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Legend Concept Specter
Real name - Dmitri Morozov
Class - Assault
Gender - Male
Backstory - Dmitri was born on the planet Typhon, at a top secret IMC research facility, kept a secret by his parents, Darya and Alex Morozov, Dmitri was kept away, quietly being raised under the radar. During this time, he grew fascinated with his parent's technological prowess, however their need of science and devotion to their discoveries lead to their demise. 5 years after the battle of Demeter when the Fold Weapon backfired, and the planet was essentially destroyed, the family barely made it off the planet, at a cost. Darya, Dmitri's mother, couldn't make it to the ship in time, and went down with the planet, along with years upon years of valuable research and fully developed scientific discoveries. Dmitri had just turned 9 years old.
Upon escape, he and his father began to grow apart, the loss of his wife and years of research was just enough to send him into a depressed state. Dmitri however was determined to forge this relationship back together, and began a new project, one of huge technological advancements. For years him and his father worked towards a brighter future, and through trial and error, lots of explosions, and many sleepless nights, it was done. Every single bit of research Alex and Darya had made, was recovered, those discoveries were remade and recorded. All of Alex's life work had been recovered, but no matter what advances they made, no matter how tech savvy the duo were... nothing could bring back Darya. This weighed on Alex, but motivated him to pave a greater path for his son.
When the IMC showed back up, neither of the duo were prepared. The had managed to track them down, and were coming to claim the research and findings that they claimed belonged to them. The two quickly ran into hiding, but they couldn't hide fast or good enough as the soldiers captured Alex. Dmitri narrowly escaped, killing many soldiers as he nimbly sprinted towards freedom.Suddenly, the IMC sent down ships, all for the purpose of tracking him down, as he single handedly (now that Alex was captured) held onto the tablet with the research and tech. However Dmitri put the tech to good use, and managed to out smart the invading soldiers. He stole a ship, but scrambled the enemy sensors just enough to make it seem as if it was friendly.
Ever since then, he's been living in plain sight, formulating a plan to get back his father. Until he noticed the games, he though it was the perfect way to win enough fame, money, and prowess to find and rescue his father. So he got to work. Inspired by the outstanding performance of Elliot Witt's Holo tech, Bloodhound's tracking ability, and the sheer brilliance of N.E.W.T and the gravity lifts, he decided to put his own technology to the test. Days of work were spent developing his suit. Using his research, he did what nobody believed was possible. He managed to take cloaking and scramble technology thought to be only for ships of huge sizes, and scaled it down to a single person suit, marking his entry into the Apex Games.
Personality in game - He has a sense of seriousness about him, but isn't afraid to crack a few jokes every now and then. Like a mix of Wraith and Mirage, he is about business, but isn't necessarily gonna be serious the whole way there. Heres a cool concept, when he hasn't been in combat for at least 45 seconds (been shot at or shot at someone else) he has different ping audio then when in combat. Outside of combat he is very relaxed and pops jokes, while in combat, he goes full on Bangalore. Which would be beautiful to hear with his heavy Russian Accent.
Passive: low profile Receives 5% more damage
passive: virtual ghost
Specter is Immune to all enemy scans and doesn't activate traps.
tactical: Active Camouflage --25 second cooldown--
Upon activation, Specter gains the following benefits for 5 seconds.
- No footstep sounds
- Immune to Digital Threat optics (but not Beast of the Hunt)
- Leaves no bloodhound tracks
- Slightly cloaks himself for enemies at a distance. (depends on distance, close range can see him 100%, but the further away, the more translucent you become)
Ultimate: Chaos scrambler --3.5 minute cooldown--
Specter throws a short ranged device that scrambles enemy's sensors within a certain radius. The device lasts for 10 seconds only, but can be destroyed. The device has 50 hp, and Crypto's EMP will also destroy it. Enemies, while within the radius, gain the following debuffs.
-All teammate outlines, gamer-tags, and mini-map arrows are disabled.
-Ping system is randomized. (Pinging enemy here
-Traps and devices are always seen as hostile, wether their are your teammate's or yours. (Caustic gas, Wattson fences, N.E.W.T., Death Totems, Portals, Gibby bubbles, etc. all appear hostile to you, despite possible being from your teammates.
