Floco Torres Shows There’s Beauty in the Struggle on His Latest EP
“You know careers take off, just gotta be patient,” Kendrick Lamar’s line off “ELEMENT.” speaks to the labor of getting a rap career off the ground, which can be a long process for many artists. Floco Torres has been in the industry since 2008, but in 2017 much of the hip-hop world is still in the dark about the New Jersey native. His new EP, Again, is appropriately titled; it’s his 21st release, and his latest attempt to solidify his musical footing. Nearly ten years after entering the game, Floco sounds as hungry as ever on Again, coming with a fresh yet thoroughly polished sound that’s built to impress.
Clocking in at 24 minutes, Again is a brief sample size of Floco’s abilities behind the mic. He bookends the EP with identical instrumentals, handling the vocals himself on the intro, “Floco’s Joint,” and inviting Charles Davis to belt them out on the outro, “Charles Joint.” The uplifting tracks frame the tape well, fitting the vibe that fills much of the EP. Floco’s at his best when he’s rhyming over airy, soulful beats, spilling his mind in a rather straightforward tone. “You!” fits that description perfectly, kicking off with a warm vocal riff that creates an irresistible hook. Playful lines like “sometimes you gotta look past your belly and find yourself / you might be the dick and don’t know it” give the song a carefree feeling that’s made for summer, even as he calls it a “happy breakup song.”
Floco narrates his life story on “Nobody Knows,” a personal dissertation that acts as the cornerstone of the EP. Sampling the moving gospel record of the same name by Pastor T.L. Barrett, it’s the type of song that belongs in an NBA Finals promo commercial. He says the song was intended for the trailer of Barry, the biopic on Barack Obama released by Netflix, but that it evolved into a full song as he was working on his own project. “The only handouts I got was from professors / aced every one and still learned life lessons,” he raps on the song, finding joy and fulfillment in his journey through the world thus far.
There’s an endearing earnestness in Floco’s personality. He avoids typical braggadocious bars for the majority of Again, and one would be hard-pressed to find any profanity or drug references on the EP. Insightful lines keep the project from sounding overly corny, allowing him to hold the listener’s respect on less bubbly songs such as “Thoughts.” Minimizing the background to a bass guitar and a static drum kick for most of the song, cutting lines like, “I kept taking steps till the upstairs was gone / some folks fell back on the couch in the same home,” see him flexing his lyrical prowess with ease. He trades verses with Goodie Supreme and Billie Slum on the boom-bap-infused “Voltron,” rhyming, “Claiming he hot, but couldn’t even set a steam to some straight leg jeans / I’m a jogger, running laps around your whole team.” It’s the most aggressive song on the EP, and both of the featured artists deliver bars that are up to par.
Floco Torres is truly in his own lane on Again, and it’s one worthy of your attention. His expansive catalogue proves he’s more than experienced at his craft, allowing him to create an EP free from rookie mistakes that still has the ambition of an up-and-coming artist. Success in the music industry can be fleeting, but there’s no doubting that when Floco’s time in the spotlight finally comes, he’ll be ready.