Making a name in hip-hop

Caktuz Tree has High Point roots
Dec. 31, 2012 @ 04:04 AM

The rhythms and experiences of Adika Sator’s life growing up across High Point now reverberate in hip-hop songs and lyrics rippling across continents.
Seven years ago, the artist who goes by the name Caktuz Tree left his hometown and headed to New York City, hoping to turn his talent for music and art into a profession. Today, the performer who attended high school in High Point and still visits family and friends here is preparing to release his third studio album early in 2013.
Caktuz Tree told The High Point Enterprise that he recently joined Sony Red label for the release. He said that his presence will lend “an alternative hip hop sound to the label. And I’m setting plans to begin releasing singles early 2013.”
During his time in New York, Caktuz Tree has made connections with the legendary filmmaker and playwright Melvin Van Peebles and toured Europe as part of hip-hop performances. But he keeps his High Point roots prominent – Caktuz Tree’s Facebook page proclaims that he attended T. Wingate High School and grew up in High Point, and he wears a “I ♥  NC” T-shirt often in his promotional pictures.
“With a lot of artists, when you’re first starting out, you have to overcome the hump of people passing them off as a phase,” he said. “You have to establish yourself as an artist and a foundation for people to believe that it’s going to be something consistent.”
Caktuz Tree’s approach to hip-hop mixes a mosaic of sounds, from jazz and pop music to rap and rock n’ roll. His music ties back to his youth in High Point, when he listened as an adolescent and teenager to his father’s extensive record collection.
“My father’s record collection was my start for everything,” Caktuz Tree said. “It opened my mind up and my ears up to the entire world, to what music was being played around the world.”
Caktuz Tree has toured Denmark, France and England, bringing the American sound of hip-hop to eager audiences in Europe. While in Copenhagen, he had an experience that brought his High Point connection full circle.
“I had a chance to go to their museum. And it amazed me that they have history of black jazz musicians (from America) going there,” he said.
One of the jazz musicians honored by the Danish museum is the legendary John Coltrane, who grew up in High Point before making his name as a saxophone player in the 1950s and 1960s.
“To see John Coltrane on the other side of the world gave me a resonance that I’ve come a long way, that I’m walking in his footsteps, in the trail that he blazed,” Caktuz Tree said. “And that’s the same thing I want to do for people from High Point now, to show them it can be done.” 
Caktuz Tree will use his self-taught talent with digital technology to release and promote his latest album. The intent is to unveil the recording through traditional CDs and his website, www.caktuztree.com.
“But the main marketing behind it this time is to release it through the new mobile app I designed,” Caktuz Tree said. “The mobile app fits in the palm of your hand – it’s almost like a miniature website. It has the capability for users to not only scan a QR code and automatically open up the app, but also acts as a social community within itself. You can log in with your existing Twitter or Facebook account. It’s practically new in how I’m using it to drop an album.”

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528