The Dayton rapper and Cleveland native's '95 Tribe' is a nostalgic ode to Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle and Omar Vizquel
While the baseball season is on hold, Dayton rapper Valentino Halton, aka Tino, is infusing his music with some of his favorite memories from the Cleveland Indians' World Series run 25 years ago.
The Cleveland native recently released the single "95 Tribe," explaining the story behind the song in a recent press release:
"'95 Tribe' is an ode to the 1995 Cleveland Indians who went to the World Series that year, but ended up losing to the Atlanta Braves. Being a 9-year-old Clevelander at the time, I remember everywhere I went the city was buzzing with excitement about this team. The city felt so alive doing their playoff run. There was such a unity, which this team fostered. It was because of this that baseball was the first sport I fell in love with, though I don’t follow the game as much today. My dad taught me the rules, what hitting order was, and why pitchers in the American League needed a designated hitter. My favorite baseball player to this day is Kenny Lofton, and I had a giant poster of him which hung above my bed as a kid. The fond memories I have of that era have always been something I wanted to commemorate/immortalize in song, and this song is a manifest of that desire. I haven’t quite heard anything like it that interweaves sports fan jargon with similes and metaphors, which reflect beautifully on the game, the team, and the city."
"95 Tribe" is more than an homage to that vintage Cleveland team. Over horn samples and a laid-back, summery beat, Tino raps part of the first verse as Kenny Lofton ("I'm a nightmare for those taking the mound, but the defense is just as good as the O/Pop fly in my direction and I ain't lettin' it go"), touts the double-playmaking abilities of shortstop Omar Vizquel and references the home run stats of Albert Belle ("I go yard more frequent than most/Next slugger on the team, yeah, he ain't even close/And that's no slight to big homie Jim Thome, but 50 doubles and homers in a year, that's uncanny").
It's pretty awesome. Check it out below, and go Tribe! Also: Tino is releasing a new EP, Past Due, on May 1, when Bandcamp will again waive its fees so that all proceeds from purchases go directly to artists.