Los Angeles producer, songwriter and rapper Terrace Martin hasn’t released a solo project since 2011, but that doesn’t mean he’s been stagnant in regards to making music. Martin has been a frequent collaborator with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., 9th Wonder and many more in the last few years. Looking to quench the thirst of his die hard fans, Martin has now releassed his highly anticipated album 3ChordFold, a record defined by three parts: the freeloader, the renter and the buyer.
Throughout the album, Terrace uses spoken word poets to explain each of the folds in its entirety. The West Coast native doesn’t stray from that core concept throughout the record, making it a cohesive body of work and cleverly structured listening experience. While many artists overlook the importance of song sequencing, Martin pays close attention to it—and it shows. The placement of each song is essential to this album. Martin places each song in its proper place and context. With that being said, some of the tracks may be co-dependent on the one before or after them, so listening to singles off the album don’t hold as much weight as when you listen to it all together.
Martin invites a vast array of rap heavyweights to join him throughout the LP, including Wiz Khalifa, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg. Ab-soul sets the tone early in the project with the intro, breaking ground in what turns to be a album full of lyrical nourishment. The album sits at 14 tracks and Martin has collaborations on 11 of them, but none seem forced or overbearing. Martin makes sure to provide his own distinct stamp on each track while still giving the guests room to shine. Even though the tape holds many rap titans, some of the best tracks on the project are alongside Martin’s R&B co-horts. Musiq Souldchild distributes a top notch vocal performance on “Over Time.” Singer James Fauntleroy and jazz pianist Robert Glasper team up with Martin on “No Wrong No Right,” which will surely be a cult-classic for Martins’ fans.
Terrace has shown great synergy with 9th Wonder in previous work and they keep up that high standard with 3ChordFold. 9th wonder and Martin provide soulful backdrop on “Triangleship,” a playful track about the perils of trying to manage a relationship between three people. The song also boast bars from Kendrick Lamar, who delivers a powerful verse. On the other side of the age and experience spectrum, music legend Quincy Jones displays his still flawless skill set here, delivering a stand out production on “Can’t Help It.” Despite mixing so many seemingly disparate genres and sounds, Matin manages to keep a soulful and thoughtful tone throughout. Martin and his team of collaborators deliver an alluring mix of piano keys, sultry sax sounds and lively, head-knocking drums that manage to evoke the classic sounds of jazz while pointing towards the future.
With strong melodies, experimental textures and an array of stellar guest spots, 3chordfold is an often excellent album. Martin continues to showcase his ability to merge a mixture of jazz and funk backdrops with his California rhymes throughout the record. While early mixtapes like Locke High and Locke High 2 introduced the underground to Terrace Martin, 3ChordFold should open the door to many mainstream fans to a talented musician. -Christian Mordi (@mordi_thecomeup)