Tree - "The King" (MP3/stream)

Chicago rapper/producer Tree flips a sample of the Elvis classic "Can't Help Falling in Love" and makes the track his own with his gruff, elastic vocal delivery and alternately tough and clever lyricism.

An Elvis song, let alone the schmaltzy classic "Can't Help Falling in Love", seems an odd choice at best for a rap sample (at worst, we're talking Dipset "Built This City" territory). But Chicago rapper/producer Tree manages to flip the sample into a soul-trap hybrid that, I don't know, just works. He spits gruff, elastic, occasionally pinch-voiced tough-talk and hippie street guru bars, slipping in affecting lyrics like "Drunk as hell, man / I probably shouldn't have a pistol." As much as the drill scene has dominated its recent rap coverage, Chicago is a city of many voices just like any other, and Tree happens to be, along with steadily rising Chance the Rapper, one of its more interesting and talented.

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