ANNAPOLIS — Freestyle rap battles represent a creative process for popular Annapolis hip-hop artist Tre Da Kid, whose approach of taking the contest to his opponent helped him to capture the Verizon #freestyle50 challenge, a national competition that allows rising lyricists to put their bars to the test and compete for the chance to open on tour for various big name artists.
“My mind was focused strictly on winning,” said Tre an Annapolis High School graduate who also attended the Art Institute of Atlanta.
“That day, the day I won the competition, it could have been Jesus himself, we would have had to battle it out because I was focused on winning,” he said, laughing.
The victory came with prizes that included a recording contract with the hip-hop label 300 Entertainment, an independent record label distributed by Arista Records; a $10,000 grand prize and the tour opportunity.
One of the 300 Entertainment owners is Baltimore native, Kevin Liles, a former executive at Def Jam Records.
This month, Tre began filming the music video to his new single, “Run It,” in Annapolis.
He said he expects to wrap up the final takes either in Atlanta or Los Angeles. However, it was important that his hometown was featured.
“That’s the most amazing part, where I’m from, Annapolis, not a whole lot of positive has come from here and to be at the forefront is strictly amazing,” he said. “To see Annapolis being mentioned by big name radio hosts and written about and knowing I help put it on the map, it’s my city and the city has been so supportive.”
Born Edward Seay, Tre says his mother died seven months ago just as he began preparing for the contest. His father died only days before his video shoot earlier this month.
“My father instilled in me the music and my mom was the one who always told me that things would happen for me,” Tre said. “I just kept working, and work helped me not to lose control after my parents died.”
Liles was one of many to recognized Tre’s trek to stardom.
In an earlier published interview, the music maverick said, “Tre’s journey, the loss of his mom in September, the countless videos and singles he puts out, his perseverance, tenacity, passion and not expecting things to be given to him but to get up on stage and take it. No question. He won by a landslide.”
Liles’ promise that Tre would quickly be in a studio laying down tracks for a new song proved true with the catchy single, “Run It.”
For Tre, achieving success hasn’t gone to his head. He says he still jumps at every interview opportunity regardless of the size of the news outlet or radio station. He owes it to those who follow him to be heard.
He also expressed gratitude to his employer and colleagues at Annapolis Subaru, where he works detailing automobiles.
“They’ve been good to me. Even this interview, they excused me so that I could do this,” he said. “I feel the same as I did any other day. It’s like all of this was destined to happen. I’m taking more pictures and in people’s eyes, I’m a celebrity but to me it’s just work and work that I love.”
To listen to the new single, “Run It,” visit https://soundcloud.com/tre-da-kid.