In Ryan Coogler’s Creed, a young boxer named Adonis Johnson hopes to reach the top and prove himself as a professional boxer. Adonis is however the son of the infamous Apollo Creed, who was once the former heavyweight champion of the world. Throughout the film Adonis struggles with living under his father’s shadow. He refuses to use his fathers surname in the ring, as he fights to stand on his two feet and prove himself. The film serves as a struggle for self identity with a legacy looming over your shoulder.
The story of Adonis doesn’t drift too far from that of Tremaine Joiner. Just like Adonis, Tremaine is an an up and coming talent pushing to prove himself in a field of his own. Tremaine has been rapping for the last few years, and at the age of just 20 years old he has had public backing from figures such as Zane Lowe and even the OVO crew. Working under the name Tre Capital he is making waves of his own. But much like Adonis Johnson, Tre Capital lives under the burden of the family name, which in his case is Xzibit. When your father is a successful rapper, tv personality and actor, a lot is riding on your shoulders before you have even said a word. Adonis had to prove himself in the ring and so must Tre Capital, and whilst ‘I Can’t Die’ may only be the first round, Tre has proved he has a lot of fight in him for the long haul.
Tre wastes no time as comes straight out of the gates fighting. “Modern day rap clones where is the divergency, I guess everybody wants to be king but don’t nobody want to work for it.” Tre is the first to admit he has a helping hand, but he won’t be taking it. With no hook or chorus, Tre goes off for a straight 4 minutes with a ferocious flow barely stopping to catch his breath. Whilst you might have doubted Tre, once he starts rapping it’s clear his hunger for success goes beyond the fame and flashing lights. ‘I Can’t Die Yet’ highlights Tre’s persistence in making a names for himself all off his own back. With no label or management behind him and without a single feature throughout the entire EP, Tre has nothing to lose expect himself and this is where ‘I Can’t Die Yet’ exceeds. He lays it all out there to be seen, with nowhere to hide or run. For an upcoming rapper the first steps to hit are normally the co-sign, signing to a label and a slew of features to surround yourself with. Tre has ignored the guidebook. His honesty and self belief are signs of a true artist.
Listening to ‘I Can’t Die Yet’ it’s clear Tre is product of the modern scene. With cold and heartless baselines, accompanied with harsh synths littered throughout the record, Tre has certainly taken influence from the IYRTITL era Drake. Tre raps with a similar perpetual motion that we have come to relate to the 6 God, and borrows from the likes of Big Sean in terms of flow. This isn’t to say Tre hasn’t got a story of his own to tell, but at points Tre’s own story becomes drowned in a sound and style we have become a little too accustomed too. Tre has proven his lyrical ability and prowess, but rather then delving deeper into a more personal story, the mixtape becomes an exercise in sparring rather then a knock out. Songs such as ‘Running With the Torch’ and ‘Javhari Bourdeau flow II’ prove Tre can go up against anyone in the game right now, but you’re left waiting him to take it to up another notch, a place of his own making. This isn’t to say the record isn’t entertaining, far from it. It’s a joy to witness Tre go off for 10 songs straight, but you’re left waiting for him to deliver that final blow, one you know he’s capable of.
‘I Can’t Die Yet’ is an extremely impressive piece of work for a young man who’s just entered the limelight. Tre has proven he has the appetite to be around for a long time. It’s an impressive feat for a rapper of just 20 years old to captivate a listener for 10 tracks straight without the assistance of no one else. He has the awe of an artist with a vision for the future. Tre has laid down the blueprint, now let’s see him execute it.