Retrospective: The Essential DAR Albums

By @CherchezLaPorsh and @SpeedOnTheBeat 

Now, as most know, this TEAMDAR movement has started to take off just a bit. With the site in place as well as consistent merchandise and promotion, the DAR machine is at work. However, the basis of TEAMDAR was always rooted in music. Regardless of everything else, the true root of the DAR movement is music. With True, Speed, Apollo, and Axel forming a four man unstoppable force, there have been tons of projects released in 2015, but that's not where the journey truly started. Today, Porsha and Speed sit down and discuss some of the top 10 most essential albums from the DAR collective and a bit of story behind them. Acknowledge the greatness.

I decided to pick six essential albums to listen to from DAR. All solo albums. Here are my picks:

*Shokus Apollo- Survive The Horror
Available on iTunes, Spotify, etc....
-This album surprised me. I’m not sure what I expected, but track after track seemed to take you through this psychedelic journey. I pay attention to lyrics and flow, so for me this album did not disappoint. I also like Apollo’s style of rap, mellow and soothing. The beats are different and make the entire album cohesive. What Shokus Apollo does best though is track titles and the references he uses in his lyrics. This is an album you must listen to.

*Black Ax- Coolin’ in Axelworld:

-I had fun listening to this album. It’s true what they say, Ax definitely has a unique energy in each and every one of his songs.  “Slide in Them DMs” and “NBA Style” were pretty cool to listen to. In my opinion, both of these songs were fun, both in lyrics and flow. Ax also gives the listener tracks that allows them to connect on an emotional level, such as "Someone’s Who’s Real”, “I Need You” and “Lord Help Me” do that. In my opinion, this album has a good balance of bangers and tracks that pull on the heart strings. You should definitely check this out.

*True God- Soul Revival 2:

-This was the first album of True God’s that I listened to, and I was pleasantly surprised. I place 95% of an album's rating on lyrical content and the artist’s flow, and True excelled at both. Every single track is thought provoking on an emotional level. Even though True shares his own life experiences, wisdom and knowledge, he does so in a way that makes you feel like you lived it yourself, and he does all of this with flawless wordplay against beats and samples that really compliment the overall "feel" that is trying to be conveyed. "Piece Of Me", "Lost Love" and "Zuri's Song" are perfect tracks that allow the listener to connect on a deep level. I think the best part of Soul Revival 2 is that True was very candid about what he was can't really ask for more as a fan and a listener, as track after track is insight into what was really taking place. This is the album that will draw you in and keep you hooked. Definitely a masterpiece.

*True God- Soul Revival 1:
Available on iTunes, Spotify, etc...

-The album that addresses global issues as a whole, whether it's past or present. Again, True has this ability to take these seemingly negative issues and incorporate an entirely positive, hopeful perspective; "Power of the Black Fist" and "Everything Changes" are examples of this and 2 of my favorite songs. Soul Revival 1 is filled with lyrical gems and has some of the best samples and beats. This album is solid with no skippable tracks, but I think to truly appreciate this to its fullest, you have to be able to challenge the mainstream way of thinking. What I appreciate most is how "matter of fact" it is in the delivery and how inspirational it is even to someone who has never had to deal with society's injustice(s).

*True God- Root For The Villain:
Available on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, etc..

-This is one of the best "cinematic" music albums I've heard. From the very first track until the last, this album is perfectly put together. The tracks are organized in a way that delivers all the components a listener would look for in a movie: theme, character(s), point of view and imagery, and all of this done through flawless lyrics. This is a dark album and even though normally you'd want a hero to prosper, in this particular case, it's the villain you want to see succeed(hence the title). There is a component in this that differs from the other 3 albums listed here by True, this one has a nonchalant connotation in every track (except "Zuri Summer"), yet still is personal. Although a lot of feelings and emotions are expressed, it's clear there is an entirely different mindset in the artist compared to previous albums. To me, this album is truly the beginning of an entirely new outlook, it's fresh, fun and carefree, and I think that after everything True has been through on previous albums, this outlook is necessary. This one will most definitely be ranked as an "all time best" and/or classic in True's catalog. Check this out ASAP.

*True God- Pursuing Happiness:
Available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc....

