The Alternative: Trap Beckham & The ‘Life Is Lit’ EP

Being able to “make it” in today’s society as a musician can be difficult. It requires a massive amount of practice, performance, and developing your voice to standout among your peers.

For some this could be too difficult. We’ve all seen how some artists are “one hit wonders”, who have their fifteen minutes of fame and disappear into the spotlight. Then there are those who find the formula, and are able to make themselves known within the process of creation.

Photo Credit: AKWPR

Most recently, Duval county’s own Trap Beckham has become someone who has been able to find a formula that works, while developing who he is becoming as an artist. A part of that is not just riding the wave of terms such as “lit”, but adding his own spin to it, so that you can truly use it to define the energy you receive when listening to his music.

Trap Beckham released his EP Life Is Lit which serves the purpose of helping the listener have fun and contextualize what lit means to him with all 8 tracks. Not to mention, he is joined by Wild N’ Out & TRL’s own DC Young Fly who provides a few skits to keep you laughing, and DJ Pretty Ricky who is featured on the most “lit” song of the project.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

What was the process for Life is Lit?

I had about 50 records and I didn’t know which ones I wanted to put on my EP and one day I realized I’m out here in LA and my life is lit. I’m all the way from Jacksonville Florida and I’m doing all of this off rap. My life is lit! So that’s how I came up with the name.

Life was lit for me and throughout time I began to link up with producers like Drumma Boy, The Internz, 808 Mafia, and a few of my home boys like Kobe and tech we began to come up with the project. It was a dope experience doing some records across the country. I came up with a few records in LA, some in Miami some in Atlanta and some home in Jacksonville. It’s definitely a dope, upbeat project and I don’t want people to take life for granted man so yeah Life Is Lit.

How was it working with DC Young Fly?

I’ve always been a fan of having comedy in the music project with skits and stuff like that. So I was thinking of different people I could reach out like different internet comedians or different standup comedians to to be a part of the project and I thought that DC Young Fly would be a good fit for what’s going on right now. He’s just a dope comedian. I had my people reach out to him and he was down to do it and killed it man he murdered it. He was dead funny.

Did Backwoods really inspire the song “Backwoods”?

We out in LA where the marijuana is legal out there. SO we’re Californicating out here in California and I realized I fell in love with a whole different wrap. I used to be a Swisher guy but out in Cali, the intake had me realize that man I have fallen in love with backwoods. So that day, I went into the studio and started out with “Backwood, Backwood, Backwood, Backwood, and it all came too. My homie Tech came through and that’s who produced the beat. Shoutout to Tech. That’s what went on, that’s the vibe, and it was dope. It was definitely a lot of fun and a lit experience.

So…”Lil Booties Matter”?

The fact that it’s going the way it’s going right now is crazy. The whole wave right now is crazy. We just dropped a video for it and Cardi B‘s sister Hennessy Carolina was in it. It’s still going up. DJ’s having been going crazy and I’m getting videos every single day, don’t forget to hashtag #LilBootiesMatter women, and man it’s just going up. I do want all the women to go crazy every time they hear it and record it because it’s a movement and we need to let the world know lil booties matter!

How much did you enjoy creating the video?

It was definitely fun and it was dope because it was a full-blown set. A lot of people don’t get to experience a full-blown set. It has everything. It has your clothes laid out, they’ve transformed the garage into a hospital room, the showed up some camera tricks and light tricks too. The women were fine, skin glistening. It was just dope, it was a like a party almost.

Is that the kind of music you want to make for your career? Something to have a good time to?

I’m always going to make the feel good music but I’m also going to dabble into the conscious music where I’m able to go more in-depth with my life and the things I’m going through. You know, it’s a time for everything. Right now it’s a party. I am a versatile artist and I want people to know that I have 10, 15, 20 different styles from right now and it’s going to be a crazy year with 2018 coming up.

Your from Jacksonville, FL and started recording at 12. How did it all begin?

Duval! I originally started [recording music] with a tape recorder and that’s where my momma messed up. Once I started on there it was a wrap. I knew what I wanted to do. That tape recorder I recorded my first songs on it and I even performed at a few schools. I don’t remember the words to my first song but I do remember it was called Rolling Deep and it was a classic. I started when I was young just writing little raps with my brothers and in front of my family and stuff like that. When I was around 8 I started writing raps just for the heck of it.

Who are your musical inspirations?

