Chicago MC Tree is fast becoming a shining figure in the Windy City’s hip-hop scene. Blessed with an endearingly guttural bark of a voice, he writes soulful and heartfelt raps, the latest being a remix of “Damn Near” that also features former Cash Money Records signing Mikkey Halsted. Over a string-laden production from Tony Baines, Tree says he wanted to contrast the trials of “the impending truth that Chicago is saturated with label A&Rs and scouts” with “the ills of everyday life in Chicago, including gang life living in the Cabini-Green projects.” He caps his verse with a spoken anecdote about meeting Future in an Atlanta nightclub and notes how two years later he’s starring alongside him in one of Hive’s best mixtapes of 2012 list.
For his part, Mikkey Halsted drops a rap that, Tree says, involves him “speaking truth about different sets in Chicago that split apart over small bickering” while also questioning a situation where “in this wave of label interest in our region the few great MCs have been overshadowed by label interest in younger more abrasive brands such as Chief Keef.” With songs like “Damn Near,” not to mention Tree’s latest five-track free EP The Lit, it hopefully won’t be long before that balance is redressed.
Stream “Damn Near” remix below: