Self-proclaimed “visceral and thoughtful” hip hop trio Treehouse comes out of Chicago with a world music sound and a style defined by fusion.
Tell No One marks the debut EP from the group, although its members are by no means new to the scene. Vocalist Rico Sisney has a past full of hip hop with former group Sidewalk Chalk and as the soloist MC Rico. Sisney is a performance based artist with clear intentions to connect people through music and promote hip hop as art music of the future. (ReberbNation bio) On a scale from Weezy to K’naan, Treehouse is on par with the Somalian hip hop poet for his ethno-jazz style and humbled intentions of prose. The group discusses issues of community action and presses for conscious thought, as can be heard on title track “Tell No One:” “The constructs are simply implemented to con us / We don’t realize we’re responsible / Eyes close as the monsters grow / Resistance is so stratified / Having sides we have to strategize.”
Lead MC Sisney is described as “an obsessive lyricist,” often performing acapella, freestyle, on free-form beat structures and with an orchestra or jazz ensemble. The other members of Treehouse, Mike Ruby (bass) and Aunnoy Badruzzaman (drums), provide the minimal funktures suitable for the trifecta’s signature style. That is one laced with jazz and jam-band undertones, prominent funk-bass riffs and the glue of a confident MC.
The four track EP continues with another minor-melodied song entitled “Chinatown Christmas,” an expression of another year passing and changing alongside reverberating Chinese bronze bells. Nothing special streams from this track, however it is followed by the EP’s lyrical winner “Autonomous.” Here Sisney rhymes on a more personal note, addressing a relationship between two people seeking independence- a fateful formula for either partner in this story. A melancholy narrator raps over a smooth melody, “Maybe it’s nature, or maybe the way we were raised / But we both crave so much it’s in our makeup / I think there’s no way you can change us / And I’m sorry, and you’re sorry.” The narrative turns to lossful plead, “Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it without me / Waiting for someone to reveal this is a nightmare / Is this real life here / Time slips into elusiveness / Who could fix his problem / This question is the wrong one because this all started on his mission to become autonomous.” The vocals ring of inevitable defeat and Sisney concludes “When she goes away, his bill withers.” The song evokes a beautiful sadness and immediately becomes the most repeatable off the EP.
Treehouse is hip hop with minimal alternative beats for backdrop, rolling a performance poetry-jam style of flow with continuous live beats. They truly create a unique style for music listeners to transcend genres of jazz, hip hop, funk and world music.
Treehouse – Tell No One EP tracklisting:
- “Tell No One”
- “Chinatown Christmas”
- “Grass Stains”