In today’s hurry up, post, and go lifestyle of SoundCloud musicians and Instagram models, it’s hard to tell who’s around to stay and who’s just here for the moment. Rappers seem to pop up out of the woodwork for a moment and then disappear just as quickly. While getting one solid banger out is all good and well, we can’t help but feel a need to have some consistency in an artist and their work.
This is where up-and-coming artist, Treez (Alexander Lindsey) comes in. The 28-year-old rapper from Salinas, CA is making his way onto the scene on his own terms. Coming in just shy of under 20K views on YouTube, we’re sure he’s the next guy. We sat down with Treez for our first ever artist interview in Hollywood, CA.
Treez – The Artist Interview
On personal life…
ML: So, where did you grow up?
T: I grew up in Northern CA, well actually, the Central Coast – a small city called Salinas. I was born in Monterey though. Moved to Salinas when I was about 4 and was there ever since.
ML: Dope, what brought you to LA?
T: I always wanted to do music so I knew thats where I needed to go. I have family in radio and she was like, “you either need to go to LA or Atlanta, you need to pick one and go out there and flourish. Take your talents out there.”
ML: What you got you into music in the first place?
T: My mom and my brothers would always play whatever was hot at the moment. So as a kid, I was like damn, thats dope so I would sing along. And since then I feel like it’s been a domino effect.
ML: At that point, when did you decide to take music seriously? Like, as in this is something you wanted to pursue as a career?
T: Sophomore year of high school. Thats when I was really putting out demos with my cousin. We were actually a group. He’d come over on weekends and record in my garage, knock out, however many songs, and then burn it on tape or CDs and then go to school and pass those shits out. And if anyone didn’t have a Walkman, I’d pull mine out so they could listen. Like, tell me what you think?
T: MICHAEL JACKSON. He just made great music. Tupac, of course. But yeah, Michael Jackson. His work ethic was crazy, and he would just put out hits. Like, there wasn’t a song I didn’t like of his.
ML: Non-musical influences?
T: My cousins. They were really the ones to put me onto this rap shit from an early age. I just felt like they were putting together bars of substance.
ML: Life Mantras?
T: Two words: Be Great. That applies to anything in life. No matter how much I don’t want to do something or feel like I don’t necessarily want to be somewhere, I’m like no, you just gotta be great.
On the music industry…
DS: What do you think of the boundaries that are being pushed in the hip-hop right now? Like Lil Uzi in introducing this new sound that sounds a little bit, “pop-ishh” or “rock-ishh.”
T: You know what, at first, I didn’t understand it. But everything is not for everybody. And clearly, he’s doing something right. There’s a sound that people fuck with. Whatever it is, by all means, make it happen.
DS: Classic albums are a hot take right now, so what are three classic albums (any genre) to you?
T: “Thriller,” Michael Jackson. “All Eyes on Me,” Tupac. Jay Z – all of ’em. “Channel Orange,” – Frank Ocean. Sorry, I think I named four of them…
DS: If you had one person, you’d want to mentor you, artist or executive, who would it be?
T: Ooh. I think I could pull a lot in from Hov. Jay-Z is what a lot of artists aspire to be on everything. He’s running everything. I could learn a lot from him. Also, Jimmy Iovine.
ML: What do you think of the current state of hip-hop and what do you hope to contribute to it?
T: I think everyone’s just doing their own thing. The platform is huge now and sometimes it’s hard to classify certain things as hip-hop. And I’m planning on contributing myself. You just have to be yourself this day and age. You put out the music you want to put out and thats it.
ML: What do you want your listeners to get out of your music?
T: Whatever they can resonate with the most. Basically, I’m telling my story and if you can resonate with it, then that’s dope. And if you can’t, that’s ok too.
ML: In what ways has your music evolved throughout since your first started to now?
T: Just a little bit more comfortable in stepping out of my comfort zone. I think thats like a…damn, I was going to say major key (shoutout to DJ Khaled), but yeah that’s a major key to it. You gotta step out of your boundaries and really capture yourself. When you put your whole self into something, then that’s it.
ML: Do you have a song writing process?
T: As of late, it’s been spontaneous. It’s always been kind of like that, but now, I just kind of go based off however I’m feeling. So if I want to find a cool beat first, I’ll go through some beats and maybe hum a melody to that before I write.
ML: How do you separate yourself from other artists?
T: I feel like my story is different. I’m working on a couple projects right now that will explain that more, but now that I’m getting older, I feel like I can talk about that. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything. Just trying to put out stuff that’s catchy, but with substance.
ML: Dream collabs?
T: Jay-Z. Jadakiss. DMX. Frank Ocean. Eminem (the old Eminem).
ML: Finally, when can we expect the completed next project?
T: I’m shooting for something in the Fall. My birthday is Nov. 25, so I’m shooting for something around then.