Photo: Devyn Galindo
Compton, California, is notorious for breeding some of the most legendary names in rap music. Located in south-central Los Angeles county, the hometown of gangsta rap has been the training ground for superstar emcees for decades, producing talent from Dr. Dre to Kendrick Lamar. Among Compton’s freshest exports is Channel Tres, who with the release of latest single “Black Moses” reminds everybody that the city of less than 100,000 is still the hip-hop capital of the world.
Built over a beat comprised of thunderous bass and rattling hi-hat, “Black Moses” continues a long tradition of highly political music to come out of Compton’s scene. The title references American soul artist Isaac Hayes. Hayes, bestowed with the nickname Black Moses during his career, first rejected the name before embracing it as a symbol of black power. In the hook of the track, Channel reflects on his own complex feelings of responsibility for his family and community, spitting, “Ain’t about me, ain’t about me / Gotta kick it up ‘cause my n*ggas hungry / Throw money in the air, can’t drop the ball / If I do, Black Moses on call / Ain’t about me, ain’t about me.” Throw in a fiery verse from former tour-mate JPEGMAFIA, and you’ve got a track that hits hard both sonically and lyrically.
2019 has already been one hell of a year for Channel Tres. In addition to supporting Childish Gambino on his Australian tour dates, the rapper made appearances at some of the world’s most esteemed festivals, including Splendour in the Grass, Movement, and Primavera Sound. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also been hard at work in the studio, working on remixes for Mark Ronson, Toro y Moi, Smino, and August 08 in addition to recording his own sophomore EP.
Channel’s Black Moses EP is set to release Aug. 16. In the meantime, bump the title track here: