Torae Da Young Veteran: Following The Calling

“It ain’t where you’re from,

it’s 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, he’s 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-Hop’s forefront, and he’s wholly prepared to do so.

managed to speak with Torae and pick his brain and find out his story. He

doesn’t mind telling it at all and we don’t mind listening. You’re from

Coney Island, what’s 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. It’s a nice little vibe out here,

man. It’s about a 25- 30 block radius, everybody knows each other, there’s only

3 avenues, so, about 25 blocks everybody pretty much knows each other, knows

what’s going on. For the most part, it’s a nice close knit community; of course

it’s like any other hood. We got our crimes and little problems amongst each

other. But for the most part Coney Island it’s

all love out here. Aside from

that historic amusement park, C.I. is also the birthplace of the famous

Nathan’s 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; there’s a ball court on pretty much every

block out here. Even the dudes that don’t 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… Well, is it safe

to say that you are a front runner in giving Coney Island’s

rap identity?


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, that’s 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 doesn’t get the right type of situation,

but as long as it’s a situation for everybody after its all said and done,

that’s all I care about. 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 Ya’ll” on the flip side to that was the instrumental. I didn’t 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!” You’ve been

doing your thing for a minute. How’d you get the name Torae Da Young Vet?


Torae: You know what? It’s

kind of like Fabolous when he said his name wasn’t always Fabolous. He just

said it in a rhyme and people just started calling him that. That’s 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. 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 Ryder’s. What

happened was there was an intermission and the host asked if there was any MC’s

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. Straight

strong arming the game. I recall reading somewhere that you had an affiliation

with Cam’ Ron and the Diplomats. What’s 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 Cam’Ron “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

there. 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 Cam’s 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, I’m 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

the family.  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 Clue’s, 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 DJ’s 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 it’s so saturated. It was kind of

easier infiltrating from the outside back in. Didn’t 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 didn’t get me

a deal though. Man, I’m

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 B’s 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. You are part

of the group the Coalescence, how’d you form the group?


Torae: That’s 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 DJ’s; 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 it’s been on ever since. 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 he’s the truth too. I think it’s a well rounded album. You have a lot

of producer’s on there no special guests?


Torae: I got a couple of MC’s

rhyming with me initially it started as a mixtape then blossomed into an album.

I figured that on my official debut I didn’t 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, he’s on it showcasing what he can do when he is pushing his pen for

others. Teflon from M.O.P. that’s fam right there, bringing that raw Brooklyn feeling. Tash from Tha Liks [Tha Alkaholiks],

and my dude Kil Ripkin from the Coalescence, couldn’t 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 he’s

listening and he knows what’s going on. The same as with me, I’ve 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. That’s just

letting people know I’m out there peeping every thing on line. I’m real heavy

on the internet, as a fan and as an artist. I like to see what’s going on and

what’s new. What else do

you have lined up?


Torae: I’m gonna hit the road

and promote the album. I’m also working on a group album with Marco Polo; we’re

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, you’ll 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.


Torae’s Myspace Page is

Related Stories