Tree releases his tape “TREE FT. THE CITY”, a collection of his work with a variety of Chicago artists. The name is appropriate, considering that each and every track is produced by the chocked-voice emcee himself, giving him a more genuine claim to his sound than an exclusively lyrical artist would (he truly is ‘featuring’ these artists’). The common thread of the tape lays in each featured artist’s ability to tell their version of Chicago life. Tree features Bobby Rocwel, Tone skeeta, BLANCO CAINE, Chance The Rapper, Young giftz, Cris Crack (of NDC), Fat Boi aka Big Wiz, #SAVEMONEY, Jig Dolla, seven, vic spencer, Rashid Hadee, YK, Ando Ruckus, Naledge, paypa (of project Mayhem), AGACEE, Mick Luter, MIKE WILL THE GREAT, RESIDUE REED, Project Mayhem (ish, lennon), and Ben Official on his tape.
That right there is a list. To be honest, I’ve heard of maybe two or three of these artists, so if Tree wanted to expose them, he certainly achieved his end. From the title, to the features, to the subject-matter, this tape has clear direction. Most tapes are held together, at best, by cover art these days. They tend to be no more than a collection of scraps put together to promote an individual artist.
But not this one. Tree puts on for Chicago, and he makes this tape speak as an example of how many voices his city has. This seems like an answer to drill music, a sub genre perfected by GBE and producers like Young Chop. Not to say that Tree has anything against the GBE click (I don’t know if he does or doesn’t), but it is to say that Tree’s work shows us the depth of music coming from Chicago. I’m always impressed when a lyrical artist knows their way around a production studio, and in Tree’s case, his agility in the studio sets a “Tree-specific” sound. Tree’s hoarse voice and strained vocal chords are carried by drum and sample-heavy beats. I uploaded an example below, along with a link to the entire tape just beneath that. Tree breathes fresh air into the art by having total control of his work, using it to carve out his city’s geography as he sees it. Tree is not buying into an idea; his experiences inform his art, not the other way around.
FORMERLY KNOWN AS : FRANKLIN WEATHERFIELD AKA DENZEL SPLASHINGTON AKA PATOIS VUITTON AKA CHUCKDEGAULLE