Houston’s Trae Tha Truth is an artist that receives respect from much of the industry as a whole, despite being blackballed from his local hip-hop radio station, after a tragic shooting at one of his Trae Day events in 2009. After a jock at the station said Trae was inadvertently responsible for the violence because of his lyrics, Trae retaliated by dissing her on a mixtape, which resulted in his permanent banning from the station. Despite this and other hardships, it hasn’t stopped Trae in his tracks, as he has signed with T.I.’s Grand Hu$tle imprint, and just released his I Am King mixtape, with support from many of the industry’s biggest artists.
Trae’s unmistakably deep voice is what separates him from his peers, as it overpowers virtually all of the lengthy guest list that appear on I Am King‘s twenty tracks. However an album this long leaves plenty of margin for error, as many of the tracks run into each and sound redundant. “Fucked Up” starts the album off, as Trae acts as the great mediator between formerly beefing rappers Young Jeezy and T.I., and sets the tone for the rest of the LP. While this track more or less works, the same formula of overly apocalyptic, evil beats is employed over and over again (“F*cked Up”, “I Am King”) until you’ve simply had enough.
It’s when Trae changes things up that things begin to balance out and he truly shines. “Dark Angel” is a more honest look at street life, where both Trae and Kevin Gates pour the heart and soul into their verses, focusing less upon the flossy gangster lifestyle, and more on the troubles that steered them into it. The Coldplay-sampled “Driven” with Lupe Fiasco also works, as it’s a nice change of pace, while the Lana Del Rey flip, “Ugly Truth”, with B.o.B., does the same later in the LP. “I Believe” with Big K.R.I.T. also tones things down a notch, and works as a dope cut to close the shop up for the night.
But two of the best tracks come midway through the LP, such as “Old School” – an ode to the classic Cadillac, with a chilled out beat by Trackbangas and super smooth guest shot from Snoop Dogg. “Ride Wit Me” follows, as Boi-1da creates perfect chemistry between each Trae, Meek Mill, and T.I. It’s not long, however, before the monotony sets back in, on tracks like “Hallelujah” and “1 Up”, save for Jadakiss show-stealing verse on the latter.
Trae recognizes his own talent, and obviously is a workhorse when it comes to his craft. As far as mixtape releases go, I Am King plays more like an album, as there are no lazy freestyles or unfinished tracks included. However what holds him back is a lack of quality control. He could have just as easily picked the best ten tracks for I Am King‘s tracklist and ultimately delivered a more tightly-knit release. Regardless, Trae’s fanbase will eat this up, and there are several strong moments to insure that base keeps growing.
Leave a Reply
- Raekwon Sets A Release Date For “F.I.L.A.” Album
- BUSH: A Snoop Odyssey Produced By Pharrell Williams [Preview]
- Drake – “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” Surprise Album on iTunes Now
- Action Bronson “Mr. Wonderful” Cover Art and Tracklist
- Juicy J “Blue Dream & Lean 2″ Mixtape Cover Art & Release Date Revealed
- MF Grimm “MF Love Songs” Cover Art + Tracklist
- Lord Hakim – “Brass Knucklez” (feat. Vast Aire & Phizz Ed)
- IAMSU! – “Hella Good” (feat. Tyga)
- DJ Kay Slay – “I Declare War” (feat. Styles P, Sheek Louch, Vado, Raekwon, & Rell)
- Maverick Sabre – “We Don’t Wanna Be” (feat. Joey Bada$$)
- Cannibal Ox – “Blade: Art of Ox” (feat. Artifacts & U-God; prod. Black Milk)
- Asher Roth – “Blow Your Head” (prod. Nottz)