Boston, Mass-born, Charleston-based representer, hip-hop artist and enthusiast, TJ “Tiggy” Pettiglio has recently released his debut album Reinventing The Wheel. TJ Pettiglio has been a breath of fresh air in the Charleston hip-hop scene, with his present energy and infectious uplifting spirit.
Whether it’s constantly supporting the various live performance scenes in the city, or giving intellectual breakdowns of different artists with his “Analytics of the Artist” series, TJ shows love to everyone and that energy translated beautifully in his debut album Reinventing The Wheel.
TJ Pettiglio aka ‘Tiggy’ aka ‘The Microphone Madone’, drops a true example of some of the core principles and styles of classic hip-hop. Fun, uplifting, inspiring stories of good times, bad times and everything in between.
This 20 song debut album from TJ is a colorful island of rap, including everything from boom bap and classic hip-hop, to a little bit of club trap and even hints of emotional/slow tempo R&B type feels.
The production of the album is very impressive, brandishing instrumentals from producers such as Ben Beam, Nicklovn, Something New, QuietFire Beats and more. Though the overall theme of the album is classical, ‘back to the basics’, introspective hip-hop, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed to hear the versatility in song choice and delivery.
The first quarter of the album brings in fun, classical, b-boy styles with the title track, “Reinventing the Wheel” feat Nicklovn, leading into “If the Soul Rises” and “Oh Snap!” feat Nicklovn & Cava. Inspiring, motivational, and just overall reminiscent feels of the fun, high frequency days of hip-hop.
With the opening songs,’ you get hints of sounds similar to Charleston bred groups Little Stranger & Skip Lo. Mirages of clever wordplay backed by lively and even lo-fi, break beats. But TJ suddenly takes it left field and hits us with harmonious vocals, well placed samples, R&B vibes and more, with the radio ready “Wanna Show You Love” and the poetic serenade of “Why You Only?” and the “Still Life” interlude.
This is definitely my favorite section of the album because ‘Tiggy’ hops in his vocalist bag and whips out some clean, jazzy harmonies, all the while staying true to his boom-bap hip-hop delivery.
Other tracks that are on a similar groove of this pocket in the album are “Tell You More” and a personal favorite, “I Know I Can Shine”, which aren’t just well written songs, but cleanly layered and executed displays of melodic range from TJ Pettiglio and his collaborators.
As the album skates pass the midway mark, TJ adds glimpses of wavy, electronic experimental rap sounds in tracks like “Astropiano”.
Simultaneously, ‘The Microphone Madone’ sticks true to his root of introspection and ‘open-book’ honesty, in songs like “If Heaven Had A Phone” feat. David Ryan-conceptualizing the aspect of wanting those who we love and lost to be able to see the strides made and goals reached as we press on our journeys.
TJ closes in on the end of Reinventing The Wheel with a FIRE collaboration from B.A.S.I.C Crew’s Sleepy C and producer Ben Beam entitled “Neo Soul Bomb”. Thick bass licks take the track into the ‘G-funk era’ as both TJ and Sleepy C, ‘hip and hop’ all over this Ben Beam production.
Then just when you thought it was over… “It’s A W(Rap)” honestly left me wanting more. EVEN after 20 full tracks. This song stood out because TJ hopped out of the breakbeats and jumped into the dance club vibe, with some bravado and catchy new age rhyme schemes and cadences. Definitely ended the album on a #GxldApproved high note.
All in all, TJ Pettiglio’s debut, Reinventing the Wheel is a composition dedicated to not being afraid to step back, better yourself, then step out and show the world that you haven’t changed the vision, only the lens. Fearlessly keeping true to yourself and moving with pure intention through this creative avenue of hip-hip and the many spectrums of the genre.
Check out the full album at the Spotify link below and keep an eye and ear out for more music and live performances from TJ “Tiggy” Pettiglio.