Multi-talented rapper/acclaimed chef Chef Porter has been on our radar for a minute and after releasing a slew of singles, he now returns with his full-length project titled de zéro (which means From Scratch). The 16-track body of work explains a wide range of subject matter that deals with family, loyalty, love, faith, work ethic and the daily struggles that we all can relate to. The production of the project was handled by Grammy-nominated producer Mark Byrd and industry veteran CLCII and Chef Porter himself.
The project kicks off with “Mise en place”, made up of a solemn piano-driven backdrop with Chef Porter’s mother narrating his upbringing and how he got interested in the culinary arts. It is quite heartwarming and revealing as well. This is followed by “Walk the line”, an anthemic tune that captures Chef Porter’s confidence and go-getter mindset. Here, he embodies the spirit of a man on a mission and ready to live up to his purpose on Earth. This notion is solidified on the hook when he kicks the following bars “I pray to God and I manifest/ This is what you look like when you ain’t stressed/If you ain’t no nigga faith is my finesse”. Next up is “@ Your Service”, a lyrical gourmet aimed to please listeners and garnish us with the perfect blend of stylish raps filled with colourful soundscapes. The track is a solid blend of his culinary and rap skills. “Suite Life” is a reflective and insightful record that talks about keeping the people who root for you and show them appreciation. Over the anthemic soundscape, Chef Porter gives listeners a glimpse into his journey thus far and the many events that shaped him and the people who stood by his side. He is joined by vocalist Will Jordan who peppers the track with a smooth melodic chorus.
Next up is “Perfect Pictures”, a soulful tune that explores his experiences in this game of life. Lines like“Total recall, I see-saw through this life with a mic/Then I picked up a knife and decided to fight/Sending prayers up above to see that I do it right” showcase his thought process and grounded spirit. Chef teams up with vocalist J. Isaac on “H.O.M.E (Here On My Everything)”, a heartwarming love track produced by Chef himself. The track explores true love in the general sense and how self-growth has changed his palette and now he yearns for inner peace. On “Calistoga”, a track built on a cinematic orchestral arrangement made up of brass stabs, moody synths, choral vocals and thick punchy drums all underpinned by Chef Porter’s fiery flow. Here, he redefines what it means to hustle and shows us why he is always on the grind. Overall, this track is perfect for one’s early exercise regimen and also for the right inspirational juice to get us back on track. “2424 White Plains Road” sees Chef Porter in a celebratory mood, the track was released as a single in for National Roller Skating Month. The track has a rich texture and a smooth blend of retro R&B and hip-hop and sees Chef paying homage to the past time of roller skating with a focus on the famed Skate Key Roller rink in his hometown in The Bronx NY.
On the soulful “Much Obliged”, Chef recruits vocalist MaShanda for a reflective track that takes listeners back to Chef’s humble start and the many experiences that shaped his core being. The final tracks “Gratitude” and “Thank You” help close the project in an appreciative mood as Chef Porter pays respect to God and his tight-knit family who helped him grow into the man that he is. “Gratitude” is purely a spoken word track performed by Zane Robinson where he gives thanks for small mercies. “Thank You” once again brings back Chef Porter’s mum who talks about his grandmother and how her resilience and faith were instilled in the family. Chef Porter continues the track with a tale that dives into his family and serves as an open letter to his maternal grandmother and father-in-law. In summary, both tracks help seal Chef’s exemplary figure as a man of integrity and faith and also a prime example of a true hardworking man who is well-grounded. Other notable tracks include the gritty “Bronx River Pkwy”, motivational “Solely Matrimony” and the reflective “Flambè”.
Overall, de zéro sounds like a semi-autobiography as if offers a deep glimpse into Chef Porter’s life. We get to see things from his viewpoint, from his upbringing, and childhood to his struggles and successes in one breath.