Trick Papi opens up about his current affairs in hip-hop.
By Curtis Ashley, Music Director & Editor
When you meet some people, you can tell what they are about right from the start. Upon meeting Trick Papi in a local chicken spot near Stuyvesant Town, it was apparent that he lived and breathed hip-hop. Heading in to our meeting, I knew the 26-year-old from Ridgewood, Queens was a rapper / producer. But when we sat with him, we found there was much more to be uncovered. Underneath was a deep understanding of the genre, of its mechanics and functions. But even deeper than that, we saw the love that he had for hip-hop, and everyone involved.
HangTime: You’re a rapper and producer. Lately, according to your SoundCloud, you’ve been focusing on making beats and pushing those. It has to be asked, which is more important to you: rapping or producing?
Trick Papi: What matters to me more is beat making. Rap is only an extension of my experience. People can relate to that, and that’s dope as fuck. Maybe I have a song that stops someone from killing themselves. Maybe I have a song that inspires someone to get money. Maybe somebody made their babies to one of my songs. But on the real, beat making means more to me.
I’m listening to beats to feel better. I’m listening to some beat tapes and I’m feeling emotions. Sometimes I’m getting a sample and I want to cry. One time, no funny, shit I was chopping a sample and I was mad hard. I was like what the fuck bro. I’m not watching porn, I’m not thinking of anybody, there’s no shorties in my phone. Like why am I fucking hard? Crazy shit. I still have to go to the doctor, that shit shook me.
Raps come from what I’m feeling. And I’m so glad I can do that. But beats are a permanent vibe.
HT: So are you officially done rapping, or is producing just the main focus right now?
TP: I’m always writing raps, that’s never stopping. But I heard Sky Chryme, it’s an album by Big Kahuna OG. And he mixed and mastered the whole thing with production by other producers. I was like this is doing it. When you can master your pen and then master that aspect of it, that’s dope. I’m here thinking about how I’m going to get more for an engineer and shit, and it’s just like, maybe I should do this myself.
The newer raps have a weird sound to them. It’s because I’m using shitty, cheap equipment, and trying to learn how to do it.
HT: There’s someone you know who is sort of on the same path as you right now, regarding doing it all by yourself: Akai Solo. He told us he’s working on a self-produced album. Tell us a little about the history between you two.
TP: I met Akai; being a fan of his I always just followed his music, hit him up in the DM and was like ‘Yo you’re fucking boss, you’re sick.’
He works hard. What I like about Akai’s music is that you can tell he clearly doesn’t give a fuck if you like it or not. You can really learn a lot about his core values through his music. The dudes a fucking anime character. He believes in himself, he believes in his friends, and he’ll never stop to prove how true that is.
HT: Those are some kind words for the guy. Have the two of you ever collaborated on anything?
TP: We have some songs. We recorded stuff. But we’ve all been very much focused on our own projects. We don’t plan these things. I feel like we’re insanely organic. We don’t have a lot of music together. We don’t shout each other out on every fucking track. But if you see us together it’s like, ‘These fools make music together?’ It’s that dynamic of friendship. And that being said, we don’t even see each other that much.
HT: Let’s forget about Akai for now. What do you have planned for yourself, music-wise?
TP: I have a tape coming out that I engineered, it’s called Weekend At Bernie’s. You ever seen Weekend At Bernie’s?
HT: Heard about the film. Never watched it though.
TP: So he’s a dead guy. And these dudes end up living off his money for a bit. It’s dope because they’re both kind of fuck-ups, and they’re just living their best life off this guys bread. When I was mixing, mastering, and recording this project, to me I was living my best life. I hate going outside. I don’t fuck with it.
I stay inside a lot. That shit to me is like living my best life. Wake up, feed my dog, feed myself, feed my cat. Chill, play with my animals, go walk my dog. I feel like a single father. I ended up calling it Weekend At Bernie’s cause I was really living my best life off trying to enhance my skill.
Check out Trick Papi’s latest tape Modus Operandi while we wait for some brand new tunes.