When you grow up in Virginia dreaming big often seems hard to do. Especially for those seeking a fun nightlife or a career in the music industry. Big market cities such as LA, New York, and Atlanta are a few notable areas where music artists have been able to make a name for themselves. However, in a state like Virginia you will be lucky enough to catch a show or have a decent experience with its nightlife.
A few young men that started off promoting parties in their hometown created the 757’s famous party movement called “Traptastic”– a collective that hosts hype parties that feature performances from well known artists in the area. The team then quickly changed the cities night life for the better, meanwhile changing the lives of many inspiring music artists. For example, Roc Nation’s newest signee Levi Carter headlined the show a few times. Other artists such as Bobby Blaze and Young Crazy have been able to build a buzz and a name for themselves by frequently performing during Traptastic. Aside from the collective changing Norfolk’s dull nightlife by giving young people a place to escape, Traptastic founders like Rodney Smith and Sean “Slutty” Roscoe made big dreams attainable for the average “local” artist. Young Crazy, Rodney Smith, and Sean Roscoe sat down with RESPECT. to discuss the success of Traptastic as well as their journey to becoming who they are today.
Well known artists like Roc Nation’s Levi Carter, Bobby Blaze, and Young Crazy have been able to build a buzz and a name for themselves by frequently performing during Traptastic. Aside from the collective changing Norfolk’s dull nightlife by giving young people a place to escape, Traptastic founders like Rodney Smith and Sean “Slutty” Roscoe made big dreams attainable for the average “local” artist. Young Crazy, Rodney Smith, and Sean Roscoe sat down with RESPECT. to discuss the success of Traptastic as well as their journey to becoming who they are today. Read the interview below!
RESPECT.: What made you go from promoting at the clubs to making it into something more?
Rodney: I wanted to be a promoter to have fun and I wanting to get into the clubs for free. We wanted something more when we started traveling.
RESPECT.: Prior to the success of Traptastic and Young Crazy’s music career, what were you guy doing?
Rodney: I was born in New Jersey and I was 13 when I moved to Virginia. I was throwing parties at clubs that weren’t the best and I was promoting at the time as well.
Young Crazy: I was a regular guy and I had a very hood mentality. I had a lot of nice things and I talked about it a lot. I was also doing a lot extra sh** so My homeboy told me I should rap. I then started rapping about my life and it was interesting to others. I was 18 when I started rapping and I knew a lot of people in Norfolk, VA. They have supported me since the very beginning.
RESPECT.: From the start, what was the vision for the Traptastic parties?
Rodney: I just wanted to play music I feel like people would want to listen to. Most of the time it was new and underground music. I also wanted to play music from the people around here that made great music. I wanted to give them a place to perform and to give themselves a name.
RESPECT.: Who are the original Traptastic artists?
Rodney: Young Crazy, Masego, Levi Carter, and a couple more people. Young Crazy and Levi Carter were performing at same time.
Young Crazy: Yeah! Lil bro used to always be right beside me.
Rodney: Levi started rapping and we all helped him pull it all together
RESPECT.: You go so hard for the talent around the area. What gave you the drive to support local artists? Were you ever a rapper, producer, etc. Did you ever do music?
Rodney: I have never done music and I always supported the artists around here. I always did it. It was always something important to me and it made sense to me.
Sean: No, never did that. I would always be with Rodney and basically Rodney just supports everyone. Rodney was just giving them a better path and showing the artists the way.
There is a good amount of violence transpiring in the 757 now.
RESPECT.: What was 757’s night life like before Traptastic?
Rodney: It was boring!
Young Crazy: It was so boring and it was forcing people to do bad sh**. There is nothing else to do, plus we barely have jobs out here so you have no choice but to do bad stuff. So when you come around with something fun to do its great. Some people from the hood where I’m from come to Traptastic one time and they love it because its fun. You don’t have to be in the club watching your back. If you go there you are in for some fun, see some girls, get drunk for the low, get in for the low. Traptastic is the sh** and really changed the culture out here.
RESPECT.: Young Crazy how did you end up meeting the Traptastic crew?
Young Crazy: Ron booked me for a show and he paid me. He paid me for a party when I was first starting. He was the first person to ever pay me for a show. Ron paying me with money made me respect rap more. I felt if one person can pay me then the rest of the people out here will pay me. We have always been close.
RESPECT.: Who is Traptastic?
Young Crazy: Its a lot of people. It’s a movement. If you are a proud supporter, you get the shirts and you get to be a member.
Rodney: There is a bunch of them. I am going to try my very best to list some: Me, Sean, IPM, Young Crazy, Bobby Blaze, Masego and many more.
RESPECT.: The Traptastic founders appropriately gained a lot of respect because they help artists rise and become more known. What has the journey with the artists been like?
