words by Evan Winter
Wisconsin's capitol hasn't always been the source of hip hop talent that it is today. As of late, a cohort of young and talented artists are putting Madison on the map – and Trapo, 18, is leading the charge.
Shade Trees is Trapo's debut full-length album – and at 16 tracks long, it's a strong testament to the rapper and singer's hard work, in addition to his talent. Adorned with guest verses from Saba and Skizzy Mars, the album is the cherry on top of a monster year for the young artist, during which he released two strong EPs and performed at shows across the country.
The album is not a departure from previous work's themes and sounds, but rather an evolution. Jumping from rapid-fire, abrasive raps to smooth and simple melodies, Trapo navigates the breezy beats with ease. Shade Trees gets at a new level of depth and poignancy from the rapper, as well as a more polished sound. On Saba-assisted "Riot," Trapo sings – in his gravelly, melodic voice – "I don't ever dream of death, well just sometimes when I'm alone / If they rob me for my breath please seek revenge, I was too young / I don't ever count my steps, just live my life till it's no more." While Shade Trees as a whole invokes a crisper, more polished sound quality, the fuzzy vocal distortion characteristic of Trapo's past work appears throughout, like on "Speed" and "Hello."
Stream Shade Trees below.