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


Fresh Fish: Cheeks – The Wiz

14 12 2010

Charles Cheeks, of Ann Arbor’s Tree City, released this new single yesterday off his upcoming debut solo project, The Potential EP.  With such a creative title, one may be surprised to find out that the featured sample is in fact from Michael Jackson’s The Wiz, one of Motown’s greatest films.  But all sarcasm aside, this track is pretty damn hot.  Cheeks, like the rest of Tree City, has always shown a heightened propensity for lyrical dexterity, and “The Wiz” follows nicely in suit.  The synths, samples and breaks bring a crisp, fresh, uplifting feeling to the beat, kicking it up to the next level.  What’s the theory of freshness?  Welcome to The Wiz.

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