by Jordan Green
During the Black 2 Hip Hop showcase at Greensboro’s Blind Tiger, a rapper from High Point named Tange Lomax turned in a brief set at the midpoint of the evening that was like an electric charge reorganizing the chaotic atoms of diffuse energy.
Her precise elocution, focused energy, relentless pacing and unpredictability — exploding at the moment least expected — suggested a talented welterweight boxer landing punches, putting in the work instead of glorying in the title.
Lomax started recording at home in High Point with a Mac and a mic in 2011, assembling two albums and an EP, while improving her rap skills and songcraft. There’s an undeniable talent here, but Lomax — like most of her peers in the fertile but overlooked North Carolina hip-hop scene — is more focused on putting in her paces than looking for laurels.
The work is starting to pay off: The Source magazine featured Lomax’s video for “Black Models” from her five-track EP No Hard Feelings in early January. The gauzy production by the Greensboro-based Grovesideworks sets a foundation for Lomax’s wry but resilient reflections on urban adversity to take shape, with the video by Nomad Staff showing the artist dancing in front of Brian Davis’ butterfly mural on Washington Street.
Lomax was inspired to start rapping around the age of 8, after hearing Eve from Ruff Riders.
“I feel like it’s my purpose — it’s my gift,” Lomax told Triad City Beat. “A lot of people wish they could do it, but they never had the confidence. I feel like it’s God’s purpose for me to spread positivity, joy and love through music.”
[pullquote]Tange Lomax performs with Seers, Josh Jones and Loveyy tha Don, with live art by Mary the Heathen at Urban Grinders in downtown Greensboro on Friday. The show is hosted and curated by TerriShalane Jones.[/pullquote]The Greensboro rappers C. Pitt and Ramel Shakur gave Lomax an early opportunity to perform.
“Those two definitely believed in me,” Lomax said. “That’s where it all started.”
Advancing from guesting on other rappers’ material to a full-fledged artist, Lomax gradually developed her energetic performance style.
“If you love what you do and you mean what you say, you have to say it with some kind of energy and confidence,” she said. “If you believe in your message, you need to have that energy to back it up.”
While her set at Black 2 Hip Hop showcased the direct side of Lomax’s artistry, she works across an array of styles, including a neo-soul sound reminiscent of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill.
“I didn’t sing as much in the early stages,” Lomax said. “I’m definitely continuing to grow each day. I know how to touch people. If you’re a doctor, you have to know how to move things around. I know how to put together a song. At first I was rapping over other people’s beats. I finally wanted to put my own songs together.
“I want to be the best with hooks — to get the hooks stuck in peoples’ heads,” she continued. “That’s what I start with — I don’t want to give away too much — to give people a vibe that you can’t put your finger on. I usually sing my hooks, and rap my verses, but lately I’ve started to switch it up.”
She credits Grovesideworks with supporting her vision and helping her define her sound.
“They produce the majority of my music,” Lomax said. “They’ve been the most consistent with sending me beats and different sounds. They definitely are some of the people who shape my sounds. They don’t put me in a box.”
Lomax is working on her next full-length album.
“The album will be more of a serious kind of spiritual journey,” she said. “I have a lot of songs that I did last year where I felt like I was going through some things, so it has some inspiration.”
In the meantime, to tide fans over while they’re waiting for the next album, she plans to put out an EP. She’s especially excited about a track called “Anthems Only” that features her engineer, Kenny Wizard, as a guest rapper.
“I want to make an anthem,” Lomax said, “where people can listen to it when they’re going to work and when they get off — whatever they’re going through, that’s something that they can have with them.”