A Brooklyn emcee who's been putting in work since the mid-'90s, Torae has seen his profile steadily rise over the years. After appearing on countless 12-inches, collaborations, and mixtapes, in 2009 he finally released his first album: the exceptional Double Barrel, produced entirely by Canada-to-Queens boom-bap specialist Marco Polo. Two years later, he's back with For the Record, enlisting a jaw-dropping dream team of behind-the-boards talent, including iconic heroes DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, and Diamond D, plus next-generation torch-bearers Khrysis, !llmind, and Nottz. Where a lessor verbalist could easily find himself eclipsed by the V.I.P. beatmakers, Torae holds his own, coming correct with an avalanche of smart rhymes that focus mainly on bold bravado, self-reflection, and his steadfast dedication to true-school hip-hop. It's seriously banging from start to finish. Check out "That Raw," the conceptual "what if?" vibe of "Do the Math," and the post-breakup jam "Over You."