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This album was released on January 15th this year. I’ve never heard anything from this guy aside from a verse on a DJ JS-1 song with KRS-One, and that was pretty dope. The only thing that I really know about him is that he’s from New York, and that he released a joint album with Skyzoo in 2014. So yeah. I’m really goin’ into this album blind. There’s not really anything else I can say about this shit before listening to it. I guess I don’t really have any expectations. I’m just expecting this to be dope.
Track 1: Introview
Alright, it’s starting now. It just ended. I usually don’t give a shit about skits like this, but I actually didn’t really mind this one. I kinda enjoyed it. I mean, I’d never listen to this shit again, but I’m not really mad at it. It was cool.
Track 2: Imperial Sound Feat. Saul Williams (Prod. Praise)
I don’t really listen to Saul Williams… I think I saw him perform a Spoken Word poem on the Colbert Report once. I don’t really remember it much tho. I wonder if he’s actually gonna be rapping on this or if it’s just gonna be Spoken Word. It’s starting now. This beat is pretty dope. I wish I liked it more tho. The way the horns in this sample are chopped up is a little annoying. I still kinda like it. It sounds very New York. Torae’s goin’ in now. “Tryna provide answers like Sway searchin’ his Siri / With Kanye at his side, now can you feel me?” The first verse was great. This is exactly what I was hoping it would be. Just a dope ass MC spittin’ over a traditional East Coast beat. The second verse was great. He had a really dope shoutout to Rob Markman at the end. “My pen had been on the mark, man / I was designed a rap genius.” This song is great. I was a little turned off by the beat at first, but it grew on me pretty quickly. Oh shitfuck… There’s a dope trumpet solo from some guy named Sean Taylor after the second verse. Saul Williams did a Spoken Word outro for this song. This is actually a REALLY good song. I don’t really have any problems with it. The way the sample was chopped up took some getting used to for some reason, but I fuck with it now. This is dope af. 5/5
Track 3: Get Down (Prod. Pete Rock)
Damn. He’s got some really dope production credits on this album. This beat is incredible. The first verse was great. The hook is pretty dope too. This is REALLY good. I’m glad I decided to check this album out. I haven’t really seen anyone else talking about it. Pete Rock seriously put his ass in this beat. I honestly like this beat more than anything that was on that Petestrumentals 2 album he dropped last year. Torae dropped two great verses on this shit too. This track is even better than the first song. This shit is dope af. The music video was nothing special tho. 5/5
Track 4: Clap Shit Up Feat. Phonte (Prod. Nottz)
This beat is pretty good. Torae start’s spittin’ his ass off as soon as the track starts. “I came from EBT / Made it on to BET, FUSE, MTV, MP3, Vinyl, and CD / All off the P-E-N / Now it’s 6 days on SXM.” He killed that verse. He just went in for like 32 bars. It might’ve been a little more than 32 bars. He went in tho. That’s all you need to know. He went off. Phonte comes in as soon as Torae’s finished. Fuuuuck. Phonte just tore this shit apart. Damn. I really liked Torae’s verse, but Phonte went the fuck off. “Last name: ‘Look Like‘ / First name: ‘Fuck I‘” I kinda wanna say he stole the show. I don’t think he really did tho. Torae’s verse was dope af. Maybe he should’ve came in and spit a second verse after Phonte. I don’t know. All I know is that both of them killed it. I liked Phonte’s verse more, but I’m biased because Little Brother is from my city. The song is dope af tho. I definitely fuck with this shit. I enjoyed the music video too. 5/5
Track 5: Let ‘Em Know (Prod. Jahlil Beats)
Man, writing these reviews is so much more fun when the music is actually good. This beat sounds really similar to the majority of Jahlil Beats’ other songs. It has that same drum pattern and buildup. You know the one. If you’ve heard at least five Jahlil Beats songs you know what I’m talkin’ about. It really sounds like a slightly altered, stripped down version of Young & Gettin’ It by Meek Mill. He really half assed this one… Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good beat. If I’d never heard any of his other beats I’d like this a lot more. You can tell that he just followed the same formula he’s been following his whole career. It’s like he starts every single beat with the same template and just changes a few elements each time. It sounds like this beat was made in 15 minutes. It’s not bad. I just feel like I’ve heard it a