Trap Is a Local Rapper Working Overtime to Put Phoenix on the Hip-Hop Map

It's no secret that Phoenix is desperately seeking its first rap superstar. The commercial failure of Willy Northpole's debut album this summer simply reinforced Phoenix's status as the biggest U.S. city without a bona fide hip-hop success story. As smaller cities like Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit, and Minneapolis continue to produce top-quality MCs, Phoenix seems to be simply treading water with under-promoted shows and mediocre talent.

If anyone has the ability to put Phoenix on the hip-hop map, it may very well be Trap. With a booming baritone to match his hulking, 6-foot-4-inch frame, Trap towers over his competition, both literally and figuratively. His latest mixtape, 747 Fly, is a testament to his lyrical dexterity and features a bevy of guest stars, from local veterans Roca Dolla and Bookie to L.A. legends MC Eiht and Kam. Suns reserve forward Alando Tucker even makes an appearance.

"I'm probably one of the more well-rounded guys out here, as far as being able to do anything," Trap says. "A lot of people heard 747 Fly, and the sole purpose of me making that mixtape was to show people that there wasn't a style of hip-hop that I couldn't do right now. I've never given that tape to someone [who didn't] come back to me and say, 'You did more than I would've ever imagined you'd be able to do on a mixtape.' I used a lot of different styles. I used a lot of different producers. The blend just came out perfect."

Boastful? Perhaps. But the 21 tracks on 747 Fly more than back up Trap's claim of being a hook-writing specialist. The mixtape is replete with the type of radio-ready choruses that worm their way into your head and camp there for the rest of the day. Trap says the mixtape has been downloaded more than 100,000 times and that he's given away roughly 5,000 physical copies. So why give it away for free?

"I just didn't have the budget at the time to put it in stores and go through that process, so I gave it away for free to get the people familiar with the Trap brand," he says.

The "Trap brand," however, is not so easily defined. It would be easy to label Trap as a gangsta rapper, considering song titles like "American Gangsta" and "Got My Gun," not to mention a portrait on his MySpace page depicting him with twin pistols pointing forward. But Trap shies away from the term.

"I don't necessarily consider myself a gangsta rapper," he says. "I consider myself somebody who was exposed to a lot of different things at an early age. I've been around plenty gangstas and been exposed to that atmosphere, but I'd rather you know who I am as a man before you know my background, as far as where I come from, neighborhood-wise. I consider myself a man trying to make in the world today."

Trap (real name: Tikey Patterson) grew up near 15th Avenue and Buckeye Road, in a neighborhood he calls West Side City. "It's the original west side, before anything was developed past it," he says. He started rapping in his early teens and formed a group called Mercenary Soldiers with his friends.

"Any money that we had to the side, or any money we earned doing whatever jobs we could, we took it and recorded in the studio," Trap says.

One of his cousins gave him the name "Trap," and it stuck.

"A lot of people associate trappin' — or the word 'trap' — with selling drugs or hustling," he says. "It's hustling at a high level. Everybody who knows me knows that it's always business first with me. It's always about progress, and that's where the name came from. It came from me representing that hustle, that grind, that feeling in your stomach when you really tried hard to get it."

Trap is reluctant to discuss specifics of his childhood, but what he does reveal is not atypical of many inner-city stories.

"To tell you the truth, I'd say 75 percent of the people that I grew up with are either in jail or no longer with us," he says. "We all have a story. We all have a background. That's what I convey through my music. That's why a lot of people relate to me, because of the realness, the reality that is exposed through the music."

Now, at 26, Trap lives in Tempe and works a relatively mundane day job, spending the majority of his free time working on his budding music career. He performs live frequently, at local hip-hop shows and opening for national acts like DJ Quik, Too $hort, GZA, and E-40. He shares a studio in west Phoenix with his business partners and frequent collaborators Cinematic, Teddy Keys, and Ace. His upcoming projects include a new mixtape, appropriately titled I Never Sleep, as well as a collaboration with fellow local MCs Hannibal Leq and Lo, called Monstaz Ink.

So will Trap ultimately be the savior that the Phoenix rap scene so desperately craves? It's probably too early to say with any certainty, but if he fails, it won't be for lack of talent or hard work. For now, Trap is just hoping that his upcoming mixtape and the Monstaz Ink project earn him more exposure, which he sees as a bargaining chip in getting to the next level.

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12 comments
Mc Juven Pineda
Mc Juven Pineda

MC Juven aka RhymeDisease is one of the real sicc underground rappers from the city of PHoenix the real master of ceramonies porforming in the streets were ever it takes me so Fuck You if u dont like the underground world.

Aaron Johnson
Aaron Johnson

The hip-hop scene is alive and well in AZ. Just because we don't have people on MTV doesn't mean that we don't have talent. The underground is where it's at and where rappers get their respect. Check out the AOD and our social networking site www.smashmoufentertainment.com! The new AOD album will be out early 2010 and blow up! Best rapper out there right now. Will not only give AZ it's first superstar but will revitalize the stagnant hip-hop scene.

MONEY
MONEY

Go hard my dude. I respect your grind

Robin Cloud
Robin Cloud

I only know Trap from being a myspace buddy, but judging from this article and listening to some of his music, I know that he is a postive young brother who is serious about his business as well as his roots. You will definitely put your city in the spotlight. Do your thing brother. Keep ya head.

Bodango1
Bodango1

trap remember to make the young unite and connect, plus forget about old beefs that dont mean anything but families struggling in the end because of a life lost, and no lives being added to continue with the growth of a people. Aborting because of the lack of education, money, and wisdom is wack. Populate!! get healthty and do it.

la la blue eyes
la la blue eyes

This man is destined to do great things, he exemplifies limitless talent. Trap is what we've all been waiting for. He is true to his word and his fans, give him your full support, he won't disappoint you!

Leo Laydee
Leo Laydee

How lucky am I, to say that I attented high school with such a stunning individual. I always knew that you were different. I am glad to see that your hard work and drive is paying off. I wish you nothing but success and know you will go far!!Best of Luck!! =)

RythmIQ
RythmIQ

Yo brotha Trap!

Congratulations on fabulous article bro ! You deserve it, you work very hard and are one of the most talented artists I have ever worked with including Twista, So how about that ? Your an ace in my book.

God speed my friend,IQ

Social Butterfly Shae Freeman
Social Butterfly Shae Freeman

Both due to his music and overall persona Trap is already a star just waiting for his true moment to shine, no need to compare or contrast Trap from any other local artists, he doesn't need that, his talent stands alone...You know you've got my full support!

JJantzen
JJantzen

May be a good artist, I will check him out for sure--BTW, Atlanta is a bigger city than Phoenix for the record.

Also, check out http://www.NewHipHopDownload.c... for up and coming new hip hop artists.

LV Lavor
LV Lavor

There's no reason why trap can't be that dude to take phoenix to that next level in the Hip Hop Community. I mean you name it, Talent, personality, drive, business sense and a host of other qualities needed to make this happen he has and more. Trap you already know you have my support and anytime you need a vocalist holla at me. Ya'll watch out for this dude. The Best is yet to come.

 
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