, and “Never 2ndary” ft. Jermiside, Che Grand, Elucid and Spec Boogie. In 2010, Tanya Morgan’s Donwill and Von Pea each put out noteworthy solo projects. Von Pea’s Pea’s Gotta Have It is an energetic and eclectic album reminiscent of Leaders Of The New School’s debut A Future Without A Past. “There U Were,” “Ahead of the Class,” “Get Violated” and “Pep Rally” are some of the record’s highlights. Donwill’s Don Cusack in High Fidelity is a conceptual album modeled after the movie “High Fidelity” released in 2000 and starring John Cusack. Donwill takes on topics relating to love, music and the ups and downs of relationships. Standout tracks include “Laura’s Song,” “Championship Vinyl” ft. Ilyas and Von Pea, “Leading Lady” and “Girl, Girl” ft. Kay & Uzoy. In 2011, Ilyas left the group, and Donwill and Von Pea continued on as a duo releasing Tanya Morgan’s third EP You & What Army.
Back for 2013, Tanya Morgan has just released their third solo album entitled Rubber Souls via Traffic Entertainment Group, Inc. which is digitally distributed by The Orchard. The album is entirely produced by 6th Sense and was recorded at Rubber Tracks Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Donwill and Von Pea move the crowd on jams “For Real” and “Pick It Up” where 6th Sense provides an ill beat that accentuates the record. On “Never Too Much,” the band collaborates with Nitty Scott, MC who was previously featured on The Daily Rind back in September 2012 when she released her debut EP, The Boombox Diaries, Vol. 1. The lesson of the song is that no matter how many material items a man gives his woman, that does not define what the essence of their relationship is, and your soul is more important than how many material possessions you acquire. The video accompanying the track just came out and can be viewed on YouTube or right here:
As one reaches the latter part of Rubber Souls, Donwill and Von Pea spit deep verses on “Eulogy” about lost ones over a soulful 6th Sense landscape. On “Worldmade,” the fellas break down what is really going down in the streets which is covered up in the mainstream media. The release closes with the poignant track “Vehicle” ft. Spec Boogie and 6th Sense where Von Pea and Donwill emphasize that their music continues to grow, and that they will not compromise their authenticity despite the negativity that surrounds them within the music industry. 6th Sense and Spec Boogie add eloquent verses as well that the listener should pay close attention to as important jewels are dropped in them.
In addition, most of the Tanya Morgan catalogue including full lengths and EP(s) as well as Donwill’s and Von Pea’s solo releases are available via Interdependent Media which The Orchard also distributes digitally. Just click on each Tanya Morgan record mentioned in this article and enjoy!