On his brand-new EP, Pre Summer Tape 89, deejay/producer Teck-Zilla serves up the musical equivalent of comfort food for hip-hop heads. It’s a distinct nod toward the music of that year—think De La’s 3 Feet High and Rising, or EPMD’s Unfinished Business—with a similar appreciation and fondness for the past.
“Growing up in a family where music was always in the background, I soaked up more than a handful of influences ranging from soul, pop, rock, and hip-hop,” Teck explains. Beyond embracing different genres, he also fell in love with the concept of mixtapes when his parents gifted him a box of their own.
You can hear that influence across PST89, a project that sounds like a polished version of someone mixing their favorite sounds together from their stacks of tapes and vinyl. There are callbacks to classic jams (the “Juicy Fruit” break on “Less Mondays, More Summer”), samples from more modern joints (the Fabolous bit at the end of “Summer Happiness”), and other nostalgic Easter eggs.
There’s also a surprising amount of emotion running through the four tracks on here. While the overall theme is hope, Teck acknowledges that sometimes you can only reach joy by getting through harder times. So while the aptly titled “Summer Happiness” closes the EP on an upbeat note, there are solemn hints beneath the surface of joints like “1000 Lonely Summers” and “Less Mondays, More Summer.” But even then, there remains that strong feeling of optimism, that things will indeed get better.
While PST89 may not solve all the world’s issues, it is a wonderfully bright spot that we all could use—especially now. And the best part is that it arrives with the promise of more, similarly themed material from the producer. Yes, the sequel to Teck’s stellar 2018 project, SummerZilla, is coming soon. Head over to your preferred digital retailer or streaming platform to support PST89, available now via Str8Buttah Productions.