Heavily influenced by the revolutionary culture and soulful sound of Motown, Tree of Lyfe born Bruce Allen Jr., naturally gravitated to music and art. Raised in the outskirts of Metro Detroit, in the relatively small city of Inkster. He was driven to become an activist and artist after being exposed to social and racial injustice in the struggling neighborhood.
"The town" primarily occupied by “African-Americans” where civil rights and political activist Malcolm X once lived, was an inspiration to him. At age 16, he was accepted into Washtenaw Community College to study graphic design illustration in 2001. Eager to explore other areas of art and design, he found a new love in the world of fashion. In that same year, he started his first business, “Definition Clothing” with his childhood friend Ethan Cowling. This business gave him the encouragement and confidence to make the move to Los Angeles at 19 and further his studies and creative career.
With the sounds of Lauryn Hill, 2Pac, Nas, Mos Def, Jay-Z and Kanye providing much of the soundtrack to his life, he arrived in Los Angeles and attended the Fashion Institute of Design and merchandising (FIDM) for a degree in Apparel Manufacturing. It was only his second week on the west coast when he was invited to a party and participated in a freestyle cypher with members of Three-Six Mafia, who then insisted he take rap seriously. This sparked greater interest to investigate the hip-hop world. From there, he would go on to meet tons of people involved in the industry, including INF, who would go on to be one of his greatest mentors, friends, and inspirations in music.
After graduating FIDM, life intensified. He and his partner gave up on Definition and he eventually found himself homeless, living in a Ford Escort Downtown LA. Keeping his resolve to not give up, he stuck it out, and eventually landed a job at The Walt Disney Studios. Life appeared to take a positive turn. After receiving news of an apartment approval, he called his mother to share the good news. Not 30 seconds after hanging up, a semi-truck in front of him slammed on the breaks abruptly. Bad breaks prevented a complete stop and he slammed into the back of the truck. Although the semi had minimal damage, his car/home was totaled. He called INF who came and helped diffuse the situation and invited him to stay in his pool-house recording studio until his apartment was ready.
Living in a studio put him around many musicians where he recognized musical talent wasn't something to take for granted. It was there he began to understand the power of music, words, and how much they influenced him. He finally began recording full songs; writing songs in 16 bar format with hooks, which was a welcoming challenge as he was accustomed to freestyling. The idea of a Hip-Hop career seemed very attainable and intriguing.
Being driven by the creative minds around him, he wrote, recorded, and released 2 mixtape projects on his own, titled “The Progression” and “The Progression II”. With the creative juices flowing, his interest in art and fashion were brought back to life, and “Brilliance Stays Driven” was born. Brilliance was meant to serve as a collective for creatives, revolutionary thought and awareness, and ultimately became a lifestyle. Following the knowledge of giants, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Huey P. Newton, he knew that Mis-education and being unaware was the combination to failure, mental and spiritual slavery. With his role models putting their lives on the line for their lives and others, this way of thinking became the model of which he began to govern his thoughts, and alter a dark reality.
The year 2014 brought about a change of heart toward the Rap world. With changes within the culture and its direction, he felt his love for hip-hop and entertainment begin to fade. Reminiscent of the early Rock and Roll phenomenon popularized by Chuck Berry, Hip-Hop went Pop and became a tool for the establishment it once rebelled against.
It was time to shift the focus from trying to pull together a team, and become one himself. It became time to stop looking for a way out and become the way out. It was time to introduce a new thought process with a new genre for the world, "Soul-Hop for the Hip Soul". It was then that “Tree of Lyfe” found his place.
On 8-11-2016 Tree of Lyfe released his first mixtape "The Growth" which is available for download here: https://treeoflyfe.bandcamp.com/album/the-growth He is also currently working on a Soul-Hop for the Hip-Soul EP entitled "The Other Side of Paradise".