Chicago is in the midst of having their big moment in hip-hop. New rappers like Chief Keef and Chance The Rapper have helped shine a spotlight on the city’s aesthetically diverse scene. One of the older ones out of the bunch is Tree, whose profile has raised ever since the release of his 2012 mixtape Sunday School. The 29-year-old, from Cabrini Green housing projects, is carving his own lane with dusty soul samples coupled with a unique raspy voice. To hip-hop purists, Tree’s appeal comes from music that stimulates listeners with clever lyricism that’ll make you rewind it back. There’s no denying he has put in time and effort to create something special outside of his regional influences.
Today, his much-talked about sequel, Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out, drops today, and we wanted to find out more about the buzzing producer/rapper. Since receiving critical praise from the likes of Fake Shore Drive to SPIN and Complex, Tree has aligned himself with Creative Control to help him get more recognition in 2013. XXL caught up with Tree to find out what life was like growing up in Cabrini Green, the definition of a “Soul Trap”, and his growth found in his new project.—As told to Eric Diep (@E_Diep)