The growth of a hip hop artist takes time. There can be a phase where he is starting out and trying to feel out the basics of how this industry works. There will be mistakes, miscommunication, and mishaps along the way, but as an artist grows and learns, he will become more aware of the business side of things. It is a true statement that it’s only 10% about the talent and 90% of the business. And from watching from the sidelines since 2013, Trel Mack, the rising star out of Philly, has made his mark.
With the latest release of his EP, Night Before The Dawn, Trel Mack’s lyrical standpoint has grown and his storytelling has expanded due to his personal experiences evolving into the artist that we see him as today. His opening track, “The 4ever Team” (ft. Q the Question) is an ode to SKE Records, a record label that he and co-founder Q the Question established. The journey that these guys have been on, is remarkable from the start. The song is an epitome of when hard work finally pays off.
“Walking With God” is one of the track off the EP, that highlights Trel’s personality and how he is now. “I’m on my shit, what the f*ck you wasting my time for/ Cause I got that hot shit that you can’t ignore.” And no it’s not arrogance or a boasting, but Trel is in a place now where he can be confident and talk his stuff, because he can back it up.
Thereafter, “Hot Pursuit” is next and changes up the mood a little bit–in a good way of course. “Hot Pursuit” is an anthem for those who are trying to overcome obstacles and struggles. Trel tells his story and listeners can begin to appreciate where he started from. Whereas with “All I Need,” Trel let’s it be known that he is far from materialistic and being a man, he realizes that all he needs is “good food or a good woman,” just to name a few necessities he lists in the track.
Trel Mack’s personality shines through in “I Hate These Rappers” because to be honest, we all know that one guy who aspires to be a rapper, but simply can not rap. In real hip hop, we as the fans of the culture have a civil duty to call out the B.S. And Trel Mack makes a song about all of the thoughts we have in our heads when we see these fake rappers in the mix. Trel’s labelmate Shawn Archer laces a cold verse on this track as well.
Speaking of labelmates, Petter Jones assist “Aspirations” with his witty oneliners. I’ve always said that Trel and Petter Jones made great collaborations and this song is just another of the many examples that prove my point. Making our way midway of Night Before The Dawn , “Deposits” come up and it seems like a filler for the EP. Trel has told his story of life, love, success, and struggles in “Hot Pursuit” and “Aspirations,” so “Deposits” doesn’t live up to the fill potential like those other tracks.
“Luv is Life” on the other hand, picks up the vibe of the EP. This song is what I would call a nice crossover hit for Trel Mack. The production, which includes a sample from Debra Laws’ “Very Special,” is very radio-friendly. “Luv is Life” is definitely a standout on the EP and my personal favorite, next to “Hot Pursuit.”
The closer track, “Caravan of Contrary” seals the deal on the Trel Mack story. His line, “And even as a grown man, I’m still making mistakes/ I just wanna be better than I was yesterday/ I got no love from the ones who tell me I can’t,” tells it all and with the R&B crooner Mel Alston Jr on the hook, “Caravan of Contrary” is a delicious treat to listen to.
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