Chris Crack's earnest TreeSwag | Bleader

Chris Crack's earnest TreeSwag

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Towards the end of his brand new EP, TreeSwag, New Deal Crew rapper Chris Crack ad-libs, "You know when I'm on a Tree beat, man, I'm on good bullshit." Local "soul trap" originator Tree produced TreeSwag (hence its title), so there's a reason Crack makes an impromptu comment about Tree's intoxicating and lean instrumentals. And even though Crack is basically saying the entire EP is, well, "good bullshit" because he's working with Tree, he approaches every song with the same mix of genuine enthusiasm and earnestness he displays in the ad-lib on "Off Da Pot."

Crack's certainly got a chemistry with Tree—I imagine it's why he played hype man to Tree during last year's Pitchfork Music Festival. Crack knows how to work with Tree's idiosyncratic beats, riding the wobbly, euphoric tracks with ease while maintaining an alluring gruffness throughout the EP. He's particularly great when he cuts loose and switches the pace of his flow as he does on the aforementioned "Off Da Pot," which has a Tree instrumental that sounds like a vocal sample that's been pitch-shifted to resemble a small church choir singing to the heavens. It is, as Crack says, "good bullshit."

Leor Galil writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.

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