Local Wire

Phoenix Rapper Helps Give Voice to Teenage Rapper Without a Jaw

Isaiah Acosta (left) had never heard one of his rap songs brought to life before he teamed up with Trap House.
Isaiah Acosta (left) had never heard one of his rap songs brought to life before he teamed up with Trap House. Torben Bernhard
"How often do you get an opportunity to truly use your craft to really be a voice for someone who doesn't have one?"

Trap House sounds humbled and sincere when he says this over the phone. A local rapper who's also an anti-gun violence activist, Trap House is no stranger to giving back to the community. He's given voice to the voiceless before, but not quite like this.

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals recently posted a touching video with Trap House that has gone viral. The focus of the video (directed by award-winning filmmaker Torben Berhard) is on another local rapper, 17-year old Isaiah Acosta. Acosta is like most other young rap hopefuls: he spends his days making beats and filling notebooks with rhymes. There is one crucial difference that sets him apart: Acosta was born without a lower jaw.

Acosta was born with a rare and debilitating medical condition: he had no pathways to allow oxygen to flow into his body. Mute and without a lower jaw, doctors told his parents that their boy would probably never walk. Despite the nearly insurmountable odds, Acosta was able to walk and learned how to communicate through a combination of unique hand signals and using his phone.

Acosta's rapping dreams are unprecedented. Aside from Kanye West's debut single, where he spat rhymes through jaws that were wired shut due to an accident, there's never really been a case of someone trying to rap who's physically incapable of rapping. It seemed like an impossible dream, but thanks to the efforts of Phoenix Children's Hospital, the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals charity, and Trap House, it was a dream that actually came true.

"A gentlemen from the charity reached out to me and told me this awesome story about this kid, born without a lower jaw and completely mute, who has aspirations about being an artist," Trap House said. "I was honored to be involved."

Trap House's involvement was crucial: he would become Isaiah's voice on record, rapping verses that Acosta penned about his own struggles.

They recently dropped their first collaboration together, "Oxygen to Fly." The single features uplifting melodies and a positive message from Acosta, who doesn't sugarcoat anything about his condition. Trap House raps Acosta's rhymes as though they were his own, giving them a voice that's laced with strength, authority, and compassion.

Acosta's story has become so inspiring that the 17-year old will be a speaker at SXSW. He and Trap House also have plans to release more songs in the future.

"We're working on other material," Trap House said. "This was our very first record together, and I felt like he had something specific that he wanted to say. It was kind of his coming out, so it had to be serious. It had to have that tone."

According to his family, Acosta has had a lifetime of words pent up in his head- there will be no shortage of jams in his future

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ashley Naftule