As Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group has expanded in the past few years—scooping up artists like Meek Mill, Wale, Stalley and Rockie Fresh—the crew’s geographical focus has shifted beyond the Teflon Don’s home of Miami. This week the label announced two more signings, rappers Fat Trel and Tracy T. While Trel hails from D.C., the home of Maybach’s Wale, the relative newcomer Tracy T comes from one of the few American hip-hop strongholds Maybach has yet to explore: Atlanta. What will Tracy T bring to Maybach? “My whole Atlanta flavor, my whole Atlanta feel,” he says in an interview with XXL. “I’m a Southern artist, so I’ve got lyrics with Atlanta bounce.”
Though Trel’s signing to MMG was hardly shocking—he’d hinted at the deal months before—the reveal of Tracy T on Twitter on Wednesday night was a surprise to some. The Atlanta rapper has been putting in work for years, collaborating with ATL icons like Gucci Mane and Zaytoven, but he’s hardly a household name. That didn’t stop Ross from pursuing the deal.
After hearing Tracy T spit on a track, Ross flew him down to Miami to meet and work with him. According to T, the pair hit it off quickly and didn’t waste time before heading to the studio. “We chopped it up, talked a bit, but mostly we just started working, making songs,” he says. “He treated me like family. It was all love.”
It’s not surprising that T would feel at home in the studio: He says he first jumped on a track when he was 7 years old and he got serious about rapping when he was only 14. Drawing inspiration from Tupac, the Hot Boy$, Lil Boosie and Jay Z, he quickly started writing his own songs and working on building a fan base.
Those local fans are important to him, but he’s also excited about the opportunities that come with being signed to a large label like Maybach, which is distributed through Atlantic. “A lot of people don’t really know me,” he says. “I really wanna feed them a lot of work so they can understand how I’m rocking.”
That could eventually result in an album, an EP or appearances on the group’s Self Made compilations, but for now T is mostly just glad he’s found a home at Maybach. “I’ve been around so many different people that act like they want to sign me or are interested in me, and you can tell the fake ones,” he says. “The genuine ones—when it’s family—you just feel it.”