Once the 2 Live Crew told the Florida judiciary to go fuck itself back in 1989, the Sunshine State has introduced a syndicate of notable hip-hop artists that have broke through to the mainstream. With beginnings in Dade County’s bass scene and incubated from countless nights inside local strip clubs, the “Dirty South” sound was devised and devoured. While the genre quickly spread to other cities with their indigenous variations (New Orleans, Houston and of course, Atlanta) the rowdy, bass-heavy, hyper-sexual sound—and it’s artists—were mainly calling the 305 home base.
Today, hip hop is represented statewide; the latest example is Jacksonville’s own Trap Beckham a local artist recently signed to powerhouse label Def Jam and heard on the
latest Strip Joints compilation. As an independent act, “The Golden Boy of the Hood” released the singles “Top Of The Line” and “Ohh She Thick,” winning a handful of awards, and becoming a fixture on the local college scene.“It meant a lot to me, for my city, for my family,” the rapper says of signing to the iconic imprint. “People from here don’t see that type of stuff. When we went out to LA for the first time, we were glassy-eyed ourselves, like ‘Look at all this stuff. Look at all these foreigns, these mansions, all this money. This is crazy.’ It’s just real big that somebody can do it versus nobody doing it.” Def Jam signed off of the buzz behind the “Birthday Bitch”, which has become a regional smash in the southeastern part of the United States. Its skeletal beat, energetic instrumentation, and memorable chorus make it ripe for success, and Trap Beckham (born Travis Cave) and his team are preparing to take the radio- and club-ready track national. “We’re from the South, so that type of tempo is the ideal type of tempo for a twerk song,” Trap Beckham explains. “That’s what I was going for, so I already had my tempo down. I came up with it rapping to myself in the club.”
ED: Growing up in Florida you had an array of well-known local artists to listen to? What albums shaped your style today?
TRAP: I feel like in my coming of age I was into a lot of Kanye and a lot of T-Pain. As far as albums I’d say Epiphany, T-Pain’s second album which influenced a lot of artist including me to use autotune and that’s what changed the game for me.
ED: We can classify rap from Florida as “Dirty South” music but I’m curious as to the culture in Jacksonville compared to other cities in the south is that style reflected in your rhymes?
Barely. The style of Jacksonville rap is hardly reflected in my rhymes because I’m me, Jacksonville style of rap is more of a Gangsta-rap style. I remember I used to sleep in the closet. That’s what makes me different. I am from the hood, but I use it to inspire me, but I don’t use it as my primary subject matter.
ED: You’re now signed with Def Jam, what would be your dream collaboration be with any artist or producer on the label?
TRAP: On the label? Kanye West, of course. I would like Kanye to work with my producer Beastmode; Beastmode is my dream producer.
ED: There’s a lot of different styles of rap nowadays. Of your contemporaries, who do you listen to the most and why?
TRAP: I listen to the Migos, they on the same shit. There so many niggas I listen I can go on all day, Boosie Bad Azz, Gucci, they not my peers but I listen to them. The whole QC the label slide. In my free time if I’m not listening to me I’m listening to [Kanye West’s] The Life of Pablo currently. “Father stretch my hands Part 1” is my current favorite song.
ED: In the south, hip-hop and strip clubs have an almost symbiotic relationship, how have you experienced this through your music?
TRAP: A lot of my songs are uptempo, and the strippers have been the first to embrace a lot of the songs that helped build my buzz. Songs like “Oh She Thick” and “Mark Set Go” are strip club hits.
ED: When you’re on tour, do you frequent strip clubs? Do you have a favorite?
TRAP: I haven’t had the chance to travel to visit all of the strip clubs I would like to visit. I am a big fan of strip clubs, I’ve been to Ace of Diamonds in L.A. and Onyx in Atlanta, but when we go on tour, we will be sliding through the strip clubs.
ED: From your Strip Joints inclusion, we’re hearing you for the first time with your track,
TRAP: “Birthday Bitch.” What’s the backstory of “Birthday Bitch”...was it born out of an experience, or a particular girl, er, bitch? Just being in the club and noticing it’s somebody’s birthday every day, and being a club lifestyle artist, it came to me easily.
— article courtesy of ED Publications, the national business magazine and convention for the multi-billion- dollar adult nightclub industry. For more information, visit www.EDpublications.com or www.theEDexpo.com.
For more information on Trap Beckham, please visit StripJointsMusic.com and/or DefJam.com.