As the unofficial, but pretty much official birthplace of hip-hop, the Bronx has molded more than a few names in the rap game’s pantheon of legends. It’s also been shamefully slept-on, if you let Tray Pizzy tell it. The latest MC tasked with carrying on the borough’s rich, but arguably under appreciated legacy has made a personal mission out of using the sights and sounds of his community bring the Bronx back to prominence.

“It influenced me a lot. It still influences me to this day,” Pizzy tells XXL of his upbringing in the streets where hip-hop got its start. “Just the environment, it gives me a lot to talk about. Just what i've been through, it helped shape who I am today. A lot of influence comes from The Bronx."

Pizzy is on a mission to change the conversation when people think of the "forgotten borough." "We’re like the forgotten borough. It started here," he continues. "We don't get no recognition now, it's like nothing comes out of The Bronx. I just want to be that staple, help bring us back into the light where we need to be. There's a lot of things happening out there, just people either too scared to come or they just don't care."

The rapper is keeping his name hot in the streets and on the internet with his latest project, 50 First Dates. Rife with bangers and relentless East Coast energy, the mixtape put Pizzy in the spotlight and even earned him a cosign from the great Funkmaster Flex. In 2016, Pizzy is a name to look out for. Here’s why you should get to know him.

Name: Tray Pizzy

Hometown: The Bronx, N.Y.

Age: 28

I grew up listening to: “DMX. That's my favorite rap artist ever. A lot of old school stuff, Marvin Gaye. Curtis Mayfield, stuff like that. I still listen to that stuff now. “

Most people don’t know: “… I’m pretty much an open book.”

My standout records or moments to date have been: “Probably ‘Marlboro.’ That probably got the biggest response so far. We haven't really had an anthem, in a long time, so that worked. I have to perform that every time I go out. Even with a new project, I still have to perform that song.”

“I say when I get on stage and everybody knows my lyrics, that's a standout moment. I had so many, like, I'm so momentary. I'm a momentary satisfied person, so when something happens, I'm like alright what's next? I had so many moments, like when Flex drops bombs on my song, that was — we was in the house going crazy.”

My style’s been compared to: “Never really heard any comparisons. People say my energy is like DMX, but other than that, I really haven't heard a comparison."

My goal in hip-hop is: “To bring it back to The Bronx. Then, I just want to show people that no matter what you go through in life, if you have a dream, you just follow it. You chase it. I'm not supposed to be here at all, and I can stop at any moment. I can let anything bother me, and deter me from my goal. It's just my goal in hip hop, it's my goal in life, to show people that you never stop. Never complain, just chase something and get it. Everybody think there is this misconception where you gotta be a certain type of person to be in rap, you gotta have these certain types of plugs, I don’t have none of that and i'm sitting here with you. I would have never have thought that, if you were to ask me last year if I'd be sitting here, I'd be like, no. But I always had these goals in my mind, you just gotta chase it.”

I’m gonna be the next: “Tray Pizzy is the next Tray Pizzy. I don't know. Everybody talks this 'next' stuff and then somebody comes with a song and blows you out the water. You never know who is next, sometimes you miss your turn and you might not be next. I just hope to be here, that's it. I just hope to be here, I don't care about when my time comes. I just know it's coming. I'm just waiting. I'm just gonna be the next me.”

Follow Tray Pizzy on Twitter and SoundCloud.

Standout: 50 First Dates

"Let It Go"

"My Borough" Featuring YF

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