It seems cliche these days to point out that a hip-hop artist is “so much more than just a rapper,” but in the case of Sacramento’s Andreas “Dre-T” Tillman Jr., it’s absolutely true. Still in his early twenties, Dre-T has become a staple in the local spoken-word scene and is a “poet-mentor” to many inner-city youth in his work with Sacramento Area Youth Speaks, a literacy organization out of UC Davis. He is the founder and host of a spoken-word-based open mic night called Penny 4 Your Thoughts at Sol Collective every Sunday from 7 – 9 p.m. When he was just 20, Dre-T received a $20,000 grant from the California Endowment to foster leadership skills and increased engagement for youth in South Sacramento. As a rapper/performer, Dre-T has shared the stage with international artists like Los Rakas, Ise Lyfe and even Wu-Tang’s GZA. Dre-T’s new EP, Sacramentality, shows an artist wise well beyond his years. The deep, mature tones of his voice combined with thought-provoking rhymes and effortless beat production (yes he even makes all his own beats) make this one of the best locally produced hip-hop releases of the year. On the EP’s opening track, “Change,” Dre-T soulfully sings over the slow, saxophone-ridden beat, You don’t wanna see change / But you want me to be change, before speeding up and quickly rapping, You don’t wanna see me prove to the people that the system you have is sad, sad, sad / The education that you deliver is all bad, bad, bad / And this ain’t me just spittin’ some super lyrical truth, truth, truth / This is me listenin’ to the spirit of the youth. A couple tracks later on “No Religion,” Dre-T loosens up a bit, playfully spitting, Day and night I’m on that raw shit / Fuck out my face with all that garbage / Yes I’m sick but I don’t get nauseous / I ain’t even shit on ‘em I just farted. The EP is full of quotable lines; some silly, some nasty, some so real that you’ll find yourself rewinding and listening over and over again. Dre-T will celebrate the release of Sacramentality on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, with a performance at Sol Collective (2574 21st Street) that will also feature special guests. The show gets going at 8 p.m., is just $5 and all ages are welcome. Dre-T will also be performing at Blue Lamp on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, with a variety of other local hip-hop artists. Head to to hear the EP and be on the lookout for Dre-T to be dropping a new single every month starting in September.

    Jonathan Carabba

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