Track Review :: Anthony OKS “TBA”

by Nigel Webber

Anthony OKS has achieved certified banger status with “TBA.” OKS, a member of long running Winnipeg hip-hop group the Lytics, has a new single from his solo project that features his brother and fellow Lytic, Andrew O. The beat for “TBA,” produced by Paalsh, is driven by a pulsing bass guitar riff, allowing OKS’ vocals to reinforce the urge to head nod.

As the drums drop out in the bridge of the track, OKS’ delivery switches to more of a Patois style but he quickly brings it back to his normal flow. The second verse begins with the drums coming back with a force but the cycle repeats at the end of the verse and the drums come back powerfully again for Andrew O.’s closing verse.

Anthony OKS calls his brother “assertive on the mic” and describes how Andrew’s deeper voice adds a fuller range to the track. Not too mention, as OKS puts it, “he’s also a very cool looking dude”. In the video, the two brothers are mostly in a sparse warehouse space, lit creatively in red or flashing green. They also rap in front of a local grocery store at night. The combination of the natural lighting from the street scene and the minimal coloured lighting in the warehouse allows much of the video to operate in near darkness.

One of the more interesting aspects of the video, directed by Vancouver based cinematographer Nic Kriellaars, is that OKS and Andrew’s faces are often completely covered in shadows. This might seem counterproductive for a music video but the effect it gives to the viewer is to lean in, listen closer and maybe try to see through the shadows. Kriellaars has told Anthony that the video was influenced by grime, the UK sub-genre of rap that usually has very raw, unpolished videos. Both OKS and Kriellaars are huge fans of grime and the stark surroundings of the video are reminiscent of the sparse videos of Skepta.

For fans of “TBA” and Anthony OKS’ solo project, there is good and bad news. While Anthony says the song is not part of a larger album, he does have a cadre of singles he is planning on releasing in the New Year. He describes his main reason for putting them out now is simply because he wants a solo album to flow naturally, saying “I know what I want my album to sound like [but] I just need time to get it out.” In the meantime, as Anthony OKS conceptualizes a full length release, the world is left to contemplate how many times in a row to bump “TBA” on the way home from work today.

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