True and Apollo have always been two of the hardest-working artists I’ve seen, friends and otherwise. Their latest HS project is, quite possibly, their best. Yes, to me, it was better than their first effort. That’s saying a lot, since that one warranted them coverage by the Washington City Paper in a piece that had the Freddie Gray protests as a backdrop. The Highest Standard comes in at a bit over 50 minutes, their longest HS album since 2017’s It Will Come to Us. Through those 50-plus minutes, True and Apollo create a great bookend to this portion of the HS era while also setting up for Black Fatherhood and Elite Vol. 3.
The project features Elite members, but the focal point is the dynamic between True and Apollo. Friends and brothers for over twenty years, the way they get on a track and figure out the missing pieces together is a thing of beauty. I’ve had the chance to be in the studio with the duo when they recorded Upper Echelon. The growth and puzzle-solving they’ve exhibited between then and now is mind-blowing. True often says that DAR is legendary. Brothers or otherwise, I’d be hard-pressed to name ten duos who’ve kept my attention longer and as often as HS.
For longer than DAR has been a proper collective, True and Apollo have created dope music. Highest Standard is the pinnacle of over 20 years’ worth of knowledge and collaboration. What makes it good, besides the dynamic? Simply put, the bars are on point, cutting through the soundscape created by each beat. Mixing sharp lyricism with the occasional melodic sphere (pun intended), we get a project that spans the careers of each artist while still looking towards the future. Whether or not that future involves music as heavily as the present, HS’s upcoming trajectory is bright. If you’re a fan of either artist–or a newcomer to the Elite way of things–this is a good starting point to delve into the Elite discography (or reintroduce yourself to the team). Check it out above and please remember to support dope music in all its forms. I don’t talk about music just to hear myself talk or to just hype up my cohort.
True and Apollo’s latest collaborative effort is a good starting point–and a great bookend to this era of HS music.