Ten years after Krooked Treez erupted into southern California’s reggae-hip hop scene, the dynamic pairing of lyricist and emcee O’Brown and vocalist Bz-Bwai comes full circle on their new studio album, You Better Belize It, released August 12, 2022. The album is a love letter to the Caribbean nation of Belize, and the deep roots from which Krooked Treez draws constant inspiration. From paradise personified to everlasting familial bonds, lead singles “River Flow” and “Belize” celebrate life, energy and healing through music.
Caribbean anecdotes have permeated Krooked Treez’s reggae-infused brand of hip hop-rock since the group’s inception. As they should – O’Brown’s family comes from the village of Crooked Tree in Belize, and Bz-Bwai called the small nation home throughout his childhood, with roots from Cayo. But for the first time on You Better Belize It, Krooked Treez leans fully into its authentic reggae roots, immortalizing the culture of Belize in seven original tracks.
Central to that culture is family. You Better Belize It is dedicated to O’Brown’s father Burton Brown, who had a profound influence on the Cypress Hill prodigy before passing away from cancer in 2020. From track to track, O’Brown’s rhythmic verses interject stories and memories about his beloved dad – revelations of gratitude, legacy and eternal love.
Krooked Treez’s beginnings are owed to Burton Brown, who introduced O’Brown to Bz-Bwai after hearing of his vocal talent from Belize locals. The pair fatefully joined forces in Los Angeles with the release of their flagship single “Rebel” in 2012, which quickly gained momentum and an ever-growing fan base in the SoCal music scene.
Following the song’s positive reception, O’Brown and Bz-Bwai hand picked the all-pro lineup that would round out the band – California bassist Bobby Zen, guitarist Josh “Stoney Eye” Cardinali and drummer Rene Marquez. Krooked Treez released their debut album Higher Place in 2013. The group’s sophomore album Born Calizeans followed in 2019, featuring Sen Dog of Cypress Hill, Sid Wilson of Slipknot, Kemo of Delinquent Habits, Moi of Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Karim Israel of Arise Roots, Tim Burton of the Mighty Mighty Boss Tones and Brevi, Nev and The Black Water OG.
Krooked Treez has performed for audiences as large as 100,000 at major music festivals worldwide and shared the stage with seasoned acts like 311, Nas, Dirty Heads, Matisyahu, Slightly Stoopid, Bassnectar, Korn, System of a Down, Fishbone, Rebelution, Ziggy Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Stephen Marley, Steel Pulse, System of a Down, WuTang, Katchafire, SOJA, Iration and Pepper.
While tight arrangements and rich sounds have always permeated the group’s intrinsic aura, Krooked Treez enters a new era of reverence for reggae and their own diverse roots with its latest release. Imagery of clear blue water and cashew wine invites listeners to slow down just long enough to catch the Caribbean vibe. There – transported to a small town where the trees are crooked – the music invites you to live in the present, because life moves fast and this moment is all we'll ever have.