Jacksonville Florida’s own Trap Beckham is setting his own lane in the hip-hop industry. Since 2012, Trap Beckham has been on the rise and his hard work earned him a spot on the Def Jam Records roster. In 2016 Trap Beckham’s single “Birthday Chick” became a hit, playing in clubs all over the country. The song caused Trap Beckham’s popularity to grow and now he’s about to shake it up again.
Trap Beckham, with the current mindset he has, can really make noise in this industry. It makes sense why Def Jam took him in. He has all the traits of a successful artist and he’s poised for national prominence. He can only go up from here.
I was able to speak with Trap Beckham on a number of things such as his inspirations, what it’s like being apart of the legendary Def Jam Records label, and his 7.14 mixtape series. Check out the complete interview below.
ME: For those who aren’t familiar, can you tell us in one sentence who is Trap Beckham?
TB: Trap Beckham is who it is. That’s what I call myself. That’s my alter-ego.
ME: What first sparked your interest in music?
TB: The sound of it. Maybe I just liked it more than the average kid you know? I starting writing when I was 8 so like I can’t exactly tell you what triggered it. Back then Busta Rhymes had the “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See”, like stuff like that. Like Missy Elliott, that type of stuff made me start writing.
ME: What made you want to start rapping as a profession?
TB: I was writing since I was 8 so like I just took it seriously. I never looked at as a profession until I got older and I was like “ok I learned the world and it is a profession”. As a kid, I was always just a rapper. It wasn’t like a job. I was recording in my house at age 14 and I had a single by the time I was 17 in my city. I stayed consistent and I was already ahead of the curb. A lot of people start rapping late so now they got to learn how it goes. I’m already up on it. I know how do my stacks, do my dubs I know how to work within my voice to make some good music. Doing it as a kid put me in a good position.
ME: What was the first record that you listened to that made you fall in love with hip-hop?
TB: What was the record that made me fall in love with hip-hop? Again I don’t know. It’s more like projects than records. So I would say The College Dropout by Kanye West, that was a big thing for me. Epiphany by T-Pain that was a big thing for me as far as me revolutionizing my sound and getting out of that local sound. That played a major part because as a kid I was just rapping. It sounded like everything else you hear on the streets so I had to diversify myself and get better. Those were the albums that played a part in that.
ME: Who were some of your inspirations growing up?
TB: I don’t really get inspired like that by people. I just think people are doing their thing. People who I would want to be like I guess I would say Kanye, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Lil’ Boosie. Just anybody who has a situation, even if it isn’t the biggest situation, you know anybody like that.
ME: How would you describe your sound?
TB: It’s southern but it’s north Florida so it different. It’s a really bouncy sound. I say it’s like mixing The Ying Yang Twins with Kanye you know? Somebody who’s really gonna get in there and give you something to listen to but at the same time, it’s on a jumping beat you know? So I’m that type of guy.
ME: How does being from Jacksonville, Florida play a role in your career?
TB: It played a major role in my career because most rappers know you have to take over your town first. I’ve been putting down and it helps me move when I’m not in Jacksonville just by having clout in Jacksonville. People go across the country people travel and they all talking about me because I been here. So having the city on my back is a major thing you know because you need that. Those are fans it’s just like any other city. So I appreciate the support. Without Jacksonville, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. It’s crazy because the music marketing isn’t even that great but like all you have to do is take over your town.
ME: So you’re looking to put Jacksonville, Florida on the map?
TB: Yeah I mean I feel like it’s only so much we can do. We’re on the map like Lil’ Duval is big. I’m finna be big. We have a football team the Jacksonville Jaguars. We got some good picks we finna try to cook it up you know what I’m saying? So like Jacksonville, it’s not off the map. We just need more great people to emerge. Like it’s not even us having the record “Lil’ Duval this, Lil’ Duval that”, no. We just need more great people like my homie Woody the Great, he’s from Jacksonville and he played Bobby Brown [BET’s New Edition Story]. People don’t even know he went to Lee High School in Jacksonville. Jacksonville doesn’t know that because it’s not about that. It’s about him being great and being from there you know what I’m saying? So we just need more people to chase their dreams and just be great.
ME: How does It feel to be a part of one of the most historic labels in hip-hop?
TB: It feels great like my life changed when I got signed. When I signed to Def Jam I started traveling to the most places ever man. Last year February I had never been on a plane in my life. This year I’m a professional flier [laughs]. It’s crazy. I’ve been to Utah, Vegas, New York, Houston, L.A., Miami wherever you know I’ve been to it all. I go and meet people and just the events you get to go to, the treatment it’s just VIP everywhere. I get to be backstage or I get to hang out in the same area as T.I., Chris Brown, Big Sean because I’m in there I’m in the door you know? Oh, he’s cool, he’s good, he’s with us you know. People don’t realize it’s that, it’s the fact of being there, the network factor and that’s the stuff that matters. That’s what’s gonna make you great, just being in the building you know? You gotta be patient.
ME: How do you separate yourself from other Def Jam artists?
TB: I’m single driven. A lot of people be on their own little wave. You know they got their cult followings on Def Jam so they be on their own little waves. It sounds like them that’s their sound it is what it is. Me, I feel like I got my own bouncy little wave and I’m real single driven. A lot of my music is going to be like up, high tempo type stuff. That’s just all I’ve ever been. I’m a club head like I came up with teen parties like a teen party promoter. So like I’ve been in it, I’ve been in the clubs, I haven’t paid for the club since I was 17. We lit [laughs].
