Playboy Tre

posted May 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM CDT | 9 comments

If patience is a virtue than Playboy Tre must be a saint. The A-Town representer has spent much of the past decade behind the scenes in hometown hip hop community, running with the Attic Crew (Jim Crow, Youngbloodz), appearing on So So Def Bass compilations and dropping the independent album Georgia Durt alongside one time Lil Jon signee Bohagon. At last he seems primed to step into the limelight as a solo artist, thanks in part to a pair of thinking man’s/drunken man’s southern rap mixtapes.  With all original beats, fully fleshed out concepts and unbridled introspection, last year’s Goodbye America and the just released Liquor Store Mascot are stronger than most artist’s actual albums. The former is an ex-patriotic declaration and the latter a weirdly uplifting exploration of alcoholism. Both serious-as-cancer topics, tempered by a strong dose of self deprecating rap humor in the vein of Devin The Dude. And if that wasn’t enough, Tre has been making strides in another behind the scenes side hustle: penning hooks with frequent collaborator and buzzed about Grand Hustle signee B.o.B. (nka Bobby Ray).  Most notably the pair laced T.I. and John Legend with the chorus for “Slide Show.”

Influences: Slick Rick
, Goodie Mob [click to read], Ice Cube [click to read].

Birth Of An Emcee: "The first influence of mine, I had a best friend I grew up down the street from his name was Aday and when we were kids, even though we were young, he was one of the top dudes known [for battling]. This is when battling was still prominent and people would respect you off of battling. He would just tear your ass apart, really just get on the microphone and just give it to older cats or in little ciphers. So just seeing him rap inspired me to start rapping. So I kinda started off following in his footsteps a little bit, just some neighborhood rapping but I didn't really take it seriously until I was getting a little older and I was getting in so much bullshit as far as school and my life was going in kind of a fucked up little direction, and, to be honest, deciding to get into music gave me a focus at a time when I needed to find any kind of focus."

What’s In A Name?: "Everybody called me Playboy Tre since I was young. When I first started out rapping, my raps were more female based. I would have songs talking about females, whether it'd be in a good way or a bad way. But I remember hearing a song back in the day, Scarface's [click to read] "Never Seen A Man Cry," and that changed my whole focus on what I wanted to rap about. The way I felt off that song, I want other people to feel off my music, so I switched up and started writing more personal songs and writing things to make people think."

Not A Mixtape: "I try to put [my mixtapes] together to where they're pretty much almost albums. I don't have a major situation as of yet, and with the climate of the business and the stage where I'm at I don't even know if that's what I'm looking for. I'm looking to build a strong foundation, a fanbase and be able to tour and be able to get my music around to my fans. It's so many people who jump right out there and might have a big single that sells 20-30,000 records and next thing the record label don't even give a shit about [them] no more."

Hook, Line & Sinker: "[The chorus writing] really dates back to when I was part of the Attic Crew and I did some hooks on the Youngbloodz' [click to read] Drankin Patnaz album [click to read] and some other little stuff here and there, nothing that really got big time. But me and B.o.B. [click to read] sat down and wrote a hook called "Slide Show," probably last February, just during a writing session. Eventually our manager, B Rich, shopped it to T.I. [click to read] and Grand Hustle and man, it was amazing when they called me and told me John Legend sang the hook.  So we did a couple other hooks. We did something for Willy Northpole, which is actually his first single, a song called "Hood Dreamer.” I got a couple more out there that people have recorded but until some money has been paid up I don't want to put it out there because I don't want to jinx it. But yeah, we're in a position now where people are actually coming to us for hooks.  Actually that's probably why I used so many songs with samples [for hooks] on Liquor Store Mascot, because I've been saving hooks that I write to sell."

Crew Love: "The Ham Squad. That's me, Bobby Ray, our manager B Rich, TJ's DJ's Thomas Chapman, a group called Born Wit It, another guy named Moss B, he's on Liquor Store Mascot, we've got Homebwoi, who was signed to Collipark Records, a cat named Kaos, and DJ Swatts who is pretty much our resident deejay. It really just started off as a joke because I've always called a nice looking behind on a woman some hams. I would say, 'I'm gonna stretch some young ladies hamstrings out.' Then we started calling ourselves the Ham Squad as an inside joke. But over time we just made it official, made it a family thing. It's just another way to brand what we're doing and put a stamp on it. We got a Ham Squad project coming."

On Honesty: "I think people are afraid to be themselves, thinking that people won't fuck with them if they just average. You'll be surprised how many people say shit like, 'I gotta look like a rapper.' It ain't about that. Shit, I'm me, and if you gonna fuck with me you gonna fuck with Playboy Tre outside of all that. If people fuck with the person and the music, they you gonna like you way better than you just being a rapper."

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