After a 5 yearlong hiatus, Chicago’s father of SoulTrap returns with a trip down memory lane and homage paid to his more than humble beginnings.
Following the releases of Nothing is Something (with Vic Spencer) and We Grown Now earlier in the year, his third album in 6 months, The Wild End produced entirely by New Jersey duo Parallel Thought, will be released May 31, 2019. The title is a nod to the neighborhood Tremaine , known as Tree to music fans, used to spend his time in when he was growing up in the infamous Cabrini Green housing project, the second largest of it’s kind in Chicago at the time.
The photo on the album cover was originally taken in July 1988 by famed Chicago photographer Marc PoKempner as part of the Changing Chicago Documentary Project, the photograph had been hanging in The Art Institute of Chicago for over a decade until a search for album art led to it’s re-discovery. The project was intended to highlight the examples of normal life PoKemper encountered during his visits. At the time, housing projects were seen as little more than breeding grounds for violence and disarray. In contrary to public views, these photographs depicted families celebrating holidays, children playing and folks inside their decorated apartments. All of which challenged the stereotypes so heavily enforced by the media and outside communities. Demolition of parts of Cabrini Green started in 1995 and was officially demolished in 2011.
In the years since Cabrini Green, Tree has had successes both personally and professionally. After a lineup of odd jobs, including a 9-year stint selling women’s shoes at Nordstrom’s, he fully dedicated himself to pursuing a music career. Five more years would pass before he would release his first album at the age of 27. The time spent in between was a deep dive into Chicago’s indie hip-hop culture; it was here he developed the style we now know as SoulTrap. Taking a victory lap of sorts, Tree is able to reflect back musically on his childhood and how both the hardships and sacrifices led to current successes, and while Chicago is still experiencing her own growing pains, Tree has found his way to the other side of a life less fortunate. His greatest contribution to the windy city will be raising two young men under circumstances far from the one he once knew. In the cover photo Tree stares back at the lens with the confidence of the man he would become; his gaze is sharp, unfazed and certain of a bright future.