As far as producers from the bay who are makinâ€™ a name for themselves, Rick Rockâ€™s long since established himself in the rest of the world (anybody remember the "Cosmic Slop Shop" joint he did with Doonie Baby and Big Lurch?), E-A-Skiâ€™s been doinâ€™ his thing on the production tip, and Droop-E has already proven at a young age that heâ€™s going to be a force to be reckoned with. But one cat has been makinâ€™ a lot of noise recently from tracks he crafted for the albums of San Quinn, Keak Da Sneak, and Dem hoodstarz -- and that cat is Traxamillion.
Now with the single â€œThe Sideshowâ€ featuring Too Short and Mistah Fab gathering some momentum, and a bay area remix (with E-40) of Brooke Hoganâ€™s â€œAbout usâ€ in the works, Trax is looking to further solidify his rep as the Bay areaâ€™s go-to beatmaker with the recent release of his album The Slap Addict, which features a whoâ€™s who of Bay artists, including the aforementioned artists, Turf Talk, Dem hoodstarz, San Quinn, Clyde Carson, Keak Da Sneak, Husalah and Jacka of Mob Figaz, Balance, Izz Thizz, The Team, Zion I and The Pack. The man recently took some time out of his busy schedule to meet with me in Oakland to catch up on the state of Bay Area hip hop and the hot button issue of the moment, the hyphy movement.
SOHH Eighty: So first off, whatâ€™s up with the album? Howâ€™s it doing?
Traxamillion: Itâ€™s doinâ€™ well, man. It sold out the first few days it was in stores, we couldnâ€™t keep â€˜em in the stores. Itâ€™s havinâ€™ a good reaction out here.
80: Everyone Iâ€™ve gotten feedback from is feelinâ€™ the album.
Trax: Yeah! You know, you got your nay sayers here and there, but you canâ€™t please everybody. But for the most part the feedbackâ€™s good, man. The Bay has embraced it, even folks from other areas have embraced it. For anyone outside of the Bay whoâ€™s curious about the hyphy movement, I think The Slapp Addict is the project to pick up.
80: As far as the nay sayers go, there have been a lot of people where, if itâ€™s from the bay, theyâ€™ll automatically associate it with the hyphy movement. And people are just dismissing it automatically, without even taking the time to find out that probably a good 75% of cats making music out of the Bay right now are lyrical as fuck and could eat up a lot of other rappers. But people just hear a small portion of the content and dismiss it.
Trax: You gotta dumb it down, man. Itâ€™s always been like that, though; you gotta get in how you get in and then once they love you, do what the fuck you want. Outkast is a perfect example. They get in doinâ€™ the hits that everybody likes and once they in and they got the acceptance, â€˜Iâ€™ll do what the fuck I want, Iâ€™m wearinâ€™ perms and polyester tees, man. Iâ€™m rich, man, Iâ€™m rappinâ€™ how I wanna rap. In velvet socks, nigga, and some boxer shorts.â€™
80: But what would you say to the detractors, the haters, the people who talk shit all day long about Bay area music and the hyphy movement?
Trax: Man, we eatinâ€™ right now. This is how the Bay is gettinâ€™ on and youâ€™d be a fool to deny the hyphy movement. Thatâ€™s why weâ€™re gettinâ€™ shine right now, thatâ€™s why the whole world is looking at the Bay right now, because thereâ€™s a movement happening. For anyone to go against that grain, is just... fuck you. Itâ€™s just hatinâ€™. The only way the Bay areaâ€™s gonna get up out of this rut that we in- the shit we keep talking about -is if we stick together and we all create unity so we can get up out of this, just like the South did. The whole goddamn South got together and they support each other. They donâ€™t need nobody else to buy records, they can go platinum in they own fuckinâ€™ areas and they own regions. They donâ€™t need the East coast, Midwest or the West coast. East Coast, they started funkinâ€™ , boros started battlinâ€™ each other, you know, shit fell apart. West coast, the Bay and L.A. was divided, shit fell apart. You feel me? You gotta stick together, thatâ€™s the only way itâ€™s gonna happen; we gotta represent our own shit. And thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m all about; thatâ€™s why on the album, I GOT everybody on there.
80: But it seems like thatâ€™s one of the things thatâ€™s really unique about the bay; the amount of unity. I mean, E-40 and Too Short have been hella supportive of everybody thatâ€™s trying to make moves, like once theyâ€™re up on top, they give a hand to the next man, who helps out the next man...
Trax: Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s so unique about the bay, man; thereâ€™s so much goddamn unity. This is probably one of the only places in the world that makes itâ€™s own stars, you know what I mean? We put our own people up on a pedestal and support these muhfuckas to where these artists is out here eatinâ€™, ya feel me? Eatinâ€™ and buyinâ€™ houses just off the Bay buyinâ€™ their albums and supportinâ€™ they movement.
80: Now there isnâ€™t any question that right now the Bay is blowinâ€™ up, but do you think that people need to seize the opportunity because all thatâ€™s gonna die down soon?
Trax: I hope it doesnâ€™t but just like everything, it comes and it goes. Every region has their opportunity to get on and shine and if you donâ€™t take advantage of it while the lightâ€™s here, thereâ€™s a good possibility that it could go. But Iâ€™m trying to seize every opportunity I can, so I ainâ€™t gonâ€™ let it go. Not on my watch.
80: As far as the hyphy movement catchinâ€™ on around the rest of the nation right now, it seems like a lot of that has been due to the word â€œhyphyâ€ being a catch phrase. And now itâ€™s to the point where if anyone hears anything out of the bay that isnâ€™t even necessarily associated with that shit, like Mob Figaz or San Quinn or Turf Talk...
Trax: ...then itâ€™s â€˜hyphy.â€™ Yeah, man. We gotta take it, man; if they wanna call us hyphy, we gotta take hyphy. I mean, we gotta make â€˜em understand. Itâ€™s like baby food, we gotta feed it to â€˜em slowly. If itâ€™s â€œhyphy,â€ let that be the first word that they learn. Once they get to know us then theyâ€™ll really see what the picture is, but right now thatâ€™s all they know us as, thatâ€™s all the mediaâ€™s blastinâ€™ , so in my opinion you kinda gotta run with it.