ME: Let’s talk about your single “Birthday Chick”, what was the inspiration behind that record?
TB: I was in the club. There were hella birthdays going on in the party and I was just rapping to myself. It was a song with a beat similar to it and I was like “ok this is a cool little vibe.” I’m freestyling in my head “one time for the birthday chick, two times for the birthday chick” and I just went home and started making the beat. It worked out, it was automatic, the first time we played it it was like “what is this?”
ME: How did it feel to see that song on the tracklist for NOW That’s What I Call Music 59?
TB: That was just another dream. It was like dreams on top of dreams come true. Like damn I’m on NOW you know? Everybody knows how long that’s been around. I’m on Def Jam, I’m on NOW, it’s crazy. I’m on HBO, I’m on Insecure. It’s bigger than life. To see people’s reaction and see people be inspired by it, that’s the best you get out of it. I love sharing information telling dudes like you can try this and I like to shoot advice to people younger than me trying to do it, I know bro, I know. I was in my room recording bro, I was outside, like dudes in Florida know me from just being around, handing CDs, people taking them, I know what it’s like. It’s the life bro, you gotta live it. But the fruits are so great. That’s why I have so much respect for the people still killing it you know? It’s like “man, you’re great.”
ME: You have a new single dropping on Friday called “Lil Booties Matter” how did that come about?
TB: It was a little different. We were in the studio just drinking and basically my homie, Pretty Ricky, he was doing drops for me. He just came out his mouth like “Ay Trap! I feel like a little joint on this one. Lil booties matter, Lil booties matter, Lil booties matter.” But he was talking on a whole different record. He was talking on a song I got called “For Me” just another little twerk song to keep them going. But him just talking on that record I was like “I’m finna take that a capella. That’s a song.” I was like “oh my God”. My arms started sweating, I was like “that’s it!” I love these moments. Those moments where you’re like “oh s**t I done struck again”. We went in there, did the drop, I took the acapella and the beat was finished on that end. I sent the beat out to interns then to Grammy nominated producers and they sauced it up to a radio level. We got it mixed and mastered and now we’re here.
ME: So it’s about to be something big on Friday, huh?
TB: Oh yeah. 7/14 is my birthday, by the way, July 14th.
ME: Does that have anything to do with the mixtapes you dropped every July 14th since 2012?
TB: Yup. 7.14 is something I came up with because I didn’t know what day I wanted to drop my mixtape. So I said “f**k it” let me give a gift to myself and drop it on my birthday. Since then it’s been a pretty successful mixtape series for me as far as like getting to know people and getting DJs rocking with me and really doing the groundwork the hard way. It was good music that got me far. There’s a 7.14.17. I do have a project in the chamber. I gotta talk to my higher ups to make sure everything is everything with the project but know that it’s done.
ME: This new project is different than 7.14.17?
TB:: Yeah. 7.14 is just something to keep my culture alive. It’s like my dream. Unfortunately, I was in a situation to where the beats and everything weren’t lining up to the core of the project. I couldn’t get the date I wanted which was my birthday so we had to push it back. But “Lil Booties Matter” drops that day. I had to still drop 7.14 because that’s just what I do I can’t just skip it. It’s that important to me. So I made sure I at least had it done.
ME: What’s the difference between each 7.14 release? Is it a sign of growth?
TB: It’s just about what type of music I like or what type of wave I’m on that year. It’s not necessarily growth because I have songs from 2012 that’s great and I got songs this year that are great. So it’s not really growth. It’s just like we’re here. This is Trap Beckham. It’s like Jeezy. It’s Jeezy growing or just like anybody else. Not to bust them down or anything like that but people like 21 Savage, they grow. You start from a level, you start from a way and now you get more musical. But with certain people, there’s just no growing.
ME: Who do you want to work with most in the industry?
TB: Kanye, T-Pain. I just want to create a classic. It doesn’t even have to be a single.
ME: What do you want your influence to be on hip-hop?
TB: Just to have fun. Life is Lit is the name of my EP. Just getting the pressure off. Think twice. Don’t kill yourself out here, don’t be dead, f***kin around.
ME: Is that the message you give your fans?
TB: Yeah I make the music that takes your mind off the s**t. When “Birthday Chick” come on, you’re not thinking about nothing else but the birthday chick because it’s about her in that moment. If “Tear The Club Up” come on you might fight. I try to make that music where people don’t really boot up. It’ll save somebodies life if that “Birthday Chick” came on and a girl done twerked. You getting a dance, get off the beef.
ME: Do you have anything special to say to your fans?
TB: I love y’all. I think Ima call the genre commercial ratchet. That’s my genre it’s commercial ratchet. I feel like the hood could really rock with it but it’s still commercial enough to be played on Top 40 stations, out in LA stuff like that. But yeah to my fans make sure you guys follow me on Instagram. If you not a fan you will be @trapbeckham and Life is Lit this August, “Lil Booties Matter” this Friday, 7.14 July 14th that’s my birthday write it down remember it. Link up when I come to your city I ain’t shy or nothing like that [laughs]. We rocking out.