Bend's music scene doesn't produce a lot of hip-hop; but when it does, look out, because it's dope. (That's how the kids say it, right? Dope?)
Case in point: the sophomore album from Jay Tablet (Jay Tab for short).
Tablet is known for an extensive list of collaborations in Bend. Most notably as the duo Cloaked Characters with local producer Rory Restani of Oxiliary Studios. Together, those two have been making enthusiastic dueling rap tracks since 2002.
On his own, Tablet has extensively toured the Western states, posting artistic social-media-friendly-snapshots of his journeys along the way to Instagram while seasoning his expanding catalog by writing new laid-back, party rap grooves. During some short stints relaxing back in Bend, Tablet was able to lay those tracks down at Oxiliary Studios.
"Bend is my hub and my space where I can clear my head by fishing, lake hopping, relaxing with friends and family," Tablet said in an email to the Source. "I recorded most of the songs during my breaks off the road. A lot of the songs were inspired by my travels and experiences as of late."
The new album is called Tablife—a title derived from a hashtag oft used by Tablet when discussing his hectic but also semi-flashy rapper lifestyle where there's a party in every city and always somewhere to be.
The record itself is a carousel of celebration rap songs backed by throwback beats from the '80s and '90s. The track "Open" even takes micro-synth inspiration from Ice Cube's "Check Yo Self." And true to form, the album is chock full of collaborations. Local R&B starlet Caitlin Cardier appears on the romantic "Sincerely True" while mixtape master Amsterdam and dance beat engineer DJ Harlo pair up to help out on "Trap."
Tablet and his friends continually battle the stereotype that the Bend scene is all about bluegrass and indie rock. The release of Tablife is a giant hip-hop roar that shouldn't be ignored.