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Terrace Martin, Locke High 2

There are rappers. There are beat-makers. There are producers. And then there are true musicians, like Terrace Martin. A Los Angeles native who has worked with Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Talib Kweli, Murs and plenty others, Martin learned to play saxaphone at age eight and has been developing his skills and inventive sound ever since. Merging a plethora of jazzy and funky backdrops with his Cali rhymes, Martin comes through with Locke High 2, released earlier this week.

For his first project since last year’s Here, My Dear, the former Warner Bros. signee brings a well-rounded energy to his new iTunes release, creatively broaching subjects of love (“Love,” featuring Ty$), locale (“L.A. Dreamin”), riding around (“Cruz Control”), self-reflection (“Who Is Terrace Martin?”), and letting loose (“Do It Again,” featuring Wiz Khalifa and Kendrick Lamar). Through it all, Martin’s song-writing and rhyming abilities prove strong.

What truly elevates the album, though, is the array of sounds littered throughout. Martin’s musicality and production give the project a warm and welcoming vibe, feeling livelier than most hip-hop albums. Pretty horns, speckled drums and smooth strings build a jazz-funk fusion that marks the release.

With excellent melodies, stellar guest-spots and tight raps grown from the Los Angeles pavement, Terrace Martin proves with Locke High 2 that he’s a name with which hip-hop fans should get familiar. —Adam Fleischer

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