Discussion - Ive always wanted a legend that is focused around debuffing the enemies rather than buffing the allies, its relatively rare in a game like this, so I though I would design a legend around that. I also loved the idea of confusing the enemies in more ways than Mirage can, Mirage is more of a middle of a fight trick, whereas Specter's ultimate is meant to cause havoc, having enemies not know where or who their allies are, while you have full control of the situation. However I recognize this would get broken quickly, thats why it has 50 hp. This game is designed around team work, so for a legend to disrupt that for 10 seconds, I feel this is a creative way to shift the meta around. Having a Specter on your team could make dealing with Caustic and Wattson defenses easier, not by giving you a set advantage, but instead but giving them a confusing disadvantage.
I am 100% open to criticism, and would love to hear your thoughts on this concept.
Throwback Write-Up #24: Tricky - Maxinquaye
Release Date: 20 February 1995
IntroductionMaxinquaye is the debut album by British rapper and producer Tricky. Having garnered a lot of unexpected positive attention from critics and audiences alike upon its release in early 1995, it later became the cornerstone of the genre now known as trip-hop.
I decided to do this write-up for several reasons, one of them being that I think this genre deserves more attention on this sub and among hip-hop heads in general. Tricky’s sampling skills are up there with the best beatmakers of the 90s and his combination of muttered, almost spoken word rapping and use of female vocals to depict the internal anguish and the reality around him is unquestionably unique. If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, there’s no better place to start, especially if you’re a fan of creative sampling and music that envelops you and takes you to another place.
Furthermore, it is a fascinating story on a personal level. It’s the story of a regular guy continuously falling upwards into rather unwanted success, coming into his own as an artist and coming to terms with fame and attention. It is also an important piece in the puzzle of how trip-hop as a genre came to be. Tricky wasn’t the first artist to combine the signature elements of it, but his distinctive approach certainly stood out among his contemporaries and made him into one of the figures synonymous with trip-hop as a whole. I go pretty in-depth on who Tricky is and how the pieces of the puzzle fell together since the accounts of his life that can be found online are rather disjointed. If you’d rather only read about the musical contents, feel free to skip to the section titled “Brand New You’re Retro”.
One last thing I’d like to note before we begin: Tricky is a pretty enigmatic figure, and a lot of the sources that can be found on the internet contradict each other. That’s why I decided to go to the ultimate one: his 2019 autobiography “Hell Is Round The Corner”. There is a chance, as there always is with this sort of thing, that the narrator is unreliable, but if there’s no way to know the truth, and that’s how the artist wants to be seen, and it makes for a good story, why not?
With that said, let’s start with the following question: what the hell is trip-hop anyway?
Dance music for the headTrip-hop is the oldest of hip-hop’s British cousins, which happens to be unfortunately, even if understandably, overlooked in the hip-hop circles. As with the younger and more popular grime, trip-hop traces its roots to electronic music while pulling influences and certain elements from hip-hop. The genre largely abandons the gritty realism and lyrical prowess of American MCs of the time, focusing on creating an entrancing melancholic atmosphere with heavy use of slowed down samples and female vocals.
“What we were trying to do was create dance music for the head, rather than the feet” – Daddy G of Massive AttackThe genre was born in Bristol, where a collective known as The Wild Bunch started making waves in the St. Paul’s neighborhood in the second half of the 80s. Their music was inspired by the multicultural nature of Bristol and combined dub, punk, hip-hop and reggae, and they played it at parties that they threw around the neighborhood. The Wild Bunch was eventually chiseled out into a group called Massive Attack, with another on-and-off member, Tricky, continuing to be an occasional collaborator. Together with the group Portishead these three artistic entities now form the Holy Trinity of trip-hop:
- Massive Attack, probably the most famous act of the bunch, is led by Robert “3D” Del Naja, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and graffiti artist (some even allege that he and Banksy are the same person), and the only member who has never left the group. The list of their collaborators is too long to recite, and this collective nature of music creation is vital to Massive Attack’s ever evolving style.
