Fresh Fish: Tree City – Definement

21 01 2011

One of the biggest current Hip Hop crews in Ann Arbor, Tree City just dropped their new track, “Definement” last weekend: A chilled cocktail of organic, atmospheric beats served up by Melbourne, Australia’s own ARKiV, with some very smart, contemplative lyrics from the Tree City crew about the hustle of life and how they see it.  Their first release of 2011 and their first song recorded in Clavius Crates’s new studio, “Definement” is a great start to a new year for this up-and-coming group, a strong display of musical creativity and intellectual cunning.


Bandcamp page


The Squeezebox: Cheeks – The Potential EP

19 01 2011

Southeast Michigan Hip Hop just keeps the reppin strong with the latest from Tree City‘s Cheeks, the smiley third of the Ann Arbor-based team.  After killin it on Black Trees and Thus Far with the rest of Tree City, Cheeks drops The Potential, featuring some hot production by various Ann Arbor-area friends, including L05 of Celcius Electronics, Mason’s Motif and Man In Charge.  “The Wiz,” The Potential‘s hottest single, brings in a sample from MJ’s perennial Wizard of Oz remake and mixes it with some great vocalizations from K-mass and Dominick from Breathe Easy Music.  The result is priceless: an uplifting anthemic crowd-mover that’ll have all the kids bopping their heads.

Like the album’s title, all the tracks on this release really show Cheeks’ lyrical and creative potential.  Embedded rhymes, clever meter change-ups, intelligent and contemplative lyrics, all of it portrays Cheeks’ prowess.  In The Potential, Cheeks gives off an aura of solid, if slightly narcissistic confidence and pride for his home and his people.  But the best part about it is that it doesn’t feel aggressive or ostracizing; you don’t have to be a poor black guy from the ghetto to appreciate Cheeks’s music.  You just gotta appreciate good Hip Hop.  Is that you?

A great start for yet another great emcee from SE Michigan.  Looking forward to more.  91/100 A-


Cop The Potential here

Cheeks – The WIZ feat. K-mass and Dominick from Breathe Easy Music

Squeezebox: FowL – Live From the D

12 01 2011

Raise your hand if you think freestyling is cool.  Okay, now put your hand down if Eminem has NOT announced to the world that you are the best freestyler in the nation.  Only one man’s hand should be raised, and that man is 18-year-old Detroit native, FowL.  FowL killed it in the “Red Bull EmSee: The Road to 8 Mile National Championship” contest last summer, and just last week he dropped his debut mixtape, Live From the D.

Hokey name?  Possibly.  But FowL is proud of his hometown and not afraid to show it.  Detroit shines bright on Live, thanks mainly to FowL’s lyrical prowess.  The beats are tight, including one courtesy of underground demigod Madlib, but this is above all a showcase of FowL’s talent, and he rolls over these tracks like a combine through a wheat field, thrashing and shredding it up on the mic, leaving all the rest of those freestylers in the dust.

Tight, gritty and raw, Live From the D is a great introduction to a fresh new artist on the verge of grand stardom.  8.7/10

Download Live From the D Here

The Ambassador Bridge (prod. Black Milk)

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