Ever since linking up with producer Oddisee for the remix album New Money early in 2009, the interwebs having been buzzing about the skills of the promising left coast emcee, Trek Life. That buzz only amplified upon the announcement that Trek’s 2010 full-length, Everything Changed Nothing, would be fully produced by Oddisee. In a sense, Trek fits in with the new state of hip-hop. He can rhyme and he has a definitive persona that has thus far allured many-a-hip-hop-head. However on Everything Changed Nothing, Trek is intent on setting himself apart from the crowd. How? He’s got a message that he feels the world needs to hear.
Trek rides into Everything Changed Nothing, on a warm beam of California sunshine. “Ready to Live” is a call to action of sorts, prompting people to grab life by the reigns and make something positive happen. Trek raps, “Life is hard man, nah life is easy. Life is exactly what you make it, believe me.” Carpe diem, if you will.
It’s this sort of positivity that embodies Trek’s message on the album. However, be careful to not get swept up in the breezy optimism – Everything Changed Nothing also has a subtle dark side. Trek is quick to point out the hard work and perseverance necessary to make it in our world. However, as honorable as Trek’s message is, it’s a message that has been used relentlessly by hip-hop artists for a while, so certain listeners may grow weary of the overt feel-good vibe by the end of the 12 tracks. That said, Trek gives his music a personal spin, making use of enticing anecdotes to state his case.
From a production standpoint, this album screams Oddisee. He has laced every track with his signature drums that recall the finest of the boom-bap era. There’s a pleasant warmth to Oddisee’s music that can be just as smooth (“Everything Changed Nothing”) as it can be neck-breaking (“So Supreme”). And although he’s working with samples and live instrumentation to keep the sounds fresh, ultimately Oddisee doesn’t actually produce anything mind-blowing or new on Everything Changed Nothing. Furthermore a couple beats towards the end turn just a bit stale.
From start to finish, one thing is certain: this is Trek’s show. He commands the listener with intricate, intelligent rhymes, and those who are willing to buy into his brand of optimism will surely fall in love with this record. Despite its few rough patches, Everything Changed Nothing prevails as a well-compiled album that should squash any doubts about Trek’s talents as an emcee. Sky’s the limit.