- The members of Portishead come from a little bit of a different background than the others, pulling influence from noir movie soundtracks and jazz, among other things. They also started making music in a more intimate, bedroom setting, as opposed to The Wild Bunch’s block parties. Over the course of 29 years and only 3 albums, Beth Gibbons remained the sole voice of the band.
- Where others continued to develop the mellow sound of trip-hop, Tricky pushed the envelope and continued to experiment, eventually straying pretty far from where the genre started. He could be described as the wild card of the scene, always going against the grain and being on his own wavelength.
The Tricky KidAdrian Nicholas Matthew Thaws was born in 1968 in Bristol to an Anglo-Guyanese mother and a Jamaican father. Maxine Quaye took her life when her son was only 4 years old. Roy Thaws wasn’t in Adrian’s life much, because Maxine’s uncle Martin decided Roy was to blame for her death and promised violence if he ever saw him again. Adrian’s childhood was spent in Knowle West, a poor and predominantly white neighborhood in Bristol, with various members of his extended family.
Two prominent motifs in Tricky’s autobiography are his family’s mixed ethnicity and their violence that surrounded him throughout his early years. These themes have obviously impacted his personality and informed a lot of his music later on, as has the fact that Adrian’s first memory was his mother lying in a coffin. Nevertheless, he grew up a pretty normal kid, getting into trouble and listening to music. While he did dabble in crime as a youth and even went to prison for a little while for using forged currency, by his own admission Adrian was too soft for that and definitely didn’t want to come back to the cell. While some of his peers continued on this path, he started to dodge collective activities, which earned him the moniker “Tricky Kid”.
As it usually happens with great innovators, young Adrian listened to a very diverse array of music as a kid. The first record he ever heard was Billie Holiday, who will come as an important point of comparison later. Then there were Marvin Gaye, various reggae artists, glam icon Marc Bolan and pioneer of electronic music Gary Numan. The Specials were the first music band Adrian could actually relate to: they were black, they were white, and they were British. Although they didn’t have much contact, Adrian’s grandfather, known as Tarzan the High Priest, was a prominent member of the soundsystem culture in Bristol. As Tricky Kid got a little older, he started spending more and more of his nights in various clubs and at parties, just looking for a good time, some music and something to smoke.
Adrian started writing poems very early, at the age of five according to his family. Rapping came about 10 years later, when he’d be handed a mic at a friend’s party and start freestyling for fun. Fun was a big thing for Tricky: that was all he ever really pursued, not thinking too much about the future. He was pretty much the last person to see potential in himself at basically any point in his early years (you couldn’t even say “early career” because he never considered that a possibility). A common acquaintance introduced Adrian to The Wild Bunch, an amalgamation of a Jamaican soundsystem and a hip-hop crew, all with a local spin to it. Still in the name of fun he started rapping at the parties they threw around the neighborhood. Eventually he spontaneously moved to a squat in London and could be found wherever there was a good time to be had. At that time The Wild Bunch became Massive Attack, some members splintered off and the group started on a more business-oriented path. Tricky still commuted to Bristol to do things with them from time to time, but it was becoming a burden for him.
On October 15th, 1990 the Tricky-produced Massive Attack single “Daydreaming” was released. It was one of the songs that later defined the sound of the group and the genre as a whole: slow-paced melody, female singing and understated rapping. For Tricky, however, it wasn’t a stylistic decision: he was simply too shy to mimic the prominent American MCs of the time, so he did it the way he knew how. The song sounded like barely anything before it and made huge waves. An album, Blue Lines, followed suit, as well as more studio time, video shoots and touring. All of that went against Tricky’s “live in the moment” attitude, so he started to show up less and less often, eventually leaving the band altogether.
A pivotal event in Tricky’s life happened around 1992/93: walking along the street near his cousin’s place he met a teenage Martina Topley-Bird sitting on a wall, humming to herself. They went to the studio almost immediately (studio time was actually given to Tricky by an acquaintance who couldn’t use it) and recorded several tracks. Tricky didn’t have the highest opinion of himself as a vocalist, so he felt flattered and validated when he first heard a woman’s voice singing his lyrics. The track that came out of that session was “Aftermath”.
