Interview with Tre Mission: Grime going global
Anybody who has been a grime fan long enough to remember Wiley’s old spoken-word dubs will recall that the name he used to address his listeners was nothing to do with grime, eski-beat or even music in general, instead he referred to his listeners as “London”.
Every genre has its roots somewhere, and it’s no secret that East London (and more specifically Bow E3) is seen as the home of grime. The geo-centric attitude of the genre remains to a lesser extent to this day, with some fans simply refusing to entertain the notion of their sound being made outside of London, but over the last few years the growth of the genre has meant that some of the most exciting new grime is now coming from artists outside of the capital, meaning grime is now much more than just a London-based genre.
As grime has begun to spread in the UK, the sound has also been picked up abroad. Grime legends Chronik and Wiley recently featured on the gold-selling album of a Polish rapper named Popek, while shows in Prague and Croatia are rapidly becoming as important to UK MCs as summertime jaunts to Ayia Napa or Malia. Last year Detroit rapper Danny Brown’s collaboration with Darq E Freaker gave us the first American grime track and there are even MCs and producers working as far away as Japan and Australia.
Canadian MC Tre Mission is one of grime’s hottest talents, having gained notoriety for his slick, stylish flow and prodigious production skills; he is seen by many as one of the stars of the New Wave. The Toronto native fuses grime’s pace and aggression with more melodic hip-hop sensibilities to craft his own transatlantic sound. “I honestly believe that when I first came into the scene I was s**t” he tells me, “I didn’t quite fully grasp all of the different ways to manipulate my patterns and rhythms around 140bpm, but I had the fundamentals”.
Despite this, one of Tre’s earliest patrons was none other than the King of Grime himself, Wiley, who included him on his Elusive Tour and featured on Tre’s single Can’t Be Controlled. Since then Tre’s improvement has been drastic, and his stock has risen accordingly, this lead to Tre featuring as a contestant on 2011’s Lord of the Mics 3 DVD, clashing scene veteran Jendor. The clash is regarded among grime fans as an exciting and technical battle between two closely-matched MCs. Tre however, remembers it as being “easy”.
“I think that the Internet played the biggest role in nurturing my love for grime,” Tre tells me, “If the genre had come out, say, 10 years before it did then it would have been a lot more difficult to get your hands on the music”. As a young genre, grime has always embraced new technology and sought to use these developments for promotional or musical gain, so this made it easy for Tre to become involved in the scene, despite the distance, “sites like Grime forum not only helped me discover producers and artists, but also gave me a way to get my music heard by people who understand the sound”.
Lyrically, Tre adopts a lot of the same slang and colloquialisms that make up the grime sociolect, although never in a forced or affected way. He claims not to have struggled with London slang because “similar to Toronto, most of the slang used among British youth is originally from Jamaica” although he does admit that some of the geographical and pop-culture references threw him at first.
Tre Mission’s latest release, the album Malmaison, dropped earlier this week on his website and, thanks to a patient but consistent build-up, was one of the most anticipated grime releases of the year so far. The slick, professional videos for album tracks Kickflip, Introdeuce and, most recently Runnup have each received thousands of views on YouTube and compliment the creative and thorough approach which Tre appears to take to his music.
Perhaps due to his early time spent as a rap artist and his work in production, Tre has no problem writing big hooks without sacrificing artistic credibility, something which even now eludes some of the best grime artists. “I’m not one of those artists that does a lot of genre hopping,” he tells me, “you’re not gonna hear me on an LMFAO type beat and then some Tyga strip club s**t on the next track,” although he is keen to stress “there are different moods and vibes on the album, it all fits together and it all sounds like me and nobody else”.
You can download Tre’s album ‘Malmaison’ for free now on tremission.comTagged in: Canada, chronik, grime, International, Tre Mission, wiley
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