It aint where youre from,
its where ya at, The old adage speaks well of the Coney Island MC, Torae Da
Young Vet not to be mistaken for the music writer Torae but a writer none the
less, he spends hours in the studio while most sleep, hes perfecting his
lyrical sword game. Torae has rocked big venues without a deal, and also hit
the road on tours. Every opportunity that came he capitalized big on, and still
doing the damn thing. No stranger to hard work, Torae lives in the booth,
spitting with such ferocity and tenacity; his words hit like a Strahan tackle
off the line of scrimmage; definitely granting the listeners full attention
just ask Cam Ron and Baby Williams.
Years of grinding it out on
the underground circuit, has produced the new album Daily Conversation, with production help from industry legend DJ
Premier, 9th Wonder, Marco Polo, and DJ Vega Benetton on production
as well as a slew of others make this album a tight fit I any true hip hop
listeners library. But on the rhyme side of things, tracks like the microphone
fiend induced “Callin’ Me,” the street banger “Think About It” with Teflon from M.O.P. not to mention the Skyzoo assisted “Click” are few joints to check out, and wonder what happened to that raw, gritty NYC sound that had seemed to fade away.
Torae is ready to bring NYC
back to Hip-Hops forefront, and hes wholly prepared to do so. AllHipHop.com
managed to speak with Torae and pick his brain and find out his story. He
doesnt mind telling it at all and we dont mind listening.
AllHipHop.com: Youre from
Coney Island, whats life like out there in terms to other parts of Brooklyn?
Torae: Well, Coney Island has always kind of been off on its own, kind
of excluded from the rest of the borough. Its a nice little vibe out here,
man. Its about a 25- 30 block radius, everybody knows each other, theres only
3 avenues, so, about 25 blocks everybody pretty much knows each other, knows
whats going on. For the most part, its a nice close knit community; of course
its like any other hood. We got our crimes and little problems amongst each
other. But for the most part Coney Island its
all love out here.
AllHipHop.com: Aside from
that historic amusement park, C.I. is also the birthplace of the famous
Nathans Hot Dog and hometown of NBA ballers Stephon Marbury [N.Y. Knicks] and
Sebastian Telfair [Minnesota Timberwolves] not to mention Lincoln High where
the Spike Lee joint He Got Game was
Torae: Not to mention Quincy Doobie, Jamar Thomas
made it to the league. Coney Island is
definitely a basketball community; theres a ball court on pretty much every
block out here. Even the dudes that dont make it to the league are
neighborhood and street ball legends. Coney is more famous for the ball playing
than the emceeing, but there are a few dudes that are out to change that
AllHipHop.com: Well, is it safe
to say that you are a front runner in giving Coney Islands
Torae: I guess I got the most
buzz right now. There are some dudes that came before me, and there are gonna
be a lot of dudes that are gonna come after me. Hopefully, I can kick the door
in and open the flood gates. Usually, thats how its done, one guy makes some
noise, [music] industry takes notice and starts looking for talent in that
region. Sometimes the first dude in doesnt get the right type of situation,
but as long as its a situation for everybody after its all said and done,
thats all I care about.
AllHipHop.com: What got you
into rhyming, and who were your influences?
Torae: Just growing up in it.
I just grabbed me from day one. My granddad owned a club, and my father was a
DJ, and my mom was a bartender at the club. Plus, my grandfather owned the
hotel on top of the club. The weekends would come; my parents would go
downstairs to work. I stayed upstairs with my cousins and aunts, but I felt the
vibe hearing the music coming up through the floor. I was always around it. In
addition to that, I had a full turntable, mixer, speakers from my dad doing
what he did. I remember I picked up a record by Jimmy Spicer called Dollar,
Dollar Bill Yall on the flip side to that was the instrumental. I didnt know
instrumental meant music without the words. I put it on and I learned the
entire rhyme. My parents came in, I put it on, spit the whole song for them and
the excitement in their eyes did something for me. I was like, Yo, this is
what I got to do!
AllHipHop.com: Youve been
doing your thing for a minute. Howd you get the name Torae Da Young Vet?
