On "All Dat," which opens I.B. Tree
, MC Tree
's new collaborative EP with beat maker IBCLASSIC, the Chicago rapper acknowledges the effect of Chicago's gun violence on his work with solemn clarity: "I wrote way too many new verses / I can't remember, yet I remember the hearses." Tree is only in his early 30s, but he's always sounded ages older than he is—his expressive, scuffed vocals and world-weary perspective can give his lyrics tremendous weight and drama.
"All Dat" rides on a minimal piano loop and wafting guitar melody. Those two lines accomplish much of what Tree is trying to do with the song as a whole: he brings you into his creative process, so that you can almost see the pages and pages of scribbled lyrics he's never used, and he sheds light on how people carry on when they're surrounded by death. Half of Chicago is exposed to the city's epidemic of homicides only through statistics, but with one quick punch to the gut, Tree evokes the psychological toll those shootings take on the people who have to live with them.