Rodney: The journey has been good because I have been benefitting my friends, rappers, and everyone as a whole. I have been getting the artists booked for shows and performing at places like the Norva and more. It’s a fun and packed crowd and no one has been able to do that.
Young Crazy: We have all been building together. I have been able to share Ideas and they have as well. Since we all put in our money for it we might as well just do it together.
RESPECT.: You all have been able to give local talent a platform so their art is illuminated in the area. What do you guys believe the major keys are to escape being called the “local artist”
Rodney: We really do network and go to a lot of shows out of town. We talk to people doing big things and in big cities. We go out there to talk to them and we party with them. You have to expand yourself you can’t just stay here.
Young Crazy: I know this answer because I do it. You have to make the local people feel like you aren’t like the other local ones. Like getting paid. The other local rappers aren’t getting paid. They aren’t travelling and doing songs with other people but I am. Its crazy because its like people are starting to cancel me out because its growing into that. But were are from Norfolk, VA and Hampton Roads we don’t really know people that come out of here and truly flourish to the top. I know its hard for those people that live up the street from me to understand I am really doing sh** everywhere.
RESPECT.: We really do see you out here at the colleges in the area. What makes you gravitate to the campuses?
Young Crazy: I really do be out here and I really do stay around here. You might see me at a college party and even at the kick back. I am not going to carry myself like I am some big rapper. I still do what the hell I want.
RESPECT.: Where did the name Young Crazy come from?
Young Crazy: My homeboys growing up we threw parties and did crazy sh**. One of them was named Young Crazy, he called us crazy, and then we called us Young crazy ni**as. I started rapping then called myself Young Crazy.
RESPECT.: Clipse’ PLAY CLOTHS Presented “MADE IN VIRGINIA” HOLIDAY ’16, how does it feel being sponsored by this major clothing line? How has life changed for you?
Young Crazy: It just put some respect on the streets out here. They’re basically looking out here like damn there’s no other “local” artist getting these sponsorships.
RESPECT.: Can that word be offensive? Being called a local rapper?
Crazy: It gets offensive sometimes but I understand, I am from up the street. I am going to forever be around here though.
RESPECT.: What does it take to be a Traptastic artist?
Rodney: You need to make good music. If the music is good, I’ll let you keep performing. The stage is really for practice, its like training because they can get booked for someone else’s show then make a few dollars and really kill it. They build their buzz and we help them grow.
Young Crazy: Sometimes people don’t take it seriously but Ron is good at seeing through that and tells them to just focus on themselves a little bit. If you are going to come out on the stage, make sure you are ready for that.
RESPECT.: Are you guys planning on expanding?
Rodney: Yes, we are definitely planning on expanding. All throughout the country. We have been negotiating a lot in Miami and New York. I have something coming up in L.A very soon and it will soon be announced. We love the 757 and we are going to start doing big things with bigger people in more exclusive places. Big things are going to happen this year, it’s going to be different and fun for everybody.
RESPECT.: What is the process artists need to go through to Perform on the Traptastic stage?
Rodney: We have Trapsubmission email. We have a team of people that listen to it and whatever they like we let them perform.
RESPECT.: With all of the success, has there been a few hardships during the come up?
Rodney: With it being named what it was the venues wouldn’t trust it. There’s a lot of black kids wild’n but that’s them just having fun. Once they see it they understand.
Young Crazy: These venues out here don’t really do anything to turn up the culture and they’re just unprepared anyways for this type of thing.
Rodney: You know there’s a lot of people trying to copy it. They book the same artists as us and they’ll just try to have a party thinking its makes sense but it doesn’t.
RESPECT.: How have you guys been able to gain trust from these venues?
Young Crazy: That money!
Rodney: Making money and I know the people that own these venues. Work Release is the first one to really open up to us. Shakas wanted to build with us first but then we were able to do numbers. That’s all it takes to be successful.
RESPECT.: What is the end goal of Traptastic?
Rodney: To travel, get paid a lot, maybe it will become a record label one day but that’s not really the goal but if that came I will accept it. We are also willing to work for someone else’s record label if that doesn’t happen. I want to get a lot of these 757 rappers paid.
RESPECT.: My question to you, and the Traptastic team. Things seem to be taking off fast. There’s a lot of people that say when people make it big they forget where they came from. In regards to the 757, do you guys plan on paying homage to your hometown?
Young Crazy: We are already doing that and we barely have our big toe out the door. Making money rapping is great and all but I’d rather turn up my city and make my city as big as Atlanta, NY, or whatever so they can be like Crazy did it. Traptastic did that and forever our names will live regardless because no one else has done it. Norfolk is the reason why I am me.
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