Channel Tres Talks Honoring Isaac Hayes On EP 'Black Moses,' Healing With Music & Being A "Ghetto Savior"

Channel Tres

Photo: Devyn Galindo


Channel Tres Talks Honoring Isaac Hayes On EP 'Black Moses,' Healing With Music & Being A "Ghetto Savior"

The rising Compton-born singer/rapper/producer sits down with the Recording Academy to talk about his forthcoming second EP, growing up in Compton, his dream collabs (such as recent tourmate Childish Gambino) and more

GRAMMYs/Jul 25, 2019 - 09:24 pm

Meet Channel Tres. The Compton-born singer/rapper/producer and all-around artistic visionary is just getting started living his dream of making an impact with music. He released his swaggy self-titled debut EP last year on Los Angeles indie label GODMODE and in less than a year has become in demand on stages around the world, performing at Detroit's Movement, Barcelona's Primavera Sound and Australia's Splendor In The Grass, to name just a few.

Now he's preparing to share his second EP with the world, Black Moses, which drops on Aug. 16 and is dedicated to the late, great soul legend Isaac Hayes, whose 1971 GRAMMY-winning album shared the same name. To date, Tres has already given the world a taste of its magic with "Brilliant Nigga" and "Sexy Black Timberlake." Next week, on Aug. 2, he'll share the EP's title track and third single featuring politically minded rapper JPEGMAFIA.

We sat down with Tres at the sunny GODMODE studios in East L.A. while he was in town to learn more about Black Moses, how Compton influences his music and his advice to aspiring artists.

You're dropping your second EP, Black Moses, soon; can you speak to the message behind it and the sounds that you explore on it?

First off, it's paying homage to Isaac Hayes. Soundscape-wise, I'm not really in an Isaac Hayes vibe. But the name—I was watching this old festival they threw in Watts [Wattstax 1972]. This is when Shaft and the theme song was really big. He came out and had on a hat and some shades and a coat. They took his coat off and Jesse Jackson was announcing him.

He looked so godly and it was just so black and so powerful for me. So, that's why I just dove into that, which inspired the name and the sounds on it. It's further in what I started with, the Channel Tres EP. I got some cool songs on there and the production got better; it's just a step up. And Moses, in the Bible, is the savior of the people of the promised land. I feel like sometimes I want to be a ghetto savior.

You've already gave us the gift of "Sexy Black Timberlake" from the EP, with groovy G-funk vibes and an amazing video. What was your vision for that song and video?

Thank you. The vision for that song is just people are starting to pay attention more to me and the music, and also I'm growing up to a man and understanding myself more and just being more confident.

How old are you?

I'm 28. So, I'm just crossing over to that mature place. It was funny because when I was younger, depending on what I was wearing—even now—I'm either vilified or objectified. As I started to get more successful, I see how sometimes people objectify me, and women start to objectify men. Because now they see that I'm something. That's what I'm saying that in that song. And it's me just being irritated.

And I love Justin Timberlake. We were just playing around because I wrote a song and I was saying, "Bringing sexy back, making sexy black." We were fing around, it was like, "Let's just name it that, f it." It just makes sense. Also with Compton, just showing a different side.

The video was filmed in Compton, right?

Yeah, I shoot all my stuff there because I've got family everywhere. My little brother's in prison, and it just makes people happy to see the city in stuff like that. Just different places that I grew up. I'm going to make so much music and I like watching my sh*t because I don't get to go there that often.

So you've left, but you grew up here in L.A., in Compton. What does Compton mean to you and how do you think it shaped your artistic journey and identity?

It's a huge community of people out there, so it's home. It will always have a special place in my heart. I'm just happy that I'm street smart. A lot of people don't have common sense. I know how to survive. If there was an apocalypse or something and everything was taken away, I would know how to survive. I grew up in kind of a grimy way, in a grimy area, so your survival tactics are just different. I will always appreciate that. And I love G-funk and just West Coast music, so I'm so happy I got to grow up around that, and actually feel that. To be around that and see things.

Who were your favorite artists growing up, and who remains as your influences today?

Nate Dogg, Tupac, Ice Cube. I love [Dr.] Dre. I grew up on a lot of gospel; Sam Cooke, Fred Hammond, Marvin Gaye. Motown, everything pretty much. Miles Davis. A lot of jazz, a lot of gospel, a lot of rap.

