MC Trap Taps '80s Drama and Real Life in Equal Measure

In 2008, NBC tried to reboot the legendary '80s program Knight Rider, casting Justin Bruening as the son of David Hasselhoff's Michael Knight, and casting Val Kilmer as the voice of KITT, a hyper-intelligent car.

Ty Patterson — the Phoenix-based MC who raps as Trap — was not onboard with the show. "With the Mustang?" he asks incredulously. "Nah, I couldn't get into that."

Trap's latest mixtape, I Am Michael Knight, aims for a more authentic feel, incorporating '80s vibes, the original Knight Rider theme, and some choice samples of dialogue from William Daniels (the original voice of KITT). Featuring production by DJ John Blaze, the mix is wide open: "Billz," featuring Willy Northpole, mines catchy club-rap styles, and "In That Trap" boasts blissful Auto-Tuned vocals and gauzy synths, while tracks like "Landlord" and "Reagonomics" practically snap under the weight of Trap's ferocious vocals.

"My motivation comes from getting excited about a concept for a project, as opposed to just doing the music," Trap says of the album's Hoff-heavy theme. "So with the whole I Am Michael Knight scenario, it pushed me in a direction to make it more of a street album than a mixtape. All of my projects have been 100 percent original, but for this one, I wanted it to be as if it were a commercial release, so I made the production as big as possible. The songs, the concepts — it's all on a big scale."

The big production suits Trap's voice, raspy and booming. He's been honing that voice for 10 years, and he devoted himself to making music in 2009. And massive production is more than just a calling card — in the rising Phoenix hip-hop scene, it's becoming a necessity. The city has often been viewed as a younger sibling to rap towns nationwide, but that's changing, if you ask Trap.

"By the day, I'm more impressed by the artists releasing music in Phoenix," Trap says. "I think [about] Lifted, what he just did with the Kanye West record. I see Hannibal Leq on MTV — it's just an exciting time for Arizona artists. I feel like I'm part of that wave; I feel like I represent the front line of Arizona hip-hop. I'm just playing my part."

And while much of I Am Michael Knight finds Trap exploring hip-hop bravado from a unique angle, he steps out of the way with the album's tender and upsetting "Jhessye," dedicated to 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley, who went missing in October 2011. Rather than take sides (for or against Shockley's mother, Jerice Hunter, considered the number one suspect in the disappearance), Trap sticks to the facts — noting that by the time the police jumped on the case, the trail was already cold:

"We knew about Kim Kardashian / And how Dick Cheney's shooting was an accident / And how America's become so passionate/Except when it come to young, black Africans."

Trap doesn't insert himself into the drama or use the song as a tactless promotional tool. He simply didn't want Jhessye's name out of the spotlight: "I came to the conclusion that I wanted to make a song about it, but I wasn't even going to share it with people. But I let DJ John Blaze hear it, and when he heard it, he told me I should release it. I released it the day I recorded it; it took off on its own. I want her to be remembered, and I want to the situation to continue being spread as far as having light shined on it, so people know exactly what's going on here."

Though Trap can be counted on to provide social commentary when needed, his next project promises to keep things as fun as Michael Knight, with more pop culture appeal, too.

"My next project is called Kiss My Converse," he laughs. "It comes from the movie The Last Dragon. [The characters] Sho'nuff always makes the people he doesn't like 'kiss his Converse.' I just try and make it fun, man. If it's not fun I'm not going to enjoy it. These little things push me to elevate the music."

 
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27 comments
Tywon  Nicole Belford
Tywon Nicole Belford

I love all the Trap House projects he shows us we can live out any dreams we have keep up the work music matter...

Pete Aranda III
Pete Aranda III

The only local artist I listen to. This tape was ill from the jump, my opinion of Trap is that he is in a whole different league as far as AZ talent, and that's based off of listening and not knowing dude on a personal level so you know it's real. Music speaks for it's self.

Itbear41
Itbear41

Keeps it real his spit is nice much success in your future,what I see....