Massive Attack weren’t interested in the track, which Tricky didn’t think much of. He would sometimes play it to people, but otherwise didn’t have any particular plans. The final push to release it himself was given to him by his cousin, and the money for it by a random acquaintance who promised to finance Tricky’s next musical endeavor should he decide to take the step. He pressed and sent out some vinyls of “Aftermath” to radio stations and record labels in London. Six weeks later he got a deal with Island Records.
Brand New You’re RetroThe single was a success: it was getting radio play and raving reviews. However, that was the only solo track Tricky had recorded up to this point. No less than a year had passed since the recording session and he completely lost touch with Martina. However, Tricky knew that that was the voice of his music, saying she was the new Billie Holiday. He managed to track her down in Bristol, by which time “Ponderosa” was ready to be recorded. After that one started gaining traction as well, all that was left to do was an album.
Island was on the lookout for something off the beaten path, for artists with a vision. And while Tricky was a visionary, he didn’t see himself as an artist yet. Therefore, he was heavily managed, pushed and set up for success by the label heads who took a personal interest in him. At that point Adrian moved into an apartment in London, shut the door and started creating.
Tricky’s approach to music-making was entirely chaotic. According to his own claims, lyrics just come into his head. His mother used to write poems as well, but she never had the audience, so at some point Adrian began thinking that she was speaking through him. The first verse on “Aftermath” begins with the lines
Your eyes resemble mine, you’ll see as no others canHe had no children at that point, and only later realized what those lyrics might have meant. Then he just put the freshly written pages into the hands of Martina Topley-Bird and ushered her into the booth. Neither did he think she needed to hear the music first, nor did it concern her. Most of what can be heard of her on the album was recorded in one take. Redoing something was not Tricky’s MO.
Here, inherit my kingdom, speak of our people’s plan.
When it comes to beats, Tricky at one point decided that a rapper is nothing without a producer, and he didn’t want to depend on anybody in that regard, so he started to teach himself. Since he had no knowledge of music theory, no concept of pitch, time signatures or other “rules”, Tricky just tried to reproduce what he heard in his head. He would sit on the floor with an Akai S1000 sampler and a pile of records and just splice things together. Whatever was lacking was recorded and sampled in-house.
When I say “he”, that’s not entirely true, that’s how Tricky himself recalls the events. Island Records employed the help of Mark Saunders, an engineer previously known for his work on The Cure’s Disintegration, who claims to have helped bring a lot of Tricky’s ideas to life. The musician would tell Mark what to do, the latter would say that that’s the incorrect way to do it, but after Tricky’s insistence something beautiful and unexpected (from an outside perspective) would come out. But it was just what Tricky heard in his head. He just kept fiddling with whatever he grabbed off the floor. It was deemed either brilliant or garbage within minutes. Saunders was also the one to play the instruments Tricky needed in addition to the vinyls along with a couple session musicians. Since Tricky didn’t bother keeping track of what was used, it took the label three months to clear all of the samples.
As mentioned before, Tricky’s mother was an important, if somewhat mythic, figure in his life, and he wanted to honor that. At first, he wanted for Martina and him to be a band called Maxinquaye (not Maxine Quaye, because then people could think that was just Martina’s name). The label convinced him to stick with the name everybody knew him by, and that became the album’s title. Same as the title was connected to a dark memory, the contents were very much the same way. Tricky put his all into this album, baring his soul and reaching into the deepest corners of his mind.
Track by Track1. Overcome
The album opener and third single features lyrics previously rapped by Tricky on the Massive Attack song “Karmacoma” off of Blue Lines, now sung by Martina Topley-Bird. The musician himself claimed that while he gave the verse to them, it was still his verse, therefore he could give it to Martina as well.
Backed by an unchanged eerie-sounding loop of Shakespears Sister’s “Moonchild” with drums unwaveringly marching on through the track, vague flute and keyboard passages weaving in and out, Martina paints a picture of a moment in time, happening in two places at once: it’s a couple walking together while a war is raging in Kuwait. It’s surreal, impressionistic, blurry, but incredibly vivid.
