Yikes, Trae’s music is really fucking depressing.

trae1.jpg

Also, every single album cover looks exactly like this.

For those of you who don’t know (read: anyone/everyone but me, Doorknobz, Tom Breihan, Noz, and prolly Jon Kalmuss-Katz) Trae is a Texan rapper who sounds like he has the world’s worst head cold. Seriously, when he mutters “yeah,” it sounds like “byeahd.” He can hardly talk. He’s like the guy one of those ads for nasal spray where the whole head turns into a giant nose. His plugged-up mumble a fascinating instrument, and like a lot of circa-2007 rap dudes (Jeezy, obviously, but also East Coast weirdos like goblin-gangsta Peedi Crakk or yelling donkey-bray gangsta Freeway) he knows exactly how to use it to maximum effect.

Trae raps on every song exactly the same way: double-time, with his already overwhelmingly thick voice doubled so that it cuts through EVERYTHING, kinda the same way Sabbath piled/compressed their guitars in layers and layers until the sound was so thick it was like a lumbering beast. Trae has no range: his singular mode of expression is the sullen mumble. However, he’s elevated sullen mumbling into about as high an art form as it could ever be.

About two weeks ago, he released Life Goes On, the followup to last year’s unrelentingly dark and magnificently sad Restless, to almost zero fanfare. None of the places that repped for Restless last year have uttered a peep about this record, so I guess it falls to come-latelys like me to rep for the album while they rep for, um, Mitchy Slick or Wiz Khalifa or something.

First off, it ain’t as good. Like, the middle section is straight boring, and the song he does with 2Pac’s dessicated, rotting corpse is terrible. Production-wise, whereas Restless made a virtue of monolithic uniformity, this one just sounds flat in places. The sound of Restless boiled all of Houston rap’s sonic signifiers — slow, creeping basslines, chopped and screwed vocals, towering synths, piano plinks — down to an essentialist sludge, so that the album practically exuded Rap-A-Lot records in general and Screwed-Up Click in particular. In its rigorous formalism, it reminds me, oddly, of how DJ Premier honed and perfected mid-90’s East Coast rap’s signature sound to the point that he now partially embodies the era. Life Goes On gets a lot of the same Houston-rap notes right but somehow misses the music; many of the productions just sound rote.

Still, there are enough flashes of brilliance that the album shouldn’t be immediately consigned to the one-hot-album-followed-by-ummm-WHATEVER bin. Case in point: “The Truth,” a song that pretty much defines what Trae does best — again, sullen mumbling — and takes it to its logical extreme. There are no choruses or hooks on “The Truth” — just one long, pained rant, made even more affecting by its impotently under-the-breath delivery. He’s not confronting anyone with his endless list of grievances — he’s muttering them to himself in the corner. Trae, if his lyrics are any indication, has led a horrifically difficult life, haunted by death, and it shows here: “I know my brother Dickey sittin stressed/First his gal got killed, then his baby mama next/He been gone since ’92 for somethin he didn’t do” he says at one point, and then later: “I got a call about ten, I can’t go through this again/Terrell’s momma just died to be an angel in the wind.” The song doesn’t end; it just fades out, with Trae in mid-verse: “Damn, it’s like I’m out of breath/Praying through the night I can bring my niggas back up out of death.” God knows how long he went after the fader was brought down.

The goods: The Truth

BONUS TRACK: Smile ft. Jadakiss and Styles P

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6 Comments

Filed under Posted by Tyco, RAP MUSIC

6 responses to “Yikes, Trae’s music is really fucking depressing.

  1. His voice is so fuckin’…I don’t even know. Ridiculous. Dig it, though!

  2. His voice is so monotone, that without a hook, to me this sounds likes a Tupac record skipping. Sorry, this sort of makes the back of my teeth hurt.

    The Sabbath comparison is appropriate though.

  3. tom

    i dont care what u say. regardless of how deep and dark his songs are, they are all perfectly crafted lyrical masterpieces. i’ll admit there are some songs that aren’t as great but songs like All Alone are incredible. and for the record, i think his voice is awesome and is what hooked me in in the first place.

  4. Texasmayne

    You all just not accustomed to Dirty South music, its okay…. you cant listen to your bubble rap, I;m gonna bang Screw Till D.I.E. the whole album went hard, and you can put that on his track that you think is only good, because its The Truth. ha ;]

  5. www.myspace.com/djwrekshopmusic

    Mayne Trae is tha truth! Fuck what ya’ll be tombout. This is a TX thang and ya’ll haters will never understand it. H-Town stand up! Z-ro vs Trae double disc CD coming soon!! check me out: myspace.com/djwrekshopmusic

  6. A73X

    Yall juzt dnt knw nun bout dat HOUSTONE datz y yall steady tlkin but TRAE iz one of da bezt down here unlike SOULJA HOE fagget azz TRAE tlk bout da real shit nun bout dat fake shit bout money carz n hoez…he tlk bout day to day struggle mayb yall should stop bein criticz n juzt lizten to wut he b sayin n den yall knw wut im talkin bout…

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