ALBUM REVIEW: Tre Mission ‘Stigmata’

Stigmata will be the blueprint for many releases to come from the grime scene over the next few years

With 99.9% of grime artists coming from the UK, it can be difficult for overseas acts to gain inclusion into the scene. However, one man who has accomplished this is Tre Mission. The Toronto born MC, who has been making grime since his late teens, has garnered huge support from many well respected figures within the scene, which is highlighted by the quality of the supporting artists he has managed to work with on Stigmata. With the ability to secure a heavyweight list of collaborators, including the likes of Wiley, Skepta, JME and Merky Ace, Tre Mission has shown that he is not a novelty MC with a Canadian accent but a fresh, talented MC who is able to represent grime as well as, if not better than many home-grown artists.

Stigmata is a very diverse album in terms of its sound with the more traditional grime elements accompanied by heavier trappy beats, something which is becoming more and more prevalent within the genre, as well as some garage beats which make the album feel extremely well rounded.

Album opener ‘Intro’ sees Tre giving a shout out to all his people in the 416, the area code where he lives in Toronto, over a trap beat which sets the album off at a controlled pace, especially in comparison to the following track, ‘Stigmata’. The title track is a skippy, high hat filled track with a mesmerising, hypnotic chorus from vocalist Thes chanting “You should have known how that I’d go because on my own I know that with love comes a war”. With a lighter feel to the track when compared with ‘Intro’, the diverse sound of the album is already evident after only two tracks so it is clear upon first listen that Stigmata is going to take you on a musical journey.

‘Real Grind’, which features vocals from Andreena and a guest verse from grime legend Wiley, is an electro bass-heavy beat that combines sections of softer piano with bass perfectly, culminating in an upbeat drum and bass outro with Wiley echoing “All through the year every year man are turned up/stop acting like you never heard us”. The journey that the album take us on continues with ‘Jessica’ as Tre gives us an insight into his past, reciting memories of Jess, who was “awful and cut-throat”, over a creeping trap beat with K-OS on the chorus.

JME then makes a guest appearance on the lively, energetic ‘Rally’, which sees Tre and JME going back to back over a classic grime beat with strong emphasis on the bass and staccato string accompaniment. ‘Rally’ is the first time that we see Tre spit over a traditional grime beat on Stigmata and it showcases his lyrical flow but also his ability to go back to back with one of the biggest names in the scene and hold his own. ‘On Road’ follows and is one of the standout tracks on the album as the endless piano riff, accompanied by the occasional bass blip over an old school two-step garage beat compliments Tre’s flow perfectly.

‘In The Hallway’ is a bassy trap anthem during which Tre further discusses his life thus far and is joined by a verse from Skepta, adding to the list of top names to feature on Stigmata. The album takes yet another twist as the deep and emotionally expressive piano riff and guitar accompaniment, along with Tre’s honest and sincere lyrics on‘Money Maker (Her)’ offer a much more sensitive and thought provoking side to Tre than anything else on the album. ‘Jackpot’ is a return to the fundamentals of grime as the mesmeric beat makes the perfect platform for Tre and Merky Ace to fire bar after bar in usual unrelenting fashion and sees Merky Ace drop some retro WWE lyrics with, “Shut your mouth, know your role and just bring it, if I hit rock bottom then I’m gonna have to spit it”.

Canadian rapper Saukrates contributes to the hip hop inspired ‘Get Doe’ offering a slower, more reserved style in contrast to Tre Mission’s fast-paced, machine gun flow that really highlights the differences between hip hop and grime. ‘Boy In The Corner’ may sound as though it would be an ode to Dizzee Rascal but the track sees Tre discussing a tale of his dealings with an unnamed woman with only the lyrics, “Boy in the corner, she was calling me dizzy” bearing any reference to the Mercury Prize winner.Having reached the conclusion of the album, Tre Mission should be commended for maintaining the quality and purity that Stigmata offers as ‘Milly’ ensures that the album ends on a grimey high before the one minute long ‘Cold Summers (Outro)’ sample brings the album to a complete close.

As previously mentioned, for an artist outside the UK to come and be a success within the grime scene is no mean feat and the fact that Tre Mission is helping to diversify and broaden it’s sound whilst breaking down the barriers and limitations of what grime music can be is a testament to his passion for music. It is extremely unlikely that a more diverse and inclusive grime album will be released in the rest of 2014 and it is absolutely certain that Stigmata will be the blueprint for many releases to come from the grime scene over the next few years.

Matt Tarr

Matt Tarr

Urban Music Editor
With grime and hip hop being major influences on him growing up in South East London, Matt's passion is urban music but over the years he has gathered a hugely diverse taste, ranging from Wiley to The Smiths by way of Machine Head, that has made him a very open minded individual.
Matt Tarr