The album’s second pre-release single contains percussion off of an Indian singer Jagjit Singh’s song “O Maa Tujhe Salaam”, as well as a drum break from Manzel’s “Midnight Theme”. What sounds like another slow, but rhythmic jam with Martina’s voice going from a whisper at the start into her normal singing voice goes mad with discordant notes played on a keyboard towards the end.
For the first time on the album Tricky can be heard not even rapping, but what sounds like ranting seemingly behind Martina’s voice. This will not only be a recurring stylistic device on this record, but also in Tricky’s music as a whole. Putting the spotlight on his female counterpart, he feels brave enough to reinforce his words coming out of her mouth with his own voice.
The lyrics are again a stream of consciousness, enveloping the listener with the confusing, unfiltered thoughts in Tricky’s mind.
3. Black Steel
Yes, this is a cover of Public Enemy’s “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos” off It Takes A Nation…. Tricky was very appreciative of the American hip-hop of the 80s, Rakim and Chuck D being the rappers he mentions most. This cover was a way for him to pay homage and maybe bring their music to a new audience in Britain. It was the first of many covers Tricky did over the course of his career. The decision to cover this exact song might have been in response to the Gulf War of 1990/91.
The original is, of course, a 4-verse story of a Black man who goes to prison for refusing to do his military service. The Tricky version is much more disjointed, repeating the first verse throughout the whole song to a guitar-driven accompaniment of the band FTV. What was initially supposed to be a very sparse instrumental with only a percussive loop taken off an almost random Indian cassette suddenly turned into a fiery banger when Tricky invited the techno-rock band he heard at a concert to perform on his album. He didn’t remember what they sounded like after the night out, so he was skeptical when they finally arrived at the studio. Nevertheless, Mark Saunders had a vision of what they could do and with almost no direction the band went all out. The guitar you hear on the song is actually a Korg M1 keyboard. The drummer was told something in the style of Sex Pistols.
Tricky still wasn’t enthusiastic, but after Mark compiled the parts he liked with Martina’s vocals, he was on board, only adding a short phrase in the middle of the track himself. Martina Topley-Bird is in the eye of this storm, singing from the original perspective of a man, expressing disappointment in a system that’s failing him. This is also the only song on the album written from an explicitly male standpoint.
4. Hell Is Round The Corner
This is the big one. A song that still causes controversy between trip-hop fans on whether Tricky ripped off Portishead or it was the other way round. Whatever the case may be, both of these stone-cold classics of trip-hop sample the beautiful, timeless groove of Isaac Hayes’ "Ike’s Rap II". Portishead went the love-making anthem route, while Tricky put his own, slightly creepy spin on it. The story goes that that was the rare track where Tricky definitively knew what he wanted to do. Some add to that story that he heard the Portishead demo given to him by his manager the previous night and completely forgot that part.
Tricky finally takes center stage on this song, employing his soon-to-be signature whispered rapping, while Martina sometimes joins him from the background. The lyrics are heady, hard to make sense of. As was the case with “Overcome”, some of them could be previously heard on Massive Attack’s “Euro Child”. The song title comes from a conversation Tricky had with an acquaintance. “Hell? Hell is ‘round the corner, mate!” he spoke of the Bristol ghettos.
This track is a relative change of pace, featuring the first of two guest vocalists on this album, Alison Goldfrapp. A much bolder singer, she is in full eclipse on the first verse which is loud and expressive compared to the subtle and subdued performance of Martina Topley-Bird. Tricky joins in murmuring later on over the beat sampling the drums and at several points the guitar melody from The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Suffer”. The title of the songs seems to have no relation.
Martina returns on the song that started it all. An almost 8-minute-long soundscape, it puts her haunting voice on full display, once again complimented by Tricky’s muttering. As well as being the longest song on the album, it is also the containing the most samples and interpolations. A pitched down Marvin Gaye melody, a slowed down LL Cool J drum, a line of dialogue from “Blade Runner” to allude to Tricky’s mother, and a couple of lyrics taken from The Young Rascals and Japan and rapped in a silky, tortured voice.
7. Abbaon Fat Tracks
This drugged out slow burner with an Arabic motif doesn’t have any listed samples (although the main melody probably is one) except a piece of movie dialogue, what it does have are easily discernible lyrics about a steamy night. Once again leaning into his feminine side Tricky describes sex in excruciating detail, almost like under a lens, using Martina as a ventriloquist’s doll. He also concedes that he doesn’t only resort to weed anymore, something he was strictly against before all the attention.
