You may not be familiar with the name André Altrez, who he is or what he does, but I am here to tell you that he is someone worth watching out for. I had the opportunity to talk with the NYC-born, Philly living rapper/producer to give him a platform to tell the world who he is. He credits legends such as Wu-Tang Clan, Andre 3000, Biggie, Tupac and even Bob Dylan as influences to his music, among others.
Growing up during the era of Limewire, Altrez shares one album he purchased was Lupe Fiasco’s second studio album, ‘The Cool‘. “I really didn’t listen to that many full albums, I downloaded a lot of music, so I would just catch singles. I bumped some Nas and Jay cuts and ‘Get Rich or Die Trying’, but Limewire was my plug. I listen to more albums now though because of streaming.” Altrez expresses that his writing process consists of freestyling and working “in words for the hook.” He explains that once he has the hook down the verses just starts to flow. “I try to keep as much live energy as I can when I’m working on a song. Staying spontaneous makes for better songs, it’s like jazz, you can think and play at the same time you just have to feel.“
In 2017, Altrez dropped his summer project “No Come Down”, a 4-track EP inspired by a moment during his career when he felt his lowest. “The events of late 2016-2017 inspired it. I was living in a warehouse in Philly called Girard Hall, I and a few others ran it as an underground venue. It wasn’t a fully legal situation, so when the city finally decided to shut us down after 5 years I was left homeless for about a month.” It was at this time, the Philly rapper took on a job that he hated, but vowed to him that he “would never fall that low again.” He reveals that the EP is dedicated to “upgrading your life to new levels and keeping it there.”
As Altrez upgrades to new levels, he continues to not compare himself to any other rappers. However, he credits Jay-Z, Black Thought, Andre 3000 and others for shaping him into the rapper he is today. “[I love] Nas [for] his raw point of view and sharp lyrics, he raps like expensive cognac, a true GOAT.” The rapper also gives props to the legendary Brooklyn rapper Ka, formerly from “Natural Elements.” Altrez describes Ka as “one of the coldest MC’s out of Brooklyn still breathing.” Despite how people may feel about the state of rap today, Altrez feels like it is “in one of the best states it has been in ever.” He reveals that there is competition is on the rise and not everyone is going to make it. “The only thing that worries me is the corporate viral clout kids who water the shit down. Rap/hip-hop is my life and I feel it does need to be protected. I want the old school and the new shit to coexist peacefully, we’re all one thread.“
Altrez recently released his latest music video for “Time Freeze“, the video was shot by @Baejawn (his girlfriend) in Vermont. He shares how nervous he was filming on a frozen lake, but still shot a dope visual.
Yea I’ve never been on a frozen lake before, I’m from New York City so that wasn’t an option for me growing up. When you walk out on the ice the top layer is thin from the sun so it cracks a lot and makes noise. I was shook as fuck walking [on it]. They [locals] said it was like 4 feet thick but I still ain’t trust it. Once I saw a pickup truck drive on the lake, I knew I was good. I just had to make sure I didn’t bust my ass while trying to turn up on the ice. Shoutout to Vermont for being beautiful, the white folks out there actually decent too, all pretty chill at face level anyway.