Tim Fite will help you recapture your wasted youth with his latest aural offering, Ain’t, Ain’t, Ain’t. With a background in hip-hop as one half of the early-00’s duo Little T and One Track Mike, Fite inculcated an entire generation with the phrase “Shaniqua don’t live here no more,” a refrain somehow embedded in the psyche of even those who have never knowingly listened to the song.
But that was then, and this is now. “Shaniqua” was taken off YouTube, the duo’s profile page on MTV.com has been all but abandoned, and Fite himself has had a lot of growing up to do. In roughly a decade, he’s gone from recording joke rap songs to building a fairly credible career as a singer-songwriter, whatever that means in this day and age of digital downloads and disparate musical tastes. It’s a great coming-of-age story, and he tells it with aplomb.
At the heart of the album is “We Are All Teenagers”, invoking milestones that we may be nostalgic for or, in some cases, glad to be rid of: prom, being late for school, puppy love. But the inescapable groundwork for who we are is laid out during these nascent years, whether we like it or not, and Fite has managed to harness this youthful chaos into a mature and accomplished album.
“Because I Was Scared” serves as a kind of retrospective confessional for an unnamed crime. Fite’s musical creativity is on full display here, with steady drums serving as the backdrop for his voice and some subtle help from chimes and bells. It’s a charming song, with just enough unease to make it truly compelling.
While the album will draw you in, you may find it hard to stay there until the last track. Songs such as “Tiger Shopping” invoke TV on the Radio without reaching the same ear-popping crescendos, while tracks like “Joyriding” can seem a little simplistic in their sentiments. Fite has built an album around adolescence that can both take you back to that painful, exhilarating place and make you glad that you left.
Essential Tracks: “We Are All Teenagers”, “Because I Was Scared”, and “Tiger Shopping”