There's not a lot of rappers coming out of Madison, Wis. However, Trapo is someone that is making some great music and gaining momentum. The 18-year-old MC just graduated from high school and is releasing some of the most refreshing music this year. He made his debut with The Black Beverly Hills Ep. last year and caught major attention outside of his town with SHE four months later. Last month, Trapo dropped Shade Trees, a wonderful blend of neo-soul and hip-hop that finds the budding spitta showcasing the flexibility in his vocals.

"Shade Trees is basically me showing the world how serious I am with music," he tells XXL over the phone. "Shade Trees is me showing -- because I’m 18 years old -- you can be as young as I am and drop timeless music; quality music that people can play forever. My goal with the album was to drop timeless music and set my own sound. I feel like Shade Trees has a sound that’s a lot different from the music that is out."

With the project getting serious spins on SoundCloud and a special tour that just wrapped up, Trapo is one of the new faces to pay attention to in 2017.

Name: Trapo

Age: 18

Hometown: Madison, Wis.

I grew up listening to: “I grew up listening to a lot of neo-soul music. When I started getting into rap and hip-hop I started with 50 Cent, Nelly, things like that. As I got into high school and started to do music on my own I started messing with people that I could identify with like Isaiah Rashad and The Internet, all the dope neo-soul hip-hop artists who got that sound, that melodic rap sound.

"I’ve been writing for a long time. I was in third grade when I was writing raps in a notebook. I used to name it like track one, page-by-page shit in elementary school. I took [rapping] serious my junior year. That’s when I started recording and putting it out and send it to blogs. My senior year is when I came to the conclusion that this is what I want to do with my life. I was getting good attention and good feedback. I know I’m talented and the music I make is going to sound different than a lot of people. I knew I had what it takes to do it full-time if I put my all into it.

"I never wanted to do anything but music my whole life. I could sing when I was real little. I used to go to church and be in the choir. I knew I had skills, I knew I had some type of talent. Now it’s about perfecting it."

Most people don’t know: “I’m real big on writing. I write a lot of stories and that all ties with the way I make my music. A lot of my music sounds like I’m telling a story. I don’t write books or anything like that but if I wasn’t a rapper I’ll be writing stuff. I like to write to get thoughts out."

My style’s been compared to: “When I first started people were comparing me to Chance [The Rapper] and that’s going to come with like any rapper nowadays that’s going to rap and sing. Mick Jenkins is also one I was compared to early on when I started. I don’t make music with somebody else’s art in mind. It comes out of my soul, the way I’m feeling and my mind.

"As far as my sound I can’t really put a label to it right now because it’s so early. It’s definitely hip-hop, neo-soul and elements of rock in it. I’m not a rock artist by any means but the production takes piece of all genres to make a new sound."

My standout records or moments to date have been: “My biggest moment was when I did FreakFest in my hometown in Madison. For me personally that was a big moment. It was a huge as crowd and a bunch of people singing my songs from my city. It was different when you do a show and the crowd genuinely fucks with you."

My goal in hip-hop is to: “My goal is to create a huge fan base and help as many people as I can. I know a lot of people, including myself, depend on music in daily life; just to live and feel comfortable and change their mood. I want to be that for people. Kind of like Kanye West and Kid Cudi, I want to be in that lane.

"When it’s all said and done I want to be someone everybody remembers and have some type of emotional attachment to. I want to continue to put new sounds out. I get shit out that people want to hear that didn’t think it existed yet."

I’m gonna be the next
: “I would say I’m going to be the next legend, the next icon. My approach to music is different from a lot of new artists. I approach music with my mind already set that I want to be a legend, I want to be icon, I want my catalog to be amazing."

Follow Trapo on Twitter and SoundCloud.

Standout: "Chicago"

Shade Trees


The Black Beverly Hills Ep.

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