Torae: You know what? Its
kind of like Fabolous when he said his name wasnt always Fabolous. He just
said it in a rhyme and people just started calling him that. Thats sort of the
same situation that happened to me, I said the Young Vet in a rhyme and it
stuck. Plus, when I came in the game I came in young and eager; I was making a
lot of moves rather quickly in the industry. You know with being able to tour
and rock with big names and venues. I was making veteran moves as a rookie. Hence,
the origin of the name Da Young Vet.
AllHipHop.com: You started
touring with the Ca$h Money Millionaires?
Torae: You know what I was at
a Ca$h Money concert when they were touring with the Ruff Ryders. What
happened was there was an intermission and the host asked if there was any MCs
in the house, fortunately for me I had good enough seats I was right by the
stage. Two other acts went on before me and when I went on I spit a crazy 26
bar verse; the arena went crazy. The host was impressed; Baby and Slim heard
all the commotion in the back and wanted to know what that was about. I was
invited backstage I got to kick it with them. They also let me rock the last
three tour dates.
strong arming the game. I recall reading somewhere that you had an affiliation
with Cam Ron and the Diplomats. Whats the
story behind that?
Torae: How that came about
was in addition to rapping my manager would send me out on different jobs, just
trying to get me out there, get me noticed. One of the jobs that he sent me on
was a video shoot, it just so happened to be CamRon My Hood video. I got
picked for the video, I was shooting the scene and I had this tattoo on my arm
of an MC holding the mic that says: Official Mic Murderer. Cam
saw the tattoo and asked what that was about. I told him that I get busy, and
he wanted to hear something so I spit for him. He dug it. From that day on, for
the next 4 to 5 years, I was just running around with the Dipset kicking it
with them. Just running around in the industry, getting my feet wet, it was the
first time I ever did radio. First time I ever went out on the road was with Cam. So, I definitely owe them a lot for taking me out
AllHipHop.com: What was it
like rolling with the Dips?
Torae: It was dope. It was
real different. I know now they have a stigma where people kind of take them to
be one way, but, this is prior to the Roc-A-Fella situation. This was around Cams Epic [Records] days, he was recording his second
album, S.D.E.; it was a real good
time. I remember being up in the Epic office and being real excited, you know,
about being around them. Just doing things I always wanted to do, Im doing it.
Cam definitely gave me the initial opportunity, the first time I ever rolled
round in a Benz, was with Cam. I remember
being on the road with them and his son was being born. All the important
moments I was there for like his listening party, album signing, and it
definitely meant a lot to me. So, I definitely owe a lot to Cam and the Dipset
for embracing me, 1.being from Brooklyn, and
2. These guys been in the game longer than I have and they took me in as one of
AllHipHop.com: You being a New York artist how were you able to shine
on mixtapes out of state?
Torae: The mixtape thing was
popping in N.Y.; you had your DJ Clues, Envy and DJ Self. But it was kind of
hard to get on these mixtapes out here. So, I figured to outsource myself and
see what else is popping in other regions. I had friends in Atlanta, Florida
and other places, so I would tell them to send me whoever was popping out
there. On the mixtapes, the DJs had their contact info, I hit them up with cds
of freestyles and they dug it, and a lot of them got placed outside of New York. The NY market
is always the toughest to break in because its so saturated. It was kind of
easier infiltrating from the outside back in.
AllHipHop.com: Didnt you cut
a demo tape to Bad Boy before as well?
Torae: That was prior to everything, like, that was
kind of the reason for the name the Young Vet. I hooked up with my man Mr.
Phil, who used to produce Mobb Deep and also a group on Rowdy Records and he
worked with some members of the Wu-Tang Clan. He definitely had his foot in the
door; he embraced me allowed me to use the studio for free. My first demo I
took it up to Bad Boy, I wanted to get signed they had Big, The Lox and it was
just dope I wanted to be part of that energy. I took my demo up there in about
2-3 days I got a call from someone in the office. I met with him, he wanted to
feature me on unsigned artist compilation album and submit it to Puff and a few
other music execs. I got on it that was my first ever feature. It didnt get me
a deal though.
AllHipHop.com: Man, Im
jumping all over the place. Back to your outsourcing aside from the mixtapes
you also did radio spots for on air personalities in different markets and you
did a commercial for LeBron James.
