Because the pandemic creeps into its second 12 months, the trivialities of social interactions start to really feel much less acquainted. Dinners, hookups, and lengthy drives with unmasked passengers are distant recollections. Channel Tres’ i can’t go exterior is a hazy recollection of life at the beginning modified. Impressed by his time in lockdown, the Compton-born producer and rapper makes use of thumping West Coast g-funk and the sensual swagger of Chicago and Detroit home as backdrops for odes to the straightforward issues in life—cruising in his Chevy, curler skating to Frankie Beverly, even ready in line at IKEA—interspersed with reflections on ambition and rising up Black in America.
These songs are all about vibe. As a storyteller, Tres favors fragments over narrative, sprinkling biographical hints into the combo like breadcrumbs. On “2000 chevy malibu,” Tres recollects his first automotive and the newfound independence of being a young person with countless miles at his disposal. It unfolds like a rose-colored dream sequence, leaning closely into Tres’ R&B background by way of woozy backing vocals that complement his mumbly talk-rap supply. “skate depot,” a glowing ode to Los Angeles’ namesake roller-skating vacation spot, which closed in 2014, captures the funk-filled pleasure that has made curler rinks a sacred vacation spot for a lot of Black People.
The EP’s collaborations are its highlights. Tyler, the Creator briefly snaps again into his Goblin days on “fuego” as the 2 swap snapshots of quarantine horniness that devolve into Tres’ realization, “Human contact don’t exist/Human contact is a danger.” On “take your time,” an R&B/home hybrid that’s begging for placement on summer time 2021’s late-night playlists, Tinashe instructions the highlight over a lush, slowed-down groove. However Channel Tres’ vocals too typically really feel like an afterthought, which is a disgrace contemplating the potential he confirmed in 2020 together with his one-off single “Weedman” and his collaboration with SG Lewis and Robyn.
There are hints of vulnerability right here—significantly on “broke down child interlude,” the place Tres ponders survivor’s guilt over a gliding home groove—however the EP is lacking the spark of his finest singles, like “Controller” and “Black Moses.” He’s at his finest when he toys with the cadence of his rhyming, as on “fuego,” however in relation to grappling with the loneliness of isolation, he pushes up towards the boundaries of his consolation zone. “I miss the time we had exhibits,” he raps on the closing “unfinished enterprise,” however then will get caught in a looping half-thought: “Greater than what it appears.” Tres’ pursuit of the vibe can solely take him to date.
Catch up each Saturday with 10 of our best-reviewed albums of the week. Join the ten to Hear publication here.