A 1999 mixtape entitled Falling on Your Arse recently surfaced online and it features DJ Eddie Too Tall (Eddie Tracy) and rapper Tommy No. 1, who is world famous actor Tom Hardy. The Dark Knight actor revealed in 2011 that he began rapping at the age of 14 or 15 and noted that there were loads of unreleased material from that timeframe. Hardy even had a record deal before he decided to pack it in and get into acting. Eddie Tracy has put the unfinished album online and it's surprisingly pretty damn good.
Tom Hardy admitted in an interview that he was never a very good rapper and though he's not the best that anybody has ever heard, he's certainly far from the worst, which was pretty shocking. In true Hardy fashion, there's a lot of mumbling going on, but he has a good flow and more importantly: his own style. Even the music production is pretty good and one can easily imagine the album getting some play in the late 1990s with Eminem making his debut and the future success of the Streets.
A Reddit account that appears to belong to British writer and director Edward Tracy (the eponymous Eddie Too Tall) posted the mixtape to the HipHopHeads sub Reddit and the lo-fi sound has been gaining rave reviews. In all honesty, the unfinished album would probably have gotten good marks from hip hop fans even without them knowing that it featured the world-famous Tom Hardy spitting fire over the tracks. The tracks all have their own distinct feel to them, but they're all rooted in the late early to mid-90s sounds of dusty grooves sampled straight from actual records, using an SP12 or perhaps the Akai MPC.
The sound of the album is close to an English version of Wu-Tang Clan with dark, muddy beats taken from old, obscure records mixed with some melody or either scratched in vocals or dialogue thrown over the top. Tom Hardy's mumble rap style with his deep voice gives him a distinct style that isn't really comparable to anybody, really. If you were Hardy, you would hardly be embarrassed about the surfacing of this material. The actor was not some pretty boy Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch type of MC, instead he takes a gritty approach that will more than likely end up getting some major attention now.
Many of the 18 tracks feature the lo-fi, jazzy, samples with record pops and boom-bap drum breaks, while rapping from either Tom Hardy or Eddie Tracy is sporadic. Even as far as instrumental hip hop goes, these tracks are pretty damn good. Overall, this is much more than a curious record for Tom Hardy fans, it's something that fans of hip hop can enjoy as well. Head over to Band Camp to check out the album and listen to Hardy spit fire over the Godfather theme.