Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, Fri., Sept. 8, 2006
That cold, dark place where insecurities take root nurtures Houston's self-proclaimed "Asshole by Nature." Forever twisting unfortunate situations into sustained abrasiveness, Trae embodies the painfully mistreated, lashing back at intrusive demons with blunt force. In the tradition of Scarface admitting, "I never seen a man cry until I seen a man die," and 2Pac aligning himself as Me Against the World, the H-town MC's third album walks the thin line between tragic alienation and vengeful retribution. If Fat Pat's assassination wasn't enough, there's now HAWK's murder to let simmer along with the realization that not only does the ghetto have walls, but they're incrementally closing in. "I don't know who to trust," admits Trae. "Even my lady flipped the script for roach ass niggas with lust." Like his currently incarcerated cousin and fellow Guerilla Maab affiliate Z-Ro, Trae wallows with "No Help" in the deepest of blues laments as "a loner, on my own, alone, packing my chrome." His baritone, anti-crooning on "Quit Calling Me" conjures a cranky black bear marking his territory by striking fear into all within earshot of his mighty growl. While the more playful side of Trae rears its head by way of "Pop Trunk Wave," "In the Hood" featuring Yung Joc, and "Cadillac" featuring Paul Wall and Three 6 Mafia, it's Trae's deadpan, machine-gun flow that ultimately keeps echoes bellowing through crack-laden canyons.
Trae pops Red 7, Saturday, Sept.9.