thousand times already. It’s like a Meek Mill verse in the form of a song. The first verse from Torae was decent. I mean, it’s better than decent. It’s just kinda hard for me to enjoy this song. You know what? I said this beat was good a little earlier, but I’m REALLY not feelin’ it. The more I listen to it the more pissed off I get. The hook is really underwhelming. The second verse wasn’t bad. I just can’t fuck with this shit. The beat is annoying me, and the only thing this lackluster hook does is take all of the momentum out of the song. The verses were good. That’s the only thing I like about this song tho. I’m honestly surprised by how pissed off I got listening to this shit. It’s not a horrible song. I’m not fuckin’ with it personally tho. This is wack to me. It’s too generic in terms of its sound. 2/5
Track 6: Override Feat. Jarell Perry & Roni Marsalis (Prod. E. Jones)
Well, that went downhill pretty quickly. Hopefully it was just a slight road bump, and he can pick shit back up with this song. This beat is pretty dope. Oh… This subject matter isn’t for me. “You’re focused, you’re smart, your career with options / And sexy is just the topping; I’m feeling you.” This is so fuckin’ soft. It was tolerable until I got to that hook. This definitely isn’t that bad of a song objectively, but this REALLY isn’t for me. This isn’t a terrible song, but I’m not feelin’ it. He did an alright job with the topic. It’s just not something I would enjoy personally. I wouldn’t ever wanna listen to this again. “When I’m alone in my room, sometimes I stare at the wall / And think of you pinned against it; we getting it on.” There’s absolutely no appeal in this song for me. This is wack to me. The beat’s not bad, but I’m not feelin’ the hook from Jarell Perry, and the subject matter doesn’t interest me at all. Roni Marsalis pretty much just contributed a Spoken Word outro. The hook isn’t even poorly sung. Jesus Christ himself could be singing that hook, and I still wouldn’t like it. Not that Jesus Christ would make this song any better, but you get what I’m tryna say. It’s just not my type of music. This is wack to me. 2/5
Track 7: Crown Feat. 3D Na’Tee (Prod. Mr. Porter)
Okay, this should be good. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about 3D Na’Tee before on this website. I haven’t heard a ton of her music. Well, I really haven’t heard ANY of her music, but her features are usually really good. Her verse on Dying Breed by Ransom was great. So yeah. I’m looking forward to her verse on here. Mr. Porter is of course a good sign too. I’m expecting this to be dope af. It’s starting now. Fuck yes. This beat is fucking fantastic. Good lord. Jesus Christ, Mr. Porter. This is amazing. Torae’s first verse was dope. I love the scratches on the hook. This is a very pro-black song. Torae’s rappin’ about having pride in his melanin since he’s “descended from Kings and Queens.” I’m not gonna lie, it makes me roll my eyes when I see other black people talking about how ALL black people used to be kings & queens before the slave ship arrived. I mean, yeah, it’s cool that you have pride, but don’t exaggerate the shit. I guess it just depends who’s saying it. It’s usually the same type of person that tweets shit like “God is spoiling me with all these blessings.” It’s the same person that quotes a tweet that says “R.I.P. MC Phife Dawg” with the fuckin’ praying hands emoji even tho she/he didn’t know who Phife Dawg was until the day he died. I’m gettin’ off topic tho. The way Torae’s rapping about this shit doesn’t sound inauthentic or exaggerated to me. I think he’s doin’ it well. I love his aggressive delivery over this amazing beat too. His verses could’ve been a little longer, but thankfully the hook doesn’t last too long either. Na’Tee killed her verse. She has a great voice for Hip Hop. She sounds really good over a beat. “The Erics, the Sandras, the little Aiyanas turned into hashtags / Shit feeling like Baghdad because of my pigment / I swear the shit is ridiculous / Living in these conditions it’s hard to duck a conviction.” I think the verses could’ve been a little longer, but other than that I really don’t have any problems with this song. Mr. Porter kinda stole the show. Kinda. That beat is crazy. Torae & Na’Tee did they thing too tho. This song is dope. 4/5
Track 8: R.E.A.L. (Prod. Praise)
