Tree’s smeared-vocal rap style and project porch production aesthetic can take some getting used to, but there's no question it's the work of an original. Fresh from the release of one of his best singles, "Texas Tea," the Chicago auteur joined a Miami MC named Nemesis for a split EP entitled The Johnson & Johnson EP. Produced primarily by Tree, with a couple of assists from beatmaker SP, it's a genuinely unique recording, from the strummed country guitar of "No Stems No Seeds" to the crumbling textures of "Maryanne," to the dirty, breezy "All White Linen." The beats sound as if they've been made from spare parts, each track a jury-rigged construction that could collapse at any second, were it not for the patchwork skills of its inventor.
EP highlight "Rank Higher," available for download below, has the chugging momentum of a mid-century jalopy. Tree and Nemesis spit oblique, slant-rhymed street raps with rugged flair: Fuck a club, we get drugs and party in apartments / break shit, pay for it, no avoidin/ And no commotion, I can smell her mocha lotion/ I can tell her ocean open.