Personally, I don’t see how it sounds like ABBA on fat tracks, but that’s where the title apparently comes from.
8. Brand New You’re Retro
This song was conceived when Tricky suddenly realized everything he heard on the radio was just recycled ideas of the past. Britpop sounded like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones; other people were charting with straight up soul music. That’s what Tricky’s manifest is – he’s brand new, everyone else is retro.
To get his idea across he uses an immediately recognizable bass line from Michael Jackson’s “Bad”, as well as coming back to It Takes A Nation…, this time to borrow a fuzzy sound effect from “Mind Terrorist” and a lyric from “Prophets of Rage”. Another banger on the album, it’s no wonder what connects it to the other one is Public Enemy.
9. Suffocated Love
On this track, Tricky and Martina tell a story of a relationship where both parties get what they want – he is in a more submissive position, simply enjoying the sex, while she is the dominatrix who’s just in it for his money. All of this set to a Gladys Knight & the Pips sample with a repurposed and barely recognizable violin from a Chantels song.
10. You Don’t
This lush and distorted beat was created in collaboration with Howie B, and the track features Ragga, another guest vocalist. Like Alison Goldfrapp earlier, she gets to show off the full range of her talent while going back and forth with Tricky who just repeats the refrain here, as if defending from her onslaught.
Easily the most disturbing and uncomfortable song on the album, that was the catch Tricky left on the back end for the unsuspecting listener. It feels like Tricky is alone inside his mind here, even though Martina sings throughout, it feels like it’s coming from another place. Tricky is scrambling for words, mumbling, talking to himself, manically giggling and coughing at a point. You can hear the pain in both of their voices.
The song is rich with sound effects: at various points you can hear water drops, a Polaroid going off (or a cocked trigger and a creaking door) and a ticking clock.
Legend has it that when one of the label representatives heard this song for the first time, he came out of the studio red as a beetroot. That’s when Tricky realized that his music was affecting people.
12. Feed Me
The album closer once again gives Martina the opportunity to send the pair off in their signature style. She’s singing about an existential struggle, he’s low in the mix, talking to himself again. A short KRS-One sample comes in in the middle, then elements of the song fade away one by one until the listener is left alone to contemplate.
Hell Is Round The CornerIn line with the label’s desire to break the boundaries, Tricky was marketed as an alternative and ambiguous figure. He was at the forefront of British black music, but he didn’t really represent that due to his upbringing. He was a rapper, which is an inherently masculine image, but for the promotional photoshoot he posed in a wedding dress with Martina as the groom. While sequencing the album together with his manager, Tricky frontloaded the singles to then catch the listener off guard with the edgier, more eclectic sounding tracks on Side B. Tricky only cared about his music: fine, he would release an album, but he’d never sell out, never go mainstream. It would be the music that no one was making and no one has heard before.
Then, on February 20th, 1995 the album came out and blew up magnificently. For weeks after it was all everybody talked about in Britain. The critics loved it, the indie scene loved it, but nobody predicted that the general public would fall in love with it. This twisted, tortured, intimate record was talked about at middle-class dinner parties. David Bowie became a fan, wrote a fictional, very Bowie-esque piece for the Q magazine, wrote a letter to Tricky and went to his concert. It was pandemonium. Tricky absolutely hated it.
“If I supposedly invented it, why not call it Tricky-hop?”The first thing Tricky couldn’t cope with was the sudden spotlight on him. He was recognized wherever he went, and his time was not his anymore. Secondly, his music was promptly christened by the press as trip-hop, a term he absolutely loathed. That, as well as “the Bristol Sound” made no sense to him, since everybody described by that term was doing different things in different places. And of course, people wanted him to tour.
After a miserable experience touring with Massive Attack for their first album Tricky decided he would not play a concert again. He didn’t like being on stage in front of the crowd, he didn’t like the vast amount of space there was with just the turntables and he didn’t like the DJ just playing the album. However, his manager convinced him to get a band, put it together herself, and it started slowly working out. Tricky also decided to perform in complete darkness, which wasn’t an artistic choice, but rather a way to cope with the stage fright. The public once again swallowed it up, calling him a genius.
