The Tre Hardson interview
By Renée Shadforthspecial to the actionTre Hardson has been-there-done-that with a lot of what the music industry has to offer especially during his time with the legendary Pharcyde and now he’s giving acting a shot.Slim Kid Tre started out with two members of the Pharcyde in the dance-rap group 242. Don’t let images of boy bands enter your mind, however, these guys got their start in the L.A. underground club scene, and most of what they did was break dancing. Their moves even appeared on In Living Color in the early ’90s.When Derrick “Fatlip” Stewart joined up with the group, they changed their name to the Pharcyde, and put a stronger emphasis on lyricism. In ’92 they released their first album, “Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde,” and toured with two of hip-hop’s greatest, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.Now Hardson is doing his own thing. Backed by a talented live band, he raps over mellow grooves and funky beats.He has made the trek to our neck of the mountains many times before, playing at the Tahoe Biltmore’s Breeze and at River Ranch. My guess is that word has gotten out about just how en fuego (read: hot) Tre is because the local crowd following him has become, for Tahoe, suspiciously, uncharacteristically female.action sat down with Hardson during intermission at his most recent local show to talk about playing in Tahoe and what it’s like to be a movie star.action: What brings you to Tahoe so often?Hardson: Robbie (laughs). (Renegade Productions promoter) Robbie (Polomsky) brings us to Tahoe often. When I come to Tahoe, I’m usually with my friend Brian, and we always go snowboarding over at Heavenly, and stuff like that. So we’re on the south side.action: So you’re into snowboarding?Hardson: Yes, definitely, so send me free sh*@ (laughs).action: Ha, so what’s your favorite snowboarding company?Hardson: Whoever gives me free stuff, that’s what my favorite snowboarding company is.action: So, is this a relatively small show for what you guys usually do?Hardson: Mmm, not really, it fluctuates. We did some stuff on the East Coast, and some of the stuff was small and some was really good, you know what I mean? You know, it’s just a market that we haven’t really worked yet. I mean with my new band, so we’re going to start working that a lot more, so that’ll build, too. And then, like, in places like Idaho, you know, Boise, it was packed.action: Really?Hardson: Yeah, so I was really surprised about that, and I thought it was going to be not-so-packed, so …action: What about in L.A.?Hardson: L.A.’s good. L.A.’s good. We’re at the Temple Bar all the time, and it’s like, you know, packed.action: So as far as playing with a live band, as opposed to a DJ, how do you like that?Hardson: Well, with the DJ. I love the DJ that we had (with the Pharcyde), DJ M-Walk, and stuff like that, but with the live band I don’t know, it’s just a different world, you know what I mean? It’s more color. You know, if I mess up, they’ll just keep playing, whereas if I mess up on the DAT (digital audio tape), I gotta try to figure out where I was at, you know.action: So do you like the improvisational aspect?Hardson: If I go into a zone, I can freestyle or whatever, and I’ll do it, but I don’t do it often and people don’t ask (laughs).action: So where is your guitarist tonight?Hardson: He is working on a project called Stone Mecca, and it’s with the RZA from the Wu-Tang, but the Stone Mecca is a singing group that he had put together, and it’s amazing stuff, so it’s got like a Lucy Pearl feel. It’s amazing, I think. So it’ll be out soon.action: You’re in a movie. Talk about that.Hardson: OK, I’m in a movie, “Six Niggaz In A Cadillac,” don’t repeat it (laughs), it’s pretty much playing on the N-word and how it’s not cool. My character is Militant Mike, and we’re like a crew of MCs going to battle other MCs, and whatever, and there’s the Jew Crew, and the Wonderbread Crew, which is the white boy crew, and then there’s the Short-Ts, and that’s the girl crew, and then Latin in Patten, which is supposed to be the Puerto Rican and Mexican crew, so it’s like really funny. It’s over the top a little bit. I mean, we go around battling each other, and we’re going to the Battle Royale, and along the way, we get high and trip out. It’s an adventure. But for the most part, it’s playing on how the N-word is not cool. How we use it, like N-I-G-G-E-R is very not cool, and N-I-G-G-A is like, “Yo, what’s up my nigger, my boy, my brother, homey?” So it’s showing the different touches on that, but how it’s just not a cool thing and how it rubs off on the youth and all that. And I use it, like, a little too much.action: Is that your first acting experience?Hardson: I’ve been in a lot of other TV shows, videos, so acting on that level, yeah, it’s cool. But this level, no, this is my first time. It was different, I was a little nervous, but my friend Jenina in Los Angeles, she kinda like coached me, and I have friends that are actors, as well, and director friends and I just pay attention.action: How is that aspect of performing, as opposed to being on stage?Hardson: It’s different because the stuff I do on stage and the stuff that I talk about on stage, I’ve lived it, so it’s real to me, you know what I mean? And this was kind of close to home a little bit, so it wasn’t really a far stretch for me to do some acting acting, which I still need work on, but it was good for my first time. And the thing about acting is, it’s like you have to become that character, really, like forget who you are, and you have to create that character, you know what I mean? And internalize the words and project them, as if it’s just regular conversation. It can be difficult, but you gotta listen well and you’ve gotta vibe with the energy of the person you’re acting with, and bounce off of their energy.action: Anything else?Hardson: Just check for my record in 2006, March, “Slim Kid Tre’s Café.” We’re going to re-release (2002’s) “Liberation,” so people can pick it up in the stores. We have some stuff for digital download, like “Liberation” is available on digital download through this company called Iris Distribution, so you’ll be able to find it on iTunes shortly. Just, support, that’s all I can say. It’s like, if you’re wondering where your favorite artist went, they’re probably trying to make it happen, you know what I mean? So please pick them up from somewhere, and support them.
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