Treez Lowkey dropping an EP titled When It Rains on a day it was actually raining is some clairvoyant shit. But I can be clairvoyant too: Treez Lowkey is going to blow up in 2017. It ain’t like Treez Lowkey came out of nowhere. He been grinding for a minute now. And since Paper Clips, he been type nice with it. But this EP is what separates him from the rank and file Soundcloud artist and makes him a legitimate contender in the rap game. The EP is lighthearted. It’s a fun listen that will put you in a good mood. There is a levity infused in Lowkey’s sound that elevates the spirit. He sounds like a Hood Marty Mcfly. How can that not make you smile?
Of course, there are some obvious similarities to the so called “new wave” rappers like Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, and the late SpeakerKnockerz (RIP); anybody with ears can hear them. The use of autotune, the flows, and even the production style. But to the chagrin of most my homies, I don’t really like Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, or SpeakerKnockerz. I do like Treez Lowkey though. His energy is infectious, zooming through the listener like the Millennium Falcon. Lowkey tagged the EP as #SpacePop, and it fits, seeing as the project feels like something I would be listening to in 2030. He ain’t lying when he says, “Yung Nigga so futuristic.”
All I Know is a great introduction with its thumping bass, catchy flow, and upbeat tempo. Lowkey’s high-pitched voice complements his use of autotune, and along with his harmonized style he grabs the listener’s attention early. The use of quick paced synth chords deepen with the lyrics about living life in the fast lane. Lowkey raps, “Futuristic, flying car,” and his production reflects his lyrics. If I were in a futuristic, flying car; I would be bumping this song.
Favorite Bar: “You can call me a whole lot of things but a nigga ain’t broke”
The EP smoothly loops into the next song, Fade Away, with a similarly fast-paced and futuristic sound (#SpacePop). Think of synths in the style of James Pants but with the modern 808s of Trap Atlanta. Listen to the EP: you’ll understand what I’m talking about. In this song, Lowkey switches flows with ease all while talking about pulling women with extraterrestrial panache.
Favorite Bar: “My wrist so fly it make you double take / And I be looking like I’m out of space
Alicia is one of the few radio-friendly songs. The autotune is not overpowering; rather, it accentuates the song just like any other vocal effect. It’s slowed down in comparison to the previous tracks, but that doesn’t take anything away from it. Rather, it’s an important breath for the listener who might otherwise drown in the fast-paced tempos of the other songs. Produced by Durdy Costello and not Treez Lowkey himself, the interchange between the claps and the hi-hats complement Lowkey’s sing-rap delivery by allowing him to sit in the groove. Intriguingly, while the song is slower than the other ones, it candidly narrates Lowkey’s wild drug-dealing escapades.
Favorite Bar: “I got the keys like Alicia / cutting this shit like some pizza”
Cheap is another slower track. Treez Lowkey’s vocals are pushed to the back of the song, leaving more room for the beat to breathe and settle. Lowkey informs the women out there that they can’t roll with him if they’re cheap. It’s something chill when you “riding with the top down,” though not really up my alley. While the only track on the album able to be called a throwaway, in the composition of the project as a whole it has its place. Notably, this project is very well rounded. It is not too heavy with one tempo or one flow. Lowkey spreads himself around really well.
Favorite bar: “I be out in Houston with them bottles and them sippy cups”
Slide is my favorite track. This shit goes. The hi-hats hit. The horns are fierce, but the song still manages to sound futuristic. Lowkey showcases his versatile cadence and pitch here with staccato flows and deeper vocal projection. His flow sounds similar to the late SpeakerKnockerz, think Flexin & Finessin, and his lyrics explain the sway he has with his ability to have his homies “slide” on someone with as little as a phone call.
Favorite bar: “Hunnid niggas and they all down to ride”
The other track produced by Durdy Costello, Ziploc, is a certified banger. The song is about selling drugs, and it’s got that trap vibe to emphasize what the lyrics lay down. Lowkey brags about having “100 grams jumping out the ziploc” (damn, I wish). The song is good on its own, but is great within the context of the project. It is another example of the well-roundedness of this EP. Again, Lowkey introduces us to new tempos and flows and as it helps tie the EP into one cohesive listen.
Favorite bar: “I get me a drum like I play for the band”
The last song – but the first single dropped – Cobain is a great closer. In line with the rest of the project, Cobain has fast-paced lyrics and transient, space-themed but hard hitting production. The track is icey, and the catchy hook alone shows how this song got upwards of 24k plays on Soundcloud.
Favorite bar: “All white shades like cocaine, all white shades like Cobain”
Treez Lowkey is part of a new wave of rappers, many of whom find fame on Soundcloud. But, importantly, he is not just some face in the crowd following the wave. He’s at the cusp, pushing the culture, innovating on top of the groundwork of artists like SpeakerKnockerz, Rae Sremmurd, and Young Thug. But don’t take my word for it: peep When It Rains on Soundcloud now.