Minime2580
Minime2580

I been peeping his music out for the past couple months. I really like the effort he put into the missing az girl. He has a very good work ethic. Kept it up you will make it happen

Sapphire Thickasshell Banks
Sapphire Thickasshell Banks

I jus became a fan i don't listen to rap much but that song Jhessye, really touched me and from then on i have listen to wat this young man has put out, keep up the good work Trap, people are listening, and stay blessed!!!

Slim
Slim

Animal Planet!

Melissa Sweets
Melissa Sweets

I love how personal and passionate he is about his music. His opinions are carefully articulated and I believe just as passionate. He hasn't forgotten his own struggles and seems to genuinely encourage other Phoenix underground artists. I believe he works very hard to keep it personal where as MANY other artists "pay someone" to answer there messages. Trap is always on Facebook! Much Luv and respect.

LAYLA
LAYLA

Ive been a fan for a few years now. I believe his ability to cross over any genre & touch so many types of people has reminded so many of us that we really are all going thru so many of the same things. His musical talent is a big part, yet he has so many components. He gives you the feeling that he is going to be extremely famous yet still have the ability to care about what's important right here at home. My two little boys are extremely upset overJesseye ~ because they are close to her age & we live just blocks from her home. Thank You is an understatement for how I feel towards Trap for making that little ANGEL relevant again....in the media etc. Look forward to more out of this artist, I believe we can count on that.

Chicago $lim
Chicago $lim

a couple traks stood out more than others... i was disappointed and not disappointed at tha same damn time lol... but i'm looking foward 2 yo nex mixtape... #Salute

Yungblak2
Yungblak2

Real talk bruh bruh.....hell of a interview....keep doing what u do...u know OTS got ya back....

yhustla623
yhustla623

Very good points on arziona hip hop I must admit you gmoe and yung wax and da beast are an inspiration to me your guyes grind is amazing everyday I learn new ish from trap and now you pushing harder its all love g keep grinding salute

Eddie Bustos
Eddie Bustos

Keep up the hard work it will all pay off soon

Emoryjeromep
Emoryjeromep

Not too many artist can flip styles like Trap and still deliver good music "One Hundred" to "Playa Made" very talented and creative individual......Support This Man's Music He represents AZ well. Can't Wait to here that "Kiss My Converse"

Ant James
Ant James

Trap is a factor in the city of PHX. I support his music and movement. If you haven't downloaded his "I Am Michael Knight" mixtape go get it asap.

Don Moroko
Don Moroko

#salute to u bro ain't to many Movin like u that's how u stand out u got my support 100% #KEEPITWEST

Gboi-ent Ceo NI Gboi
Gboi-ent Ceo NI Gboi

My hat goes off to u bro,, Salute.. keep doing what you doing.. The city is behind you 100%..
You are an inspiration and proof of what can be done when you believe in what you do. RESPECT HOMIE..

Ygreathouse
Ygreathouse

Great article..You are truly a inspiration to young black men every where.You are more than a local artist your talent its so diverse and appealing and you deserve all the credit.

Monique
Monique

Great job Trap, your hard work and dedication doesn't go until noticed! Keep up the great work.

Makemeover999
Makemeover999

When you have nothing but positive feedback from the public, that certainly speaks volumes. Keep doing what you do and I will continue to support you.

Kgamboa001
Kgamboa001

Trap is the best local talent out here in Az. I have so much love and respect for him as an artist and as a person. When he came out with that song for Jhessye I was happy to see that someone out there still cared and was praying for her return. It seemed after a few days people started forgetting about Jhessye and were not asking the questions they needed to. But trap kept her name alive and had people still praying for her safe and happy return. Trap is a great guy and you can tell he has a big heart. Trap I want you to know ill be here supporting your music forever. You are favorite by far. Favorite songs from you are " Jhessye" , "Chuck Taylor's" and "Landlord"

Queenlisa Sells
Queenlisa Sells

Great artist! !!! Heard about this cat through another local artist name "JUICE "..a couple of years ago...true hip hop!!! I'm glad that he has continued to bless Arizona ...with his great talent! I salute you!!

Belfordtywon
Belfordtywon

I love all his projects he do reach out other peoples to go forward with there dreams

Music Lover
Music Lover

Trap is definitely a leading figure in the AZ hip hop scene... I hate to call him "local talent" because his music is demographically appealing.

 

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