T-Pain and Kayne West are my top two favorites of all time. They were both so versatile and different and were able to take in so many styles. As far as other music that inspired me The Ying Yang Twins, Lil Jon was big for me, Trick Daddy, the 90’s had Uncle Luke, 95 South and the 69 Boyz. Then trap music. I love trap music as well and that’s where the edge comes from as well. Jeezy, I love his music, love Boosie, Wayne of course Lil Wayne. It’s just a bunch of music.

When you won your first Duval Diamond Award, what did that mean?

It solidified me having a solid talent just in case I was questioning myself. I had a lot of awards and fairs but when I won those it was like I was getting recognized. It became a big moment for me. Before then I do feel as if I was serious about it but then I felt like I was good enough to take [my music] all the way up. From there I just wanted to keep getting better and better.

Your first big hit was Birthday Chick. How did that record develop?

Birthday Chick was crazy because I had that record two and a half years before being signed last year to Def Jam. It was a record in Florida that was going, clubs were heating it up and ladies were heating it up, and it helped my career stabilize and helped show money come in and it was consistent. Once I got signed it blew up and went crazy around the country. Everybody started sending in videos, dancing to it on their birthdays, all types of celebrities like Leslie Jones, Zendaya, Toya Wright, LeBron James and Savannah James in the car with JR Smith. It was a lot of support across the country and even the Kardashians for Khloe Kardashian‘s birthday.

What’s crazy about that song is that it hasn’t even hit its peak. It’s still going up everyday. It’s just one of those records. So that’s a record that just stays.

You produced “Top Of The Line”. When putting it together, did you know that it was going to blow?

Yeah man I put it together and it’s just a certain way songs are structured in my head, when you’re mapping the beta or putting instruments in the beat or even when you’re writing the record with the pockets that you’re in doing so and all of it matters. I wrote the hook, made 85% of the beat, my homie Beastmode came and finished it. Beastmode is my right hand man. He finishes most of my beats that I start. Between Beastmode and the Internz they finish them. When I start them I know the sound that I want and the tempo that i want and they will add their musical background to the songs and from there it becomes a big record.

How did you and BEAST MODE first meet?

It was crazy! This is the first time anybody has asked me this. I was rapping and making a song in my house with the window open rapping and rapping. All I hard out the window was ay! ay! and I got mad because someone is interrupting my recording! So I look out the window and the guy is asking me hey are you rapping, are you recording? I’m like, yeah? Who are you? At this time I’m 15 and he’s 16. From there he told me he was Timothy and a few weeks later and I’m playing him some beats outside. We start playing touch football outside and this dude is running like we on a big field outside. But we’re in the street. From there I started calling him Beastmode. That’s where his name came from.

I kept hanging with him and one day he said I want to make beats. I told him just start working on them and that’s when he made his first couple beats. From there we started working together on them. I was there when he started making beats. So we’ve been hanging out since we were 15, 16.

What’s crazy is that with the top of line record, the feature I had on it cost $2000. In that time, I’m 17, I don’t have $2000. But Beastmode got in an accident where he was crossing the street and got hit by a car. He received a settlement from it and with that money he paid for the feature and that sparked my whole career.

He really believed in it and he put his money in to this when we had nothing and no reason to do it and it blew up. It was crazy. People make songs all the time and you know, I’ve probably made 1000 sings before that. But the one we put the money behind went crazy.

The music you create is so organic. It’s all based on how you feel. Is that a way to stay true to who you are as an artist?

Right, and it stamps how you felt. If that day you got into an argument and you really feeling like that you’ll go in and get personal on a record that’s good [to me] because once your feelings change you won’t be able to tap into it that same day. You have to get it while it’s fresh. You have to live life to experience different emotions and feelings. So you’ll be able to contribute it to your music and stuff like that. You have to just live.

What’s that one thing that you’re getting when you “make it”?

It’s the typical, the big house and cars. If I can get a house and realistically take care of every bill for a year that’s plenty of time to run it up. You have to grind hard no matter what age you are as long as you’re able . My mom is still out here grinding just like everybody’s mom. If I can take care of all her bills and her car note just for a year or two and allow her to stack her money and live life how freely she wants and to work less and have more fun that would be perfect.

 

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About Melvin Taylor II

Melvin Taylor II is a Chicago native who moved to New York City and is going after the dream. Currently he is both producing for Bold TV and hosts his radio show “The Alternative with Melvin Taylor” which can be found on WHCR 90.3 FM-NY (Tuesday 3a-6a est). You can also find him on stage at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) performing improv or writing for Respect Magazine. In the future, he hopes to host on a national platform while creating more opportunities for talented individuals who are looking to find their way.