What Would Julian Rafael Hassan Roden Do?


The Definitive "Trap Genius" LP Review [@MCTREEG]

   I’d like to begin this review with a spotlight on recent light being shed on the secret “warehouses” young (black) Chicagoans are being unlawfully taken to, essentially kidnapped and tortured with no accountability from big brother. The gentrification of Chicago due to extreme profiling of any black youth alongside the destruction of the Chicago Public School system has created a very dangerous stomping grounds for those who are most affected by these degradations, the youthful black male (please don’t have dreadlocks and dark skin). Thus the birth of Drill (Murderous) music occurred in the late 2000’s going strongly into the 2010’s with the rise of everyone’s favorite that’s about that life (not to be mentioned on my website like Voldemort). The voice of the Chicago streets was now on display to the world after a certain outspoken superstar hopped on a remix. This is not Drill music though. This is Trap music. You wanna know what Trap is? Well, let’s divulge shall we?

   Trap music is the soundtrack to the dope houses where the black market flourishes. Trap music is what you play when you outchea grindin’ tryna make some money to feed your little ones the only way you can. Trap music is when you wanna turn up mindlessly and wild the fuck out not caring about the outcome of the night’s activities. Tree is THE Trap Genius.

   You know we (and be we I mean us Niggas) are all out here with the same goal. And that’s feeding our loved ones that have been starved. No one understands this better than Tree. His very being embodies the struggle to break through and flourish in this world that only wants to see our visible ribs. When I turn on Trap Genius I get instantly motivated to continue this fight as a black entertainer to please white audiences just so I can put some food on the table, because us black people can’t support each other properly due to lack of resources. The content of the album is very descriptive of the lack of voice we have and paints a very vivid portrait of life on the streets in the city of Chicago. Chicago is what I refer to as the pimple on the face of America. And this bitch is about to pop. Thank you Tree.

  Obviously displaying he was the hardest working rapper in the city after countless singles and almost a half dozen joint EPs in the year of 2014, Tree finally blesses the streets with his magnificent solo return. I was clamoring to know the final outcome of the cover Art (as I was trying to make it) and the honors went to the brilliant Kyle Bryant. The gritty Go is captured in the most accurate light by the Artist and I’m not so sure I could’ve done such detailed illustrative work. Tree knows best and I love it.

   After following him so closely and reviewing the vast majority of his discography I can tell you this is some of, if not his best work. I knew he had something special with this project one night in June after he had a guest spot during Chris Crack’s set that opened for Juvenile. The show was over and he was driving us to this after party when he said, “I wanna show y’all this track from my next album”. “Don’t E’en Kare” starts blaring out of the speakers and me, Tmthy Trtl and Chris Crack immediately start bobbin’. This was literally some of the most epic production I had ever heard and shared his enthusiasm he had in sharing it with us. The track stayed on repeat ‘til we got to the spot and no one dared asked to skip the track, only asking to spin that shit back. This is the magic of Tree. We were addicted and probably the most impatient to hear the project in whole.

Fast forward a few months to November 5th. I’m tripping Acid with my boy Neal and when shit gets too authentic, I’m like “We gotta go to the Terrace bro” (The Terrace is what we call The New Deal Crew headquarters). To little knowledge of my wacked out ass I stumbled upon Tree and Crack putting the final touches on “Hunneds And Fiffties” in Cutta’s in house studio. Tree was doing Tree like things (smoking and drinking) and I’m sitting there in pure euphoria like, “My Nigga, do you know what you just created?!” I was in disbelief someone could make a real song in this fucked up day & age and I have the privilege of knowing these amazing fuckers. They were glowing. Cutta started cooking once the track was bouncing out in celebration of this immaculate feat. The vibes were real man. I was looking at Neal like “You better soak this shit up boa”.

   Now let’s talk about the breakdowns, sampling, production, transitions and wordplay: all GENIUS. No one has the appeal and well roundedness of Brother Tree. He’s Ryu in Streetfighter. Few in competition can touch his status at this very moment and they’d be lying if they claimed they were. You can only imagine how much work it took to make a project of this quality while juggling/surviving real life out here in Chicago. A lesser man could not hold on to the dream of being a rap star in this climate considering Tree’s seasoned age and this being a young man’s game.

   Then came the roll out of the singles. First dropping “Don’t E’en Kare” alongside the "Trap Genius Documentary" shot by APJ Films. He later added a sample from the documentary to the beginning of the track for the Album. A very appropriate sample, if I do say so myself. Next was “Look At Me Now” which Tree got premiered by Entertainment Weekly and had been interviewed about his place in the grand scheme of Hip Hop. Followed by visuals of “Look At Me Now” shot by the producer of the track The Dutchmaster. Which was then followed by visuals for “Don’t E’en Kare” that he got shot in Paris by B.A.N.G. during his tour of Europe last year. Again let me reiterate how hard this man has been working; he has been working extremely hard.

  Tree started 2015 with a motherfucking boom. I know unless he encounters death he will continue climbing towards the recognition and respect he so honestly deserves. Just know that I know and the future generations will know that you were the true representative voice of the oppressed streets of Chicago and have made an impact like no other. All of that in conjunction with his pure soul, kind ways, and charismatic nature makes Tree THE Trap Genius. What’s next for Tree after such a triumph? Look forward to the future as he conquers yet another joint EP with Vic Spencer aptly titled “VicTree”. The VicTree he so righteously deserves.

Julian Roden