This beat is pretty good. The first verse was dope. He was goin’ in about how labels only sign people to get money & hit records instead of actual talent. The only thing I can think of right now is Desiigner. He literally got signed after dropping ONE song. That was enough? One fucking song? I will be shocked if his next single is even HALF as successful as Panda. “The ones really getting shine ain’t who really could spit / And ain’t nobody really helping; they ain’t giving you shit / On the real ‘less they feel you can give them a hit.” The scratches on this hook are dope af. This second verse is great. “On the real, this rap shit ain’t really all that it seem / Gassing you to sell records; really selling a dream / But getting eight cents an album really getting no cream / Your record contract is really a scheme, really see what I mean?” I wonder how much of the money Panda is making is actually going to Desiigner instead of the label. I usually hate one hit wonders, but for some reason Desiigner doesn’t really bother me. That Westwood “freestyle” he had was fucking horrific, but I enjoy Panda. I just feel bad for him since his label is probably takin’ his money. I don’t really think GOOD Music has ever had that problem tho. I’d definitely be more concerned if he signed with Atlantic or Cash Money. Hopefully he doesn’t get the same treatment as Cyhi The Prynce. Anyway, the final verse from Torae was great. This song is dope. Why is the song title an acronym tho? He never explains what each letter stands for. Maybe it’s just going over my head. Whatever. I fuck with the song. 4/5
Track 9: Coney Island’s Finest (Prod. Apollo Brown)
Oh fuck yes. I love Apollo Brown. I wish I got a chance to check out that Grandeur album he dropped last year. I’ll hopefully review that in the future. It probably won’t be anytime soon tho—unless it gets requested. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that I “love” him. I haven’t really heard that much shit from him. Everything that I HAVE heard has been great tho. Okay, this song is starting now. Yes. Apollo Brown. Yes. This beat is great. The first verse was dope af. He’s rappin’ about his younger days when he was growin’ up in Coney Island. I love how the production gains more depth during the hook. The second and third verses were just as good as the first one. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say about this one. I don’t have any problems with it. Apollo Brown really did a great job with this beat. Torae did his thing too. This is dope af. 5/5
Track 10: Troubled Times Feat. Mack Wilds (Prod. !llmind)
Man, the placements on this album are fantastic. !llmind, Apollo Brown, Mr. Porter & Pete Rock all on one album… Those are top-tier production credits. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything from Mack Wilds. I always assumed he was a white guy for some reason. Maybe it’s because he has “Mack” in his name, just like Mac Miller & Macklemore. Mack Maine is a black guy tho. Although, to be fair, nobody gives a fuck about Mack Maine. Okay, this song is starting. This beat is dope af. The first verse from Torae was pretty good. Mack did a good job with the hook. This second verse is kinda goin’ over my head… “She look at thots as those who ain’t shit / As long as she getting money, she feel she that bitch / As long as the kid ain’t bummy, she thinking that’s it / But never realizing the trap she trapped in / Her baby girl turning 15 in a couple of days / Now I just seen her in the Escalade.” I’m not really sure what the point he was trying to convey was. Is he sayin’ we shouldn’t judge “thots?” What does the Escalade have to do with anything? If anyone reading this knows what he was talkin’ about please explain that shit to me. The last verse was fantastic. He was rappin’ to his homie who got caught up in some crime shit and passed away. “I’m learning breath control, you’re on your last breath / Them throwback Thursdays is all I have left / But ain’t enough words in the hashtag / We used to crash pads, and crack jokes, and pranks / Who get the last laugh?” This song is dope. The second verse kinda confused me, but I still enjoyed the song. It’s dope. 4/5
Track 11: Together Feat. Kil Ripkin & Shaquawna Shanté (Prod. Praise)
This is probably my favorite beat from Praise on this album. The first verse from Torae was good. I don’t know how I feel about this hook from Shaquawna Shanté. Her vocals aren’t bad, but the lyrics are a little corny to me. “Together / We’ll get so far / But we won’t know who we are / And we gon’ never have more / Unless we come together.” The second verse was pretty good. This Kil Ripkin guy is on the last verse. It was great. I don’t know. I enjoyed this song, but it doesn’t really have any replay value. If it came on the radio I wouldn’t change the station, but I’m not gonna go out of my way to make sure this song is playing. It’s decent. It’s definitely not bad. I’m just not that impressed. It’s alright. 3/5
Track 12: Entitled Feat. Teedra Moses (Prod. Eric G.)
