Trek Life is an artist I’ve yet to enjoy, but after listening to “Hometown Foreigner” will certainly be looking for more from him in the future. Being linked with label mate Oddisee doesn’t hurt, but production is handled throughout “Hometown Foreigner” by the mostly unheard of Duke Westlake. Tracks like “Just the Music” possess the beats that operate on another level, and Trek Life performs admirably with a style not too dissimilar to Common on “Like Water For Chocolate”. Speaking of which, “Eat More Chocolate” has Trek Life at his smoothest, sharing a tale of a strained relationship that bluntly tells anyone that wants to cheat to just break up and do the deed as a single person. “What’s Real” is a solid track with Trek and yU doing their best with the worst of topics – being real. The swinging production on “We Good” is delicious from Duke, and feels like an ode to De La Soul. Much of “Hometown Foreigner” is stuck in thumping soul mode, but there are injections of energy on “Street Casualty”, with Duke essentially sampling a Pac-Man ghost dying, which although different, is just as addictive as the classic arcade game.
What Trek Life and Duke Westlake have provided is a package so polished that it shines amongst recent independent releases, demonstrating Mello Music Group clearly have an eye for talent. Having heard more expletives than Tarantino’s latest girlfriend, it’s always nice to hear full songs without the need for them, and Trek Life encompasses authentic street hip hop as good as anybody. Delivered in such a crisp manner, “Hometown Foreigner” should not only be welcomed as great hip hop, but embraced as one of 2013’s best.