'Til I Collapse
Latin trap star Eladio Carrión incorporates lessons he learned from hip-hop into his music.
Interview: Bianca Torres
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

The power of manifestation is real. Just ask Latin trap star Eladio Carrión. The 27-year-old Puerto Rican artist grew up listening to rappers like Eminem and 50 Cent, who he also learned lessons from that are applied to his own music to this day. Eladio started dropping Latin trap bangers in 2017, and since then, he’s garnered millions of views online. Tracks like “Kemba Walker” and “Sauce Boy Freestyle” reflect his admiration for rap. But, dropping the “Tata (Remix)” was a victorious moment for Eladio. Here, the “Cuarentena” rhymer shares his hip-hop influences, working with Bobby Shmurda, lessons he’s learned from 50 Cent and Eminem and more.

You grew up in different places including Alaska, Hawaii and Baltimore. Did that influence the type of hip-hop music you liked?

Maybe living in the states, yeah, but in Alaska, you don’t listen to anything. My influence, musically, has to come from my sisters. They’re both 10 years older than me. When I was like, in the first grade, I’d be hearing [50 Cent’s] Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Nas, Eminem’s Curtain Call. Jay-Z, Big L. I was introduced to hip-hop very early. Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, all of that.

Your songs sound heavily influenced by hip-hop. How does rap culture impact the way you do music?

They’re always on top of, producers especially, on top of the new sounds. My delivery also, ’cause my favorite rappers like Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Eminem, 50, each of those rappers taught me something. Like 50 Cent, he taught me the importance of feeling sure about yourself when you rap. Eminem taught me about deliveries [and] wordplay. Big Sean also, his delivery and wordplay is crazy. Lil Wayne, you don’t have to wait every four bars to do a punch line. You could do a punch line every bar. Every bar there could be a punch line, you feel me?

How did you connect with Bobby Shmurda for the “Tata (Remix)”?

I manifested that so hard. I would write to Bobby… When we met it was crazy ’cause he was looking at his DMs and I had written to Bobby maybe twice every year, once every year, saying, “Bro, once you get out, we’re doing something.” And, when I did the “Tata (Remix),” there was rumors of Bobby, he might come out [of jail]. Then, when Bobby came out, I was like, “Yo, José [J Balvin], Bobby’s out.” He got in touch with Bobby’s team. I got a FaceTime call from Balvin with Bobby on the other line. He was like, “All that shit! We gonna kill it, bro!” We went to his apartment. He killed that in like, 30 minutes.

Who’s your favorite rapper at the moment?

That’s a hard one because people are dropping like crazy. I love Future, I’m a big Future fan. But, I’ma have to say right now, I like [Lil] Durk. I like what Durk’s doing. He’s been at it for a while. I feel like it’s his time right now.

I like Lil Baby, too. He’s a beast. I like 42 Dugg, too. He put out a song with Future [“Maybach”] that was dope. I love that song.

Who are other rappers that you’d want to do a collab with?

Lil Durk, Lil Baby, hit me up. [I might be] working with Kodak [Black]. Young Thug. Oh my god. I would kill for a song with Young Thug. Future. I would love to do a track with Metro Boomin—that would be amazing. With Mike WiLL Made-It. Drake, obviously. That’s gonna happen, he just doesn’t know.

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2021 issue including our cover story featuring the XXL awards board members, Juice Wrld's mother reflects on her son, Big30 gears up for his debut album, a look back at the history of remixing hip-hop songs and more.

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