This beat is pretty good. Torae’s goin’ in now. You can really tell that it bothers him that the majority of great MCs aren’t super famous. “How entitled we are just because of the gift / But that ain’t the half what really making it is / Really making it is you getting off of your ass / And seizing the moment and never letting it pass.” Teedra Moses’ hook is great. The second verse was dope. I guess it’s over now. This is a really emotional sounding song, but I like it. Torae did a great job. I liked Teedra Moses’ hook too. I’m not blown away by this song, but I still like it. It’s dope. I really liked that speech that he sampled at the end too. I usually don’t care for shit like that, but this one really resonated with me. I’m not sure who it was, but he was talkin’ about what happened when he went to Africa. “A voice said to me; it said, ‘look around. What do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see all colors of people doing everything, you know’, and the voice said, ‘do you see any niggas?’ And I said, ‘no,’ and it said, ‘you know why? ‘Cause there aren’t any.’ And it hit me like a shot, man. I started crying and shit. I was sitting there. I said, ‘yeah, I been here three weeks. I haven’t even said it. I haven’t even thought it.’ And it made me say ‘oh my God, I’ve been wrong. I’ve been wrong. I got to regroup my shit.‘ I mean, I said ‘I ain’t gon’ never call another black man nigga.’ You know? ‘Cause we never was no niggas.” Sorry for the long ass quote, but that shit really hit home for me. I just realized that Torae hasn’t said the N word one time during this whole album. My level of respect for Torae just skyrocketed. A direct quote from my article about the whole SAE N word thing is “one of the most important things that we need to do is stop saying nigger. It’s unfortunately a very large part of our culture because of Hip Hop, but if you’re actually a good rapper, you shouldn’t need to rely on that word,” so yeah. I fuck with Torae. This song is just dope tho… 4/5
Track 13: The eNd (Prod. MarcNfinit)
Oooooooh, fuck yes. The speech that he sampled roles into this track, and the whole song is gonna be about the N word. “Now when my nigga calls me his nigga I ain’t tripping / ‘cause I figure that he love me, so I feel it’s all good / But when they’re treating us like we’re niggas / They’re choking and pulling triggers / Then we wonder how to put a hold to it.” This is the perfect song for me. Well… It is lyrically… The beat is cool. The verses are way too short tho. I definitely like the song, but I think it could’ve been better sonically. I would’ve loved a longer verse. 90% of this song is the hook. I love the message behind this song. I just think it could’ve been executed a little better. It’s alright. It definitely needs to be heard. Fuck. I feel bad for not liking this as much as I want to. I love the subject matter. I just don’t see myself coming back to it. Fuck. Why do I feel like an Uncle Tom for not liking a song? Whatever. It is what it is. I’m not shittin’ on the message. I try to never use the N word ever, which is why you don’t see it in my reviews any more. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t slip out sometimes when I’m with my friends tho. I always feel guilty tho. I even try to change the lyrics when I’m rapping along to my favorite songs. What the fuck? I shouldn’t have to prove how pro-black I am just because I don’t like a song. This song doesn’t have replay value for me, and if you don’t like that then you can eat my dick. 3/5
Track 14: Shoutro (Prod. Khrysis)
Oh man… This is basically Torae’s version of Note To Self by J. Cole. That’s disappointing. This beat sounds really dope. I wish this was a real song. This is just 11 minutes of shoutouts. Even the Khrysis beat gets annoying pretty quickly. There’s no reason for anyone to wanna hear this shit, unless you have some sort of strange obsession to album personnel. I’m not gonna rate this shit tho ’cause it’s not a real song.
