A couple years ago while working with a different publication I found myself two hours north of Chicago in a sleepy neighborhood outside of Madison, Wisconsin sitting on a ash-laden couch in a teenager’s apartment. I’d found myself back in the throes of college life to sit down with a local artist possessing a voice beyond his years that had dragged us by the ear north. A string of talented mixtape and project to that point had positioned him as one of my favorites on the rise, and getting to know him was interesting. At 17 at the time, he was just coming into his own, the sudden success the internet provided didn’t dovetail with the understandings he had as a quiet kid in Madison. Oil Change, his first release since last year’s impressive Shade Trees finds the eclectic artist exploring territories new and old, albeit with a distinctly more evolved sense of understanding.
Despite coming up in an area distinctly outside of what anyone would describe as urban and emerging via the internet, Trapo has always existed distinctly outside the idea of a typified “Soundcloud” rapper. Incorporating elements of blues and jazz into both his vocal stylings and production, the music always felt like, well, music. The same elements are present that you’ll find with the Pump’s, Purp’s and SlumpGod’s, but they come delivered with a sense of evolved style that lands harder than the cookie-cutter flow-snatching we hear elsewhere. Choruses and bridges have life here, musicality sits center and high-hat samples come angled against his baritone. The opening track, “mOndays” drags on, feeling like a well-versed word vomit that seems to get everything needed off his chest to fully dive in from there. And that he certainly does. “Trap House Funk” doesn’t feel like anything you’re getting elsewhere, coming through like a midwest new-age g-funk vibe that fits him like a perfect jacket. His rhyme schemes come packaged for any tempo, I’m getting out of this post before too much stanning happens. Get into Trapo’s latest man, he’s yet to disappoint. Singles streaming regularly on Mild Sauce Radio.