If anyone has heard the song “9 Elements” by KRS-ONE off his release, Kristyles; he breaks down the elements of Hip Hop. KRS-ONE makes a profound mention of kids growing up in white suburbia when he says:
“Skaters, BMX bike-riders rock
Don’t you ever stop! You are hip-hop
You doing the same things we did on our block in the suburbs
You know you be packing that black block…”
This quote serves as an ode that hip-hop is now a composite of diverse sounds and welcomes the contribution of white rappers into it. The common infusion of “Rock and Roll” has borne the emergence of “Rap-Rock“, since the inception of acts like The Fat Boys, The Beastie Boys, Kid Rock, Eminem and other similar fair-skinned contributors. It is commonly accepted that the trend started with Run DMC’s collaboration with Aerosmith back in the 1980s.
In line with the avenue and space within hip-hop based on the precedence that has been set, Tre – on his new single Break It Down – sets that tone and ROCKS OUT! Tre blends an unusual upbeat flow to a grunge beat that would rightfully belong in a mosh-pit. The single features Yinks, his affiliate at Boss Brain Entertainment, who has just released his third single Mushin To LA and was our first interview feature.
Born Brandon Adam Harrison, Tre is originally from Cape Town and moved to Pretoria at ten years of age. He had a tough time growing up and adjusting to the social aspect of school life. In the same vein as the aforementioned and his favourite rapper Eminem, Tre turned to music and rap as his emotional outlet. Tre has released three mixtapes: Up and Coming in late 2012, Return of Tre in 2013 and Tre Day on the 5th of April 2014.
In this interview we Tre gives us more insight into his psyche and where he’s at musically.
Lavatory Records: For those who don’t know you, who is “Tre” and how did you get your name?
Tre: Who is Tre? Tre is just a guy trying to spread his personal message through to his fans. I do this sometimes through anger, sadness and even being comical and crazy in my music. Well on how I got the name Tre… While growing up I was constantly picked on and bullied, I was treated like everyone’s doormat and tray. Once I got out of school, I wanted to change who I was, so I thought, ok if people want to use me as a tray… I’ll give them a “Tre”.
LR: Tell us all about your musical history and journey thus far?
Tre: Well I started as an underground artist, speaking about problems and showing a very violent outlook towards how I see things. In my own personal way, I used all my bottled up anger and portrayed it within my music until I met my mentor, Ray Mupats. He took me out of doing the violent-oriented music and helped me to start using my rapping for more commercial use. He started teaching me how to make people appreciate the music that I make. I’ve been in the industry for 6 years, and got signed to HMI in 2014. I’ve had a couple songs on radio, and a few articles published about me in some online magazines. I’ve done a couple of shows, including being an opening act for Casper Nyovest at Blueroom in Hatfield.
LR: Which artists/ producers do you all listen to or influence your music?
Tre: I’m a fan of all music basically, but my biggest influences are definitely Eminem and Hopsin, which people can hear when they listen to my music.
LR: Where do you see the direction of the music industry going, especially with the internet changing the dynamics within the game?
Tre: Right now the music industry has changed and it has become a lot easier for us musicians. The internet has allowed us to have so much exposure. You can develop your brand so much quicker, and get your music out in the open to so many people, with just a couple clicks of a button.
LR: How did you hook up with Yinks and BossBrain Entertainment?
Tre: I met Yinks while I was with Ray at a radio podcast show. Yinks was being interviewed and Ray got Yinks to listen to one of my tracks. He liked the track, and we have since worked on a couple tracks together, like “Egyptian Codes” “The Don’s Prayer” and he also features on my latest track “Break It Down“.
LR: Which other artists or producers have you worked with or shared a stage with?
Tre: I’ve worked with artists, such as Morris Blacks, Ray Mupats, and DJ Macco.
LR: What has your general experience of the South African music industry been like?
Tre: It’s been tough in this industry… I mean it’s tough for any up-and-coming artist in the industry. Making a name and developing a strong brand for yourself is hard to do, let alone getting people to like and listen to you. Despite all the struggle and sleepless nights, I really don’t see myself doing anything else. Music is my passion and I just love doing it.
LR: Lavatory Records is a “solutions” for artists’ organisation and not a traditional “record label”. Do you think there’s potential for such a business to thrive in the current music economy, particularity in regards to management solutions and revenue streaming for artists?
Tre: I really do think there’s potential, because everyone needs some good management and exposure from companies like this, and not all artists can make the right or even the revelent move for themselves in the way of management of their own music and brand.
LR: What do you do outside of music, and in terms of your personal life?
Tre: Outside of music you ask? Haha music for me is a 24-hour job. I’m constantly working on something pertaining to my career. In my personal life I guess it’s the same as everyone my age you know, jam video games when I get a chance to, take some time off to go visit my girl, you know the usual day-to-day stuff. I mostly like to stay indoors though; my career has me going places constantly, so I just enjoy staying at home and relaxing.
LR: What future projects or events should we look out for from you?
Tre: Right now my new single Break It Down has been released, so I’m busy pushing that. I’m currently working on an album, but I’m not gonna say too much on that as of yet. I’m constantly doing shows with my HMI team, so you can check us out on facebook for when we doing our next show. And you guys can also check me out on facebook at Tre Untld to stay updated with what I’m going to do next.
LR: Any special mentions you want to shout out?
Tre: I, right now have to give a shout out to Yinks and Ray for actually taking a chance with me, and helping me out with my career, and getting me to the point where I am.
We would like to thanks Tre for taking time out and speaking with us. Download his latest single Break It Down. To keep up with him follow him on Twitter: @TreUnlimited, his personal Facebook, the HMI Facebook Page and the Boss Brain Entertainment Facebook Page.