Review: Harrogate has a rapper - and he’s good!


Tre: Back 2 Music (album)

On his debut mixtape album, Tre is as nimble and surefooted as Muhammed Ali in his heyday in the ring.

His deep, authoritative voice skips over streams of lyrics, dancing on his toes vocally in that rolling fashion patented by the great American rappers who seem to inspire him: Ice Cube, Jay Z, Kanye West.

Like all of the above, Tre’s loops and samples are melodic and chilled but the beats are hard - which is what gives this impressive album its bite.

Though not quite as skeletal as, say, Genius/GZA on Liquid Swords, Tre’s sounds are never cluttered – the tunes and the words are free to roam.

Despite the American twang and the easy swing of his delivery, there’s a gruff, urban English tone to his vocals, too.

The lyrics are pithy but intelligent, a work of reflection as well as emotion. The word “plethora” even turns up at one point.

What also impresses is that Tre is his own man and he is telling clearly his story his way - soulful and sophisticated, no sexist stuff, no gangsta rap cliches, no swearing.

It’s true that Back 2 Music contains nothing startlingly original but it’s a serious album and seriously good, too.

There isn’t a bad moment, never mind a bad track. My favourite listens right now are Runaway Game, two outstanding duets; Higher Love featuring Soul Deep and 2 Lovers featuring Samantha Smith, and the title track itself.

Tomorrow it could be four different tracks, that’s how good Back 2 Music is.

Oh, did I mention that Tre is from Harrogate? Yes, Harrogate has a rapper – and what a rapper.