Yo, what’s up people it’s your boy Trav Dave and I’m back with new interviews for the new year. First, I’ve been a fan of this guy’s music for awhile (and actually seen him perform in Columbus, Ohio on the Ghostface tour).
Emcee, radio personality, host, and actor -Torae is a person you should DEFINITELY know!! If not “do your googles” and catch up. “One time for my man Torae:”
Q: The first time I was put on to your music was around 2007-2008 with the Daily Conversation. I was like- WOW! This guy is working with the heavy hitters 9th wonder and DJ Premier,so let me see who he is. It felt good to hear fresh beats and bars compared to everything that was out at the time! What was your mind state at that time when you were making that project?
A: For me Daily Conversation was the introduction. It was my coming out party of sorts. I wanted everyone to know New York, specifically Coney Island ,Brooklyn still had some emcees that could really get busy lyrically.
Q: The “Double Barrel” album with Marco Polo which came out on Duck Down records was dope! How was it working with one producer compared to working with multiple producers for a single project?
A: Marco & I have amazing chemistry, it probably just stems from the fact that we’re good friends. When you have that dynamic of one producer & one MC for the duration of a project it’s always going to be easier than when you have multiple people involved. Less is definitely more in that instance, but I have fun doing albums both ways.
Q: “For The Record” album was the one that did it for me. The beats and rhymes had a certain feel to it, like it was specifically made for those who love hip hop, but also had a musical vibe to it. As an emcee, do you write your lyrics first or do you write and tailor your lyrics around the production?
A: Yeah people had heard projects from me before “For The Record”, but that was the debut album. It’s the album I had been creating in my mind since day one. So when I finally got to do it I went all out. As for the writing process I never pen anything without a beat. I used to just write all the time for sport so I have written without beats early on, but since I’m been releasing music professionally, I always write to a beat.
Q: Now let’s talk about the “Barrel Brothers” with Skyzoo. What the people want to know is were y’all lyrically trying to kill each other on some “I’m a better emcee” type deal or was it more about the songwriting process and making the best songs possible for this project?
A: When you have two guys that are fans of each other we’re naturally going to bring out the best. So yes there was some friendly competition to bring it lyrically on each song but it stems from the mutual respect. I know Sky is one of the best & I’ll be damn if he kills me on a joint! I’m sure he feels the same way.
Q: Your new project is called “Entitled”. What separates this project from all of your previous projects?
A: “Entitled” is the follow up to “For the Record”, it’s my sophomore project and overall I think you hear the maturity & growth on this LP. I’ve seen & done so much in these last years the music has no choice but to reflect that. Again when I’m doing a Torae album I get to create it & shape it how I want top to bottom, so Entitled is the next chapter in the book of Torae beats, rhymes, concepts the whole deal.
Q: I see you’re also working with some heavy hitters on this new project. When it comes down to the production, do you pick your own beats and A&R projects or do you work with a team that helps you choose?
A: I always A&R my own projects and sometimes handle that for others too. Most producers might say I’m picky when it comes to beats, but I just know what I like & what moves me. People say overall I have a good ear so that’s a plus.
Q: You have Mack Wilds and Phonte on the new project. Did you choose them to work on the project before or during the filming of VH1s “The Breaks”?
A: Well those are both the homies so it’s always a good time when you get to create music with your friends. I think Mack & I knocked out ‘Troubled Times’ before The Breaks was shot & Phonte’s feature came afterwards.
Q: Speaking of “The Breaks” the ending was a cliffhanger and the streets want to know is this something that is going to be a series spin-off of the movie or is the 2 hour movie all we get? We know you have to have some behind the movie insight that you can share with us, right?
A: We all want more, so hopefully VH1 gets the message and makes it happen. That’s all I’m at liberty to say about that.
Q: As for your acting debut, did you catch the acting bug at a young age? I mean, you do satellite radio on Hip Hop Nation with “The Tor Guide”, you emcee, host and now you’re acting. Is this something you see yourself doing more of in the near future? How do you balance doing all these things and still be good at all of them?
A: I’m so in love with entertaining and putting on for the culture I continuously look for ways to contribute. Music is my 1st love, but a very close 2nd was always acting. I thought they went hand in hand. I was coming up my favorite rappers like L.L. Cool J, Latifah, 2Pac they were all acting so I naturally saw myself doing it too. I want to hone the craft some more before I just jump into anything thing though. I respect it too much to just dive in unprepared.
Q: New year, new goals. What are some of your goals for the rest of 2016?
A: My goals are to keep being a blessing to others & to keep counting my blessings. Every year more & more amazing things happen for me so I can’t even imagine what 2016 has in store.
Torae, I want to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to do this interview fam. Please tell the people what your handles are and how they can contact you.
Thank you for having me Trav, I can be reached on Twitter & Instagram @Torae my Facebook page is FB.com/itstorae and for any info, videos, shows, news etc hit up my site itstorae.com
Edited by: Michelle Greenwell
Photo by: Robert Adam Mayer