“Who likes trip-hop? Well, fuck off home then!”After a short while, the industry caught on and the novel, groundbreaking sound of Maxinquaye wasn’t the sound of Maxinquaye anymore, it was the sound of the moment. Of course, Tricky was disgusted.
His musical alliance with Martina Topley-Bird was also a romantic one at the time of recording of Maxinquaye, and they had a daughter a month after the release. It was, however, too much too soon, and the couple didn’t last. Their professional relationship existed a little longer, but she wasn’t his only muse and his main voice anymore.
For his next album, Tricky challenged the audiences to try and follow him, as he recorded a new album in the span of a month. It would be bolder, less accessible, nothing like the now trendy Maxinquaye, a big “fuck you” to the people who thought Tricky could be put in a box. It would feature more collaborators, a Björk on the rise to superstardom among them. It would be his transformation, a first of many to come. It would be called Nearly God.
But that’s a story for another time.
AftermathTricky went on to have a very successful solo career spanning over 25 years now. Successful, of course, when you keep in mind what he was interested in in the first place. He has a dedicated fan base, a broad catalogue with each album being very different from the others. He has travelled all over the world, lived in many different places, now residing in Berlin. He is even back as an official member of Massive Attack, although they’ve only released about ten songs, depending on how you count, over the last decade. Once a young and carefree musician, Tricky is now a veteran, a mastermind who collaborates almost exclusively with lesser known artists and gives them the opportunity to shine. He is back in the underground, back to relative obscurity, doing what he always wanted to do – whatever the hell he puts his mind to.
That obviously didn’t come immediately as he spent some time in the mainstream: he was very prolific in the second half of the 90s, had a role in Luc Besson’s “The Fifth Element” and later even featured Alanis Morissette, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cyndi Lauper on his album (incidentally my favorite of his) before going into a hiatus. There were scandals, controversies and bad blood.
An uncompromising artist, unafraid to make mistakes and learn along the way, always paving his own way, Tricky is a visionary and truly a monumental figure in music. Even if his influence is not as apparent nowadays, he probably likes it this way. All of that makes me a fan. Thank you for reading.
Feed MeIf you’d like to get into trip-hop after hearing Maxinquaye, I’d recommend anything made by Tricky, Massive Attack, Portishead and Björk in the 90s. Then there is Endtroducing..... by DJ Shadow, which is somewhat similar, but you should have heard that by now. Then there is this list of 50 best trip-hop albums by Fact Mag – they seem to know their stuff.
Some of my personal favorites include Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By by Lovage (it’s Dan the Automator, Kid Koala and Mike freaking Patton, yo!), Never, Never, Land by UNKLE and Carboot Soul by Nightmares On Wax.
If it’s Tricky you’re after, he just had an album come out two months ago, it’s good! It’s called Fall To Pieces. My favorite one is Blowback, otherwise he has something for everybody in his discography. He started making louder music in the 2010s, intense in a different way, that was an interesting change of pace.
And I would definitely, definitely recommend the autobiography that came out a year ago. As I mentioned at the beginning, I based a lot of my write-up here on what I found out from that book, but you should still read it yourself if you get the chance. It’s sincere, simple, funny and riveting. You can feel that that’s a recording of a living person recounting their pretty crazy life. If you liked the Gucci Mane book, this should be right up your alley. An interesting point – although it’s an autobiography, Tricky often “passes the mic” to his friends, people he worked with and members of his family. It’s a unique take and it works very well.
- Have you heard of trip-hop as a whole and Tricky in particular before? If not, do you feel compelled to explore some more?
- What are your favorite songs on the album?
- I’m interested in people’s interpretation of the lyrics, not being big on that myself. What do you make of what Tricky is saying on his debut?
- Do you hear the influence of this album in other people’s work? What are some examples in other genres?
- What do you think trip-hop would look like if Tricky took his career more seriously early on and stayed with Massive Attack?
- What do you think of Tricky’s development as an artist? Do you think he ever topped Maxinquaye? What’s your favorite album of his?