Tre Mission: Stigmata

Tre Mission proves nonconformity pays off on debut Stigmata.

Tre Mission


Label: Big Dada
US Release Date: 2014-08-12
UK Release Date: 2014-08-11

It takes lots of ‘cajones’ to be a nonconformist. Going against the grain is one of the biggest risks that any musician can take. Trends often drive sales, with artists joining the bandwagon because they don’t want to be left behind. That said, nonconformist musicians are often the ones that keep music the most interesting. Sometimes nonconformity pays dividends, while other times it creates quite a pain in the derriere. For Canadian rapper Tre Mission, being a grime artist where geographically grime isn’t the dominant style makes him an outsider. On his debut album Stigmata, being different from the rest of pack isn’t bad in the least.

“Stigmata”, featuring Thes, proceeds to show off Mission’s agile flow. In addition to the spry flow, Mission is able to tell a compelling narrative. Accentuated even more by unique production work – particularly the drum programming – “Stigmata” is a compelling opening musical statement. “Real Grind” follows featuring rapper Wiley and singer Andreena Mill. Mill lends her smooth pipes to the catchy hook, while Mission and Wiley handle the grittier verses. If there is nitpick about “Real Grind” it is that Mission doesn’t feel like the featured artist. On the other hand, the vitality musically of both Wiley and Andreena speaks to Mission’s artistic selflessness.

On “Jessica”, the assist comes from a bigger name: K-os. On autopilot spitting over malicious-sounding production, Mission compels by all means. “Rally” featuring JME is highly representative of the UK grime scene. The production could be described as manic, but in the best possible way. Featuring strings and dubstep elements, the ear candy is awe-inspiring. Brief at just two minutes, “Rally” packs a mean punch despite brevity.

“On Road” doesn’t feature quite the same level of ambitious production as “Rally,” but continues to rep the grime scene, exemplified by its electro hyper rhythmic beat. “In The Hallway” sounds more similar to hardcore rap from the United States. “I be with some trappin’ ass n***as … they just tryin’ to get this money all day / choppers in the hallway.” Skepta guests on the aggressive number, delivering the priceless line, “I don’t wanna see Miley twerkin’” Amen!

“Money Make (Her)” featuring Andreena contrasts the ‘grimier’ sounds that dominate Stigmata. The use of piano and acoustic guitars is a stark difference from the edgier synths of, say, “Rally.” The theme is still harsh you might say, as the title is a play on words. Andreena sings, “Money make her go wild”, which suggests that the woman will do anything to get money. “Money maker” itself refers to ‘dancing’ – shaking your butt.

“Jack Pot” returns Mission to grime, assisted by Merky Ace. Predictably, the rhymes are incredibly agile. Merky Ace’s contributions sport a heavy British accent alongside quick-paced rhymes, making the lyrics a bit difficult to decipher. Still, the skills are undeniable from both MCs.

Speaking of skill, Tre Mission continues to shows off his impeccably on “Get Doe”, featuring Saukrates. Here, Mission embraces being the ‘exception to the rule’ as a ‘Grime kid’, despite geographic location (verse three). Another fascinating moment of “Get Doe” is how Mission’s masterful abilities as a wordsmith turns references to anti-hemophilia into “bleeding on the music” – aka putting heart, soul, and incredible focus to be successful.

“Boy in the Corner” definitely allures from the onset. Once more favoring a southern, hardcore rap sensibility contrasting the electro cues of grime, Mission sounds as confident and effective as ever. Having a catchy hook doesn’t hurt either. On penultimate cut “Milly”, once more griminess returns with bold synths, pronounced drums, and grimy rhymes. “Cold Summer (Outro)” balances the album, closing as the album opened (intro and outro).

Throughout Stigmata, Mission’s chameleonic abilities shine through for the best. Lyrically, Mission can go deep (“Get Doe”) as well as ‘dumb it down’ (the hook of “Boy in the Corner”). Versatility plays a gargantuan part of his MO as an MC, and being so malleable artistically is a pro. Stigmata may not be perfect – at times for listeners uneducated on the ‘grime’ scene might consider it at times hard to digest – but ultimately, it's a sound, great statement from a newbie establishing his artistry.






'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.


Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.


3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".


'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.


Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".


PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.


Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.


Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.


Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.


Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.


A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.