At first listen I was struck by Trel Mack’s ability to convey strength and vulnerability sometimes within a couplet of lyrics, an art almost lost in Hip Hop today. So I jumped at the chance to chop it up with one of Philly’s Hip hop sons.
PD) I wanna say something: Your music carries the ghosts of Philly’s soul-past, but it sounds very modern. What was it like growing up in Philly and what effect did its rich, musical heritage have on you?
TM) Well you know Philly has a great musical history, from Gamble and Huff, Patti Labelle, everyone. We definitely have a strong hip-hop scene from Cassidy, Beanie Sigel, Freeway, even with Gillie Da Kid always being a household name for his crazy groundwork. So being a new artist, the Philly sound highly influenced me. We’ve had some great artists and I just want to carry the torch. Growing up in Philly is tough, just like any other major city especially if you grow up in the inner city, but I always stay focused and my love for music keeps me doing positive things.
PD) The song “No Holding Back” moved me profoundly. It’s like Jay-Z dropping some science over a glass of Cognac with Harold Melvin but the lyrics are pure, inner-city blues. What were your feelings when you wrote those lyrics?
TM) Well the main message is the fact that you can’t let nothing hold you back in life. When you want to get up and chase your dreams, do not let anything get in your way and hold you back. Keep trying and give it all you have. I feel like the feedback is something everyone can relate and when you make music for the people, it going to make a great impact. I’m so thankful for all the fans that love the record.
PD) “Dreams Of A Winner” is a beautiful video and I like the Ernie Isley fuzz guitar. You and your peeps have a knack for the cinematic. What’s your favorite movie and why?
TM) Well I’m a huge fan of comedy so I love all the “Friday” movies with Ice Cube. They are so hilarious and you can watch them over and over. I can’t say I have a favorite movie because there are so many I enjoy. But movies I especially love are “Harlem Nights,” “Coming to America” and “Above the Rim.” Tupac was great in that movie.
PD) If there was a soundtrack you could be on, what would it be and why?
TM) I would say “Belly.” That soundtrack was crazy. It was such a hip-hop classic with some of the dopest tracks. The “8 Mile” soundtrack was incredible as well. I can go on and on about some of my favorite movie soundtracks. The Bad Boy movie soundtracks were hot too. They had one of my favorite songs ever, “Me against The World” by Tupac.
PD) Your EP is entitled “Inspired By Greatness.” That seems to be your motto. Where did it come from?
TM) Well I’m just inspired by the greats who came before me. Growing up listening to dudes like Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem, Tupac, Mase, Biggie, Big L — I can go on and on. Those dudes set the bar high as artists. Even with the label we have, SKE Records, the goal is to accomplish what Bad Boy, The Roc, Cash Money and all the others did. We going to continue to grind and make it happen.
There you have it kids, another chapter in Philly’s long history of great music. Don’t be the last on the love train. Pick up the ‘Inspired by Greatness’ EP, you’ll thank me later.
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Trel Mack “Inspired By Greatness” out now!