By: Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez
As a hip-hop fan, it feels good to run back an East Coast Classic every once in a while.
In a musical landscape as historic and diverse as rap music, there’s room for both modern progression and nostalgic throwbacks in the weekly drop. Today’s album, God of Barz by rapper/producer Tru Trilla, is a perfect example of the latter. The New Jersey native sounds hungrier than anyone I’ve heard in the past few months, making music that golden-age and modern fans can enjoy. Trilla’s voice is ear-grabbing, his writing is nasty, and his aesthetics are gruff, making for a one of this year’s finer underground releases.
Tru Trilla’s all about kicking ass and taking names on God of Barz. His style is very confrontational throughout; while some rappers can come off as annoying while doing this, Trilla’s forgoes that stereotype with raw delivery as he crosses names off his list. When he calls out other rappers’ work as “dumpster juice” on the standout “Fake Views,” I feel his energy surging through my headphones. Combine this confrontational approach to rapping with a consistently high-volume delivery, and the passion is palpable. As he raps “I paint pictures, y’all scribbling,” I wince. Not in pain, but because his excellent delivery adds extra force to a sucker-punch of a line.
Speaking of punch, Trilla’s writing has quite a bit of it. While he goes out of his way to hang other rappers’ heads over his fireplace, he still manages to work in vivid tales of his upbringing, work ethic, and environment. Take the opener “God’s Partical”: Trilla’s storytelling ability is on full display on the first verse of the song, painting a dangerous criminal tale with the detail of a movie. “Rebel” shows Trilla’s passion for the roots of the genre, talking about the problems of today in a musical fashion and going against the grain. It’s a sentiment rarely returned to in hip-hop today, so Trilla’s words here hit hard amidst the rapid turntables. In addition to this, Trilla takes a break from the storytelling and discussion of American problems, opting to flex his rap skills, with “God’s Sympathy” being a dive into fistfight rap. Teaming up with Fly Kwa and Confucius, the trio take turns comparing their rap skills to hand-to-hand combat. It works out surprisingly well, bringing lyrical firepower amidst snarling lion samples and blaring horns.
“Society tried to write us off and use propaganda to right their wrongs” Trilla raps on “Word of God.” One of his greatest talents is to make particular lines jump out at you, and this lends an identity to several of the songs here; his hook game is well-groomed for what appears to be a throwback album. Even when songs emphasize the verses more, I find that his rapping matches the rhythm of the song in an engaging way, especially on the woodwinds of “Real Right.” While it may seem to dive too much into the Wu-Tang battle rap cosmetic, God of Barz makes up for it with real content: lines to remember, snarling delivery, and plenty of attitude.
The production on God of Barz, thankfully, matches Trilla’s attitude. The use of horn samples and string samples throughout add a great deal of tension to the mix, especially when Trilla gets more aggressive. Producer DNA Beatz adds a level of chunkiness to his drums that add a layer of oomph to the beat on “Word of God,” while his use of sinister piano loops on “God of Barz” sounds like something MF DOOM would love. The overall vibe of the instruments is sinister, crunchy, and mean, a perfect backdrop to Trilla’s voice.
Simply put, I think God of Barz is a great project. Tru Trilla really gave an excellent performance here, with his skillful writing and performance being the driving force behind some killer beats. If you’re a fan of the hardcore East Coast style, good writing, or music with some force behind it, this is the one for you!
Must Listen Tracks: “God’s Partical,” “Word of God,” “Fake Views,” “God’s Sympathy,” “Real Right,” “God of Barz,” “The Rebel”
God of Barz had arrived to streaming services today, May 29th. Stream it below! Special thanks to Tru Trilla, New Dawn Records, and Urban Elite Promotions for an early preview!