#Interview: Chicago Rapper, Tree Speaks on Originality in Hip- Hop

I knew I could rap, before I ever rapped. I just knew I could do it.

Rapping since he was about fifteen years old, Tree (nicknamed by his grandfather), does not appear to be stopping anytime soon. Recently, gaining momentum all over the blogosphere for the self- produced, genre of music, he calls Soul Trap (soul music over drum kicks), Tree’s lyrical transparency is a major key to industry longevity that is absent from many hip- hop artists.

Influenced early by hip-hop, Tree was encouraged at the beginning stages of his musical journey to invest in his own studio. Before grabbing a pen to create his own lyrics, Tree would create mixtapes of his favorite artists, which eventually motivated him to do his own music.

Holding back nothing, Tree, let it be known, music is all he does. He even acknowledged my curiosity of how he financially supports himself with no label backing right now. Tree explained,  at one point he worked in corporate America, receiving a pretty decent salary, but he soon realized, he could make millions doing what he loved- creating music.

Check out the interview.

What message are you trying to convey through your music.
I’m a Chicago n***a. I don’t have a gimmick. I don’t shoot people. I don’t smoke a million blunts. I just make music that sounds good. I speak to the soul of most black guys that live in urban cities. I speak to the trials and tribulations, and they rock with it.

When you see your face and name in different publications, what does that mean to you.
When it started happening, a couple months back. I knew this was the start of that gold road. The reality is, a publication is a publication. It makes you famous. It doesn’t make you any richer. Some people never make the front page, unless they shoot somebody.

What lessons have you learned from being in the game for 12-13 years.
The one thing that I live by and that I preach, is never change. I also learned that people come and go in this game. When I first [began] making music, people who were popular, aren’t popular anymore.

The key to longevity in the hip- hop industry.
Be original. I don’t think it’s so much reinventing yourself.

Separation between Chicago artists.
This is what I have experienced…and this from someone who is in the know right now. Cats that get signed, they go up an echelon. where they are in a more secretive society. They aren’t fully accepted by the industry yet, but they have their own cult. It’s understandable- an elevation of life, society and class. I try my best to reach out and stay grounded- stay reachable. No dissing nobody else, but there is a separation in Chicago period. It doesn’t stop at the music. It’s a separation for what side of the city you’re on. That’s the nature of Chicago. Just because we all do music, doesn’t mean we’re all going to get along.

Be on the look out November 1st, for Tree’s newest release, Project Trilla, featuring collabs with Shawnna & Diddy.


Interviewed by Jonnita Condra


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