This review is for the uninitiated, the hip hop heads that aren’t regular listeners of the southern, bass-heavy style. Many of you will know of UGK, and for those that don’t, it’s time to educate yourself. The reason I mention UGK is because Trae Tha Truth reminds me of a smoother Bun B – distinctive, throaty and possesses a tone that’s deeper than 99% of the male population. If you kicked him in the nether regions, he’d sound normal (and you’d sound dead). “The Tonite Show” is an EP that’s arrived shortly after a mixtape (“I Am King”) and before the 2014 release of “Banned”, but shows glimpses of a nice little partnership brewing.
DJ Fresh (billed as The World’s Freshest) provides a dreamlike soundtrack throughout “The Tonite Show”, coughing up an 80s vibe on “You Neva Know” and making the single “Wid It” sound like a Disney-fied take on the theme to The Exorcist. Fresh is at his best on “Pain”, a mesmeric head-nodder that suits Trae perfectly. It’s the one moment where more of Trae would have worked, as the sleepy atmosphere is the perfect foil for Trae’s husky rhymes.
Trae demonstrates his rapping ability most explicitly on “Like a Diamond”, opting for a faster flow which suits him more than the laconic and dry stance he takes on much of this EP. There’s no denying the charismatic presence that Trae has, but even he knows that it can grate as he shares mic time on five of the six songs.
“The Tonite Show” is a welcome, if brief glimpse in to Trae’s brooding character that benefits from a strong group of DJ Fresh productions. Whether it’s the audacity to sample Rihanna’s “Diamond” not long after it’s left the charts, or the classy Mitchy Slick-assisted “Go Away”, there’s a maturity to the lavish atmosphere throughout this record that proves Truth and Fresh live up to their names, if only for a short while.