-If I had to use one word to sum up this album, it would be "optimistic". "The Pursuit" is my favorite track on this album and in my opinion is the perfect intro.  It is filled with positivity and hopefulness with regards to life in general, as well as parenting and relationships, past and present. Then you have "Stimulate and Activate", which is fantastic too, and the Outkast sample is brilliant and continues the overall feel of the album. There is an element of emotional depth in the album also, as "Co-Parenting" in my opinion is powerful, with snippets of True's daughter. Once again, he's pretty candid, so it's impossible not to feel empathetic about the entire situation surrounding his relationship with the mother of his child and the fact that he's dealing with being far away from his daughter and not truly by choice. Even then, there's the optimism we know is always present with True. As always, in every single track, the lyrics and flow and beat selection have always been True's strengths and they continue to impress and amaze.

I've chosen four albums that Porsha has not listed and I think there is much to be said about all of these. These are some slept on DAR releases.

*Shokus Apollo- Apolloveli
Available on iTunes, Spotify, etc...
-Apolloveli was years in the making, from what I've interpreted from Apollo and True talking about it during its finalization. I was lucky enough to be in the studio with Apollo when he worked on it for some. In a Future-like haze of speed, Apollo cranked out a project that's part Dirty Sprite (minus the dirty Sprite as far as I could tell), part section.80. The album was as conscious as it was out of this world. Apollo's beat selection was on-point, mixing boom bap with turn-up. Lyrically, while I preferred Survive the Horror in this category, Apollo came prepared on his first full-on DAR solo release. It is the perfect introduction to what makes up Apollo as an artist.

*Speed On The Beat- Death Of The King
Available on iTunes, Spotify, etc...

-Death of the King, for me, is a tricky release. It's a concept album within a series of concept albums (the Songs For... trilogy consisting of DOTK, 2013's Songs For..., and 2012's One Year Later aka RAQUEL RELOADED). DOTK was supposed to be my swan song, as the original subtitle for it was "The Ascension of the Modern Male." However, during some of its recording, I had a mental lapse and ended up having to reevaluate my life and surroundings. Because of that, DOTK is purposely disjointed in the form which it's presented (Redemption's Reprise through Keep Integrity, Never Guises). If someone pays close attention, the intro truly serves as the outro. It is full of hope and clarity. The album itself is representative of going through bipolar episodes, specifically ones that are undiagnosed and/or misdiagnosed. Through DOTK, I feel like I've managed to touch people's minds and lives, since they know that "hey, I have a mental illness, but it's not what defines me." And besides, without DOTK, my production on albums such as Soul Revival 2 would've been a bit lacking.

*TEAM DAR- Exodus
Available on iTunes, Spotify, etc...
-Exodus was a beautiful mess. I say that because halfway through the recording, our engineer decided to move and set up shop elsewhere. additionally, all four of us  (myself, True, Apollo and Axel) had things going on which kind of, pardon the harshness, fucked with our mental quite brutally. An example of this anger being put to good constructive use was "Man It's Simple". And that's not only because people get a taste of truly unhinged Speed on the Beat here, but you get to hear all the DAR members at their most unfiltered here.

*Speed On The Beat- Baltimore Commercial Break(From Juke Joints To Greatness)
Available on iTunes, Spotify, etc....
-BCB. It's a quirky-ass album. It's a bit more cohesive than DOTK (I guess that's because it was recorded in its entirely before my mother's death). It's a bit more catchy than DOTK. But, it's a quirky-ass album which takes some getting used to in order to fully comprehend its deepness. Sure, someone can listen to BCB and get "oh, hey. Speed is sampling the Standard Carpet jingle and rapping in double time over it." But it's deeper than that. BCB is my Good Kid, m.a.a.d city in some ways. It's an album which I've been perfecting over every release. It tells the story of my upbringing, serves as the culmination of my first 27 years on this Earth. It closes a chapter: The chapter of my life where Baltimore was my safe haven. With my mother's death and my further maturation due to it, Baltimore isn't the security blanket I once had. BCB is the final love letter to the city which raised me.

Not familiar with the DAR catalog? Check it out on and as well as and or you can check iTunes and Spotify for the releases. #DARBusiness



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