Torae: I pride myself on
having good relationships with people, as opposed to just doing business with
people. What happened was my friend Ock, who was Brucie Bs manager, was doing
Roc Radio he was closely affiliated with Dame Dash who was doing he show on
Power 105 in NY. So, I figured let me do an intro for the show; I knew it had a
lot of listeners it was co-hosted by Steph Lova and I knew Dame would be
listening. Steph heard it I ended up doing two drops for Steph she played them
during her time there. The LeBron James thing happened around the time that he
was entering the NBA, the same people had connections to the radio out in
Cleveland I ended up doing a 16 bar verse over an industry beat. What happened
was they started playing it on the air out there like a rotational song. I
figured that it would be a good opportunity to capitalize on the hype LeBron
had in that particular market, and get my name popping out there. It was
spinning out there for a few weeks out there.
AllHipHop.com: You are part
of the group the Coalescence, howd you form the group?
Torae: Thats my man, DJ Vega
Benetton, my partner Kil Ripkin on the rhyme side, Wally Suede on the beats. We
formed the group out of mutual respect for each other; Kil is also another
Coney Island MC. We admired each others work and work ethic, but we never
really recorded together. Maybe did a song once in a while, but we traveled in
the same circles, under the same management, Attic Entertainment, we decided to
just make it happen. Vega was both of our DJs; he both hit us up with beats
along with Suede. One day we were all in the studio and we said lets not
prolong this and put together a group. We are pretty much self contained group
we got two MCs, a DJ that doubles as a producer, and another producer. From that
day we formed the group and its been on ever since.
AllHipHop.com: Who do you
have on your album?
Torae: Of course the legendary
DJ Premier who did 2 tracks, 9th Wonder a beat from him for my
album. I have three records from Khrysis, from the Justus League. Marco Polo,
hot new producer from Canada,
he did two joints on it. Plus, I have a few new people I have Vega Benetton he
helped me put this whole project together, he produced on it. My dude Pavarotti
produced a banging joint. And the new kid out of Seattle, Eric G., he produced
3 joints on there hes the truth too. I think its a well rounded album.
AllHipHop.com: You have a lot
of producers on there no special guests?
Torae: I got a couple of MCs
rhyming with me initially it started as a mixtape then blossomed into an album.
I figured that on my official debut I didnt want too many features or kept it
to a real minimum. So, I figured mixtapes are always good way to feature your
work with other artists. On this project, I called my man Skyzoo, who has been
making an incredible noise in the underground, had him on a few tracks.
Chaundon from the Justus League. Sha Stimuli another incredible New York MC,
from BK to be exact. Kel Spencer whose ghost written for many legends in the
game, hes on it showcasing what he can do when he is pushing his pen for
others. Teflon from M.O.P. thats fam right there, bringing that raw Brooklyn feeling. Tash from Tha Liks [Tha Alkaholiks],
and my dude Kil Ripkin from the Coalescence, couldnt do anything without him.
AllHipHop: You have the
single Calling Me on Youtube. And you have the DJ Premier produced track with
Skyzoo called Click, where you guys tackle the issues via hating-assed people
on message board websites. I say that to say this: who was the song aimed for
the websites or the people on the message boards.
Torae: With Sky he reached
another level of success and the internet and released his album with 9th
Wonder. With the success comes the criticism good and bad. He was addressing some
of the critics or whoever may have felt a certain kind of way on a certain
message board or what have you. It was just a message to let you know hes
listening and he knows whats going on. The same as with me, Ive been
fortunate up until this point to have very little harsh criticism, so on my
verse I said: I read every blog, every
article printed/ I heard every bar every rhyme you was penning. Thats just
letting people know Im out there peeping every thing on line. Im real heavy
on the internet, as a fan and as an artist. I like to see whats going on and
AllHipHop.com: What else do
you have lined up?
Torae: Im gonna hit the road
and promote the album. Im also working on a group album with Marco Polo; were
working on a project called [title subject to change] Double Barrel. Marco is a beast on the beats, if you like the beats
on Port Authority, youll love what
we got cooking up. The stuff he is working on is making me step my game up
through the writing, and trying to use different types of flows. We are pushing
each other work wise on this project.
Toraes Myspace Page is www.myspace.com/dayoungvet