Yo…I won’t even hold you, I’ve never heard a Torae or Skyzoo album. And that’s not a knock on either one of ‘em cause I know they’re both dope MC’s. But for some reason I just never gave either of ‘em a chance. For the most part with Sky it was cause I’ve never been a big Illmind dude, and since money does the bulk of his production an entire Sky album never got any run with me. Not sure what my deal with Torae was but the sad thing is that this evil cycle was about to repeat itself again with their new album together “The Barrel Brothers.” First up, I’m like “not another brother album.” I mean, we already got Evidence & Alchemist’s the Step Brothers, the Bodega Brothers, Little Brother, etc. etc. we gotta start using “cousins” or something. So, I’d see 'lil adds here & there for their album but again, I never really paid ‘em no mind. That is til I was on okayplayer and cats were talking about how dope the sampler for their album was. So with my Nas philosophy for checking out music nowadays, (Nas once said that with SO much music out that there’s no way to listen to it all. But if something is dope enough, it’ll find him) I was like “aiight, I’ll bite” and all I can say is damn...I’m glad I did cause these songs were sounding BANANAS!
The set starts off with the Oh No produced “Talk of The Town” which is just flat out sick and has Torae & Sky both blacking out while the 808 heavy “Make You A Believer” has me wanting ask myself what did the five fingers say to the face cause I’ve REALLY been sleeping on Torae, “the second coming of dumbing is humming through your monitors/momma named me Torae Carr never no moniker/take my verses personal it’s Monica/gave you niggas life all week, thought is was hanukkah/blue yankee my yamaka/known to ride the rhythm like a Yamaha/wheelie with your biddie pop the clutch and then I’m poppin her/told you she a rider huh, that just means she’s riding us/metro card through the box, run the train, she riding bus/who wanna collide with us/it’s obviously obvious/the north won the civil war, it’s better to side with us/McFadden and Whitehead shit, there ain’t no stopping us/on the freeway with the mac, that state prop in us/it’s bleak, if I jigga and dash there ain’t no roc in us/ready to die, sky’s the limit, that big pop is us/poetic justice got me the juice, and that’s the Pac in us/make you a believer and lead ya, to make a lot with us, talk to ‘em.” And this is the dude I’ve been sleeping on?
“Tunnel Vision” is another 808 heavy beat that freaks the Digable Planet quote “we be to rap what key be to lock” lovely, the album’s 1st single “Blue Yankee Fitted” has Illmind using the Long Red break and the Albino Gorilla sample made famous in Tribe’s “Midnight” and the Black Milk produced “All In Together” featuring Guilty Simpson and Sean Price has the later losing his mind as usual. “Triangle Offense” featuring Sha Stimul has Tor setting it off, “you f-cking with the best in the borough, the Barrel Brothers of Brooklyn/ain’t nobody give us a lane, fuck it we took one/niggaz were hooked from the door, peep Skylar and Tor/more like Walter White and Jesse the way we cook it up pure” while Sky kicks, “got em when they calling me Tyson in ‘86/I get that in involved when handing off to make a flick/know I handle bars, like handle bars and play the grips/turn the canon on and handle ya’ll when I’m laying dick/my rep is great as it gets, I’m young, pretty I hit hard, I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m on my lift off/my fan base is going state to state in a zip car/and my only downfall is my belt is covered in lip gloss/played the nickels and nines, made a grip on the side/been dancehall on the bass, I’m Jadakiss of the Stuy” and on “Albee Square Mall” Sky and Tor give you their 2014 version of the Biz classic. “Four Bar Friday” has the Stuyvesants lacing Sky and Tor with the perfect soundscape to have them both going back and forth on some ole EPMD ish, the horns on the Ant Man Wonder produced “Memorabilia” are just flat out sick and the album ends with “The Aura” which is cool but it’s mos def the first time in my life I thought 9th Wonder produced the track when in reality Primo produced it…and that right there ain’t a good thing.
But my two fave jawns off “Barrel Brothers” are “The Hand Off” and “Rediscover.” On “The Hand Off” Krysis freaks the Soul Children break made famous by Nas’ “On The Real” but the illest part of the song is how he flips the same sample two different ways for both Tor and Sky’s verses and maaaaaan, does Sky go in on his verse, “my delivery heaven sent/like Biggie blew his breath in it/glock 30 lyrically, I drop murder wizardry/my block murder literally/one way or another, either blues or crews, I peruse in better shoes/nowadays you’d be surprised how much clapping in the air get you/the shit is a thirst trap like a Tahiry picture/learning jewels over Ronnie Jordan loops, pops read the Final Call, glock set behind the wall/and my number never changed, just the motherfuckers calling it/my jumper never changed, just the spots where I can water it” and “Rediscover” featuring Blu is just too damn smooth not to rock with it. So at the end of the day, if by any chance you’ve been on the same train I was (the key word is “was”) of sleeping on both these cats, PLEASE do yourself a favor and get off not now but right now and do the knowledge on both of these dudes ASAP cause if ya’ll don’t there’s absolutely no way I wanna hear cats talking that “real NY hip hop is dead” ish cause these two are reppin’ NYC and hip hop sumthin’ lovely.
4 outta 5