Track +1: Saturday Night (Prod. DJ Premier)
This is the first bonus track from the deluxe edition of this album. The beat is pretty dope. It’s not the best I’ve heard from Primo, but it’s pretty good. Okay, this is dope af. Torae’s tellin’ the story of his Saturday night. I mean, it’s not really that interesting yet because all he’s done so far is order Chinese food, but I always enjoy story telling tracks even if the actual story isn’t that interesting. Oh shit… Okay, now it’s gettin’ crazy. I don’t know if I should spoil it for y’all… Okay, fuck it I will. The delivery person was 35 minutes late, so he was mad as shit. However, when he opened the door it was a BAD ass chick, so he was like “damn.” He walked to his bedroom to get his wallet, and was like “damn, that chick was bad. I wanna FUCK” under his breath. She heard him say that and immediately started bangin’ him. So, yeah, that part of the story was really dumb, but that’s when it gets interesting. She’s gotta crazy ex boyfriend who followed her to Torae’s place. He’s a black belt in… in karate… Huh… Now that I think about it, this is pretty fuckin’ racist. I was already uncomfortable when he did the stereotypical Chinese accent for the person on the phone… “Kicked in the door, waving the nunchucks.” Uh oh… I’m startin’ to lose a little of that respect that Torae earned a while ago… Torae just whipped his ass, and that’s the end of the story… That was pretty underwhelming. Damn… I would MAYBE like this if I wasn’t getting the racist undertones. It’s not that I think he hates Chinese people or anything… It just seems a little insensitive. I’m not really fuckin’ with this track. It could definitely be worse, but nah. I can’t get behind this shit. 2/5
Track +2: What’s Love Feat. Pharoahe Monch (Prod. Praise)
I fuckin’ love Pharoahe Monch, but the title of this song has me a little worried. As y’all know, I really don’t like love songs. I don’t wanna hear Pharoahe Monch talkin’ about relationships and shit. I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover tho. Okay, it’s starting now. Oh. This track was apparently on Torae’s 2013 mixtape, Admission Of Guilt. Whatever. That doesn’t really matter. Oh… He censored the N word in this song. I get that he stopped using the N word in his music, but I kinda wish he would’ve just changed the line or replaced the N word with “brother” or something. The first verse was pretty good. It’s not really a love song. He’s rapping about love itself instead of being in love. This beat is alright. The hook is pretty underwhelming. The second verse was dope tho. Oh man. Pharoahe Monch’s verse is so fuckin’ creative. He split it up into four sections: the L, the O, the V, & the E. Each section stresses alliteration on the letter in question. “Literally when these lame labels medicated / I liberated my life with love and levitated / And left every lyric I laid completely obliterated.” I swear some of these rappers out here are fucking geniuses. How do you even come up with a concept like that? His verse was fantastic. BUT at the same time… I don’t really know if I’d wanna come back to this. It’s DEFINITELY not a bad song, but I was honestly pretty bored until I got to Pharoahe’s verse. That was really the only thing that stood out about this track. Pharoahe killed this shit. I don’t think I’d come back to this often tho. This is a pretty underwhelming song sonically. It’s definitely not bad tho. 3/5
This is a dope album. The production was really good. Torae said something along the lines of “Praise we work really well together we might need to do a whole project together or something,” but he honestly contributed some of my least favorite beats on this album. Don’t get me wrong; they aren’t bad at all. They just didn’t really stand out that much to me. The features—particularly the Rap features—were all fantastic. I’ve been using that word a lot lately. “Fantastic.” Anyway, most of the people involved in this album did a great job. Torae is a good rapper. I don’t think he’s an amazing lyricist who’ll make you need to rewind the same track like 1000 times just to understand what the fuck he’s talkin’ about, but he raps well. I can’t really think of anyone to compare him to for some reason, and I really don’t know why. It’s not like his style is super unique. He’s just a dope MC. This is a traditional Hip Hop album. He’s not doing anything super original. It’s just dope Hip Hop music. There were only a few tracks that I didn’t like. I’d suggest getting the standard edition tho. This is a very good album. There weren’t really any consistent flaws. It’s dope.
Favorite Song: Clap Shit Up
Least Favorite Song: Override
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