Toriyama – “For The People Tho” – bringing heart back to hip-hop!

Toriyama was born and raised in Oakland California, where the other members of Kurse Krew are also from. The three met in high school and went on to put out a few albums before eventually fading and separating ways. Later on, Ajgod, the consistent artist out of the collective, linked up with Toriyama, who went by the moniker of 21 stylez at the time. They got together to make a joint album with Ajgod handling production and Toriyama rapping on every track. The album “Krew Entertainment” included a track featuring all three original members of the collective.

Kurse Krew

Now Toriyama is back with his 2021 mixtape “For The People Tho” which dropped on April 24. The mixtape also features Kurse Krew member, Ajgod, who put his productions skills into the mix. Toriyama steady and resonant baritone voice grounds the otherwise flowy and constantly moving beats. He is confident in his raps, spitting them out like ultimate truths.

The mixtape not only reflects the rappers own journey and awakening through our current world, but also his belief that if others focused on finding truth, the world would be a much better place. Moreover, with this comes an air of consistency and completion. Though wild experimentation and left-field obscurity aren’t necessarily the first thoughts with “For The People Tho”, by no stretch of the imagination is it boring or static in its ideas.

On the contrary, the beats are forward-thinking, often including surprising instrumentation and unexpected sonics. Kicking off with “Kxng Yaphet”, the beat rolls in on a wave of horns, electric guitars, skittering hi-hats and a thumping beat.

On top of it all, Toriyama unleashes a relentless flow to push the momentum and the mood. “Sharif” slaps even harder, as the drum and piano driven beat leaves all responsibility up to Toriyama’s conscious lyricism and delivery. “Being a black in America isn’t easy. The hunt is on, and you’re the prey. All I’m saying is…survive,” reads the lyric sheet.

Mixtape Cover

“Batousai” again showcases Toriyama’s wordplay and flow, which are built upon an eclectic production.  Here he speaks with the words and a tone of a street prophet, while also infusing the hook with twisted melodic motifs.

“Player 2” ft. Jae Harmony is another solid piece in a quality line of works on this mixtape. No matter what these soundscapes provide, Toriyama manages to exhibit his lyrical skills and moral quandaries, which he does here comfortably over a groove-infused beat.

“Losin” ft. Gee Ajgod is constructed on another head-banging beat, beautifully dressed up in the essential sounds of the driving keys and drums. Toriyama is about as lyrically versatile as it comes and he has no qualms showing it. The bars that follow, from both Toriyama and Gee Ajgod, are eye-popping inventive, and will definitely put the world on notice. “We use to be the niggas that was losin’. But we keep movin’.”

In an era of disposable music, Toriyama is bringing heart back to hip-hop. Final proof can be found on the mixtape closer, “The Last Track” ft. Spearofthenation. Here the rappers create dense lyricism shrouded in an ethereal moody soundscape, showcasing classic wordplay. Their poetry offered by wit and wisdom. At its best, “For The People Tho” doesn’t even feel like a mixtape. It feels like a solid album release from an emcee establishing himself as a rising power.

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Mixtape on Datpiff:

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