Album Review: Torae – “For The Record” – #### Rating
Coney Island emcee, Torae, has been building a steady fan base, gaining recognition through collaborations with DJ Premier, his ‘Barrel Brother’ Skyzoo, and of course, producer Marco Polo. Torae’s 2009 collaboration Double Barrel with producer Marco Polo was critically acclaimed and left fans wanting more from “Da Young Veteran”. With his long anticipated official debut For the Record, Torae looks to make a splash and give the fans what they’ve been craving.
In crafting his first solo LP, Torae enlisted a who’s who of producers including Khrysis, Marco Polo, !llmind, 9th Wonder, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Diamond D, 9th Wonder, Nottz and DJ Premier. The all-star lineup backs up Torae well and gives the album a well rounded sound. Tracks such as “Do The Math” produced by Large Professor, “Shakedown” produced by 9th Wonder and “That Raw” produced by Pete Rock are the pure boom bap, east coast tracks that Torae absolutely murders. But the !llmind produced “What It Sound Like”, Marco Polo produced “You Ready” and the DJ Premier produced title track “For The Record” stand apart as the standout tracks on the album. The production, couple with Torae’s raw lyrical talent make the tracks pure joys to listen to.
Those looking for an album similar to Double Barrel are in for a bit of disappointment. While Torae does cover his bases on the boom bap, hardcore tip, he uses For The Record as a vehicle for a little therapy. While tracks such as “Imagine” and “Changes” discuss appreciating life and making changes in the wide scope of things, “Over You”, “Reflection” and “Panorama” are more specific to Torae’s life and find the emcee giving more of himself on record that he probably ever has.
Three things help to make Torae the artist he is; his raw talent, his ear for production and his honestly. The combination of the three make the album a winner. For the Recordis not only a strong introduction to Torae as an individual, it’s out and out one of the best albums of 2011. Previously, Torae has been only been know for his collaborative releases, but with this LP, he not only steps out, but firmly puts both feet on the ground as a solo artist. For the record, it’s dope.
Rating: #### out of #####