Was there a moment when you knew or decided that you wanted to make music? What called you into that space?

I've always wanted to make music, since I was born. My dad was a musician, I think you're what your parents are. I think it got passed down, the love. I always had a thing for it, but I didn't understand the discipline of it until later on, and that's when I started getting better and things started happening.

What's your biggest goal as an artist?

Just to be around, be in culture. I'd like to do things; work on films, have great songs that just stand the test of time. We still listen to the old funk records and all that, I just want songs that are timeless. I love music, I just want to be in it, I always want to be in it.

You're doing it. In terms of your music, you do a lot. You produce, you sing, you rap, you can dance, it's all there. What's your favorite part of the creative process?

I like it all. Every part of performing, dancing, producing. It's just so many different sides of music so I appreciate it all. You get to connect with the music in a different way, when you've been in all those areas.

Do you have any rituals or places that foster creativity?

I pray. I talk to God. I talk to myself. I lived through a lot and I'm still going through sh*t. So there's enough trauma in there and this all started happening, so I have a lot to talk about. I don't really go anywhere. I'm a Gemini too, I'm kind of crazy in my head. I don't know, I go a lot of places in my head. Music is real cathartic for me, that's how I deal with it, and that's how I'm getting healing from a lot of the things I've been through, so I don't really go nowhere I just do it. I'm just always ready to go. Like, "Let's get it."

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thank yaw for dealing with me Spain cuh

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Between Movement, Primavera Sound, a Boiler Room set and a bunch of other big shows, you've had a pretty stacked year. What has been a favorite moment from these events so far?

It's all my favorite. A year and a half ago I wasn't playing all these shows and this is something I fantasized about. I was in Spain at Primavera playing by the beach. My set was at 9 pm, it was a great time, the sun was setting. And so many people, and I knew all my words, I knew all my choreo. I was like, "Oh sh*t, I'm doing it." It's fun, I love playing, I like traveling for music.

When you are performing in front of people, do you feel like that's a different sort of therapeutic or cathartic experience as to when you're making the music?

Yeah, I mean I don't have to fight nobody. I got my energy out; all my aggression, all my anger. It's like my form of destruction. I'm pretty easygoing, but on stage you can't tell me sh*t. And if you don't want to be there you don't have to be there.

Have you been able to connect with other people through your music?

Like other artists? Hell yeah. It's been cool. I was making music the other day, and I'm in the room with my idols like, "Oh sh*t!" It's crazy, it's so fun and so cool because I'm still a fan too.

Do you have any dream collaborations that you want to speak out and manifest?

Kendrick [Lamar]. I definitely want to do something with Kendrick one day. I want to do something with Stevie Wonder. I want to work with Jon Brion. There's a lot of people I want to work with, I got a list. I want to work with Childish Gambino, I think we could make some tight sh*t.

Speaking of working with people, you're going to be touring with Toro Y Moi soon, and you recently did a rad remix of one of his tracks from his last album. How did you guys meet and would you ever collab on some tracks?

I'm a big fan of Chaz [Bear, a.k.a. Toro Y Moi] for a long time. We met on my birthday three years ago. Every year we got closer as friends and he started listening to my sh*t I guess. He hit me up and was like, "Yo, we should go on tour." And a year later we go on tour.

That's so cool. Planting the seeds.

Yeah, I'm about to go on tour with Childish Gambino too. It's not announced yet, but we are playing two shows together in Australia. I'm opening up for him like next week.

Oh sick! I saw him at The Forum.

It was crazy?

Yeah. He has an energy on stage where you're like, "Damn, I want to go wherever you are going."

Yeah, fire. I can't wait to meet him.

Do you have a message for young kids in Compton, or wherever else, who want to get into music?

Persistence always wins and hard work beats talent any day. I'm not the most talented, I mean there's people better than me. But what makes my sh*t cool is just me, I'm not trying to be nobody else. I pay homage to the OGs, I have respect for the people that came before me. I don't think nothing is bad unless musically it doesn't go together. So, I'm not really judgey, I'm not heavily critical of everything. I just try to understand and try to take it day by day.

Just trust God and the universe, and be persistent and really find out if it's what you're supposed to be doing. Because if it's what you are supposed to do, you'll have provision, things will be happening. Even though it might take a long time, you'll know. Just do it for the right reasons. And when you get it, do something good with it.

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/


Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images


Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

Lady Gaga

Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images


Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards


Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.