Photo courtesy artist

After the release of his recent $hook EP, Columbia native and Lost Kids collective member Tre’ Amani is discussing his career with Variance's Ethan Ijumba.

Coming off a summer filled with performances, his latest focus has been towards his upcoming project, Incrementum. He also conversed about his creative process, independent career, and the essence behind his recent EP. For more detail, be sure to scroll and read the full interview below and to stream $hook on all platforms and services.

With music being a part of your life since you were a child, do you remember the exact moment when you knew it was what you wanted to do as a career?

I get asked this question a lot. I don't really remember the exact moment I started taking it seriously, but it was definitely in high school. Freshman year, I'd say.

Are there any specific albums or songs that inspired you as an artist?

[Kanye West's] Graduation, [Kid Cudi's] Man on the Moon, [Jay-Z's] The Blueprint, [Nirvana's] Nevermind, [Linkin Park's] Hybrid Theory, [M.I.A.'s] Kala, [2Pac's] All Eyez on Me, T-Pain's entire catalog

To go along with that, for your entire career, you’ve been solely independent. Do you find more enjoyment in staying independent, or do you ever question or consider taking a major-label approach?

Being independent is all that I know. Yes, I would say I enjoy it; I take great pride in knowing that I have full creative control and that this grind is a slow one, but it is worth it in the long run. That’s me speaking humbly with morality of course. But I do like nice shit and draggin my nuts and doing all that cool “rapper shit,” unlimited nice clothes, jewelry, fast cars etc. I find myself looking like that Squidward meme of him watching Spongebob and Patrick having fun outside...While he's inside …but instead of watching them have fun, he should've been practicing playing his clarinet.

Creatively, you’ve paved a new path being part of Lost Kids collective and your label Civilized Human Beings when it comes to independence; how would you describe the journey to taking an unconventional route?

It's a slow grind, but it's very rewarding knowing that you inspire a lot of young kids, showing them that you can do whatever you want if you're consistent. If you have a vision then you must shed light on it for the world to see. You don't know who you might impact or inspire. I'm just very rewarded that people are influenced by our rawness, it's organic and not fabricated at all.

Speaking of paving a path of your own, are there any certain emotions you have when doing things differently when experimenting and combining sounds that you haven’t attempted before?

As an artist, as dedicated and self-aware as I am, I can't express enough how important it is to experiment with sounds and get out of your comfort zone. This can be a spiritual journey that you never knew you needed as a creative. You really have to tap into a place that you've never been before or try to feel something you've never felt before. And that, for me, is always fulfilling.

When making $hook, were there any specific sounds or genres you specified incorporating on the project or drew influence from when it came to other genres?

Honestly not at all, $hook was simply a compilation of the hardest songs that I had at the time, and I had a lot more but I only wanted to choose six.

Is there a song from your album you’re most proud of? Or one throughout your discography that you have a personal connection with?

From $hook I really love “seeing ghost.” I really snapped, but tbh my project that drops next month makes me proud asf, I get chills every time I listen to it not a skip on there at all.

Recently, you performed at Life Is Beautiful and have an upcoming tour this fall. When it comes to performing, how would you describe the feeling and emotions that come with your shows?

It's a showcase of not only my impressive lyrical skills, or well-polished cadences, but most importantly it's a time to get intimate with the fans, have vulnerability, and show your gratitude it's simply for the fans can't do it without them. And for me to gain new ones too, I truly believe I gain at least one new fan each time I perform.

Do you have any other additional upcoming plans or announcements that you can share that fans can expect?