Trapo headlines a diverse night of Wisconsin and Wisconsin-adjacent hip-hop. Info/tix
Ever since Madison native Trapo began attracting the world's attention in 2015 with his debut release, The Black Beverly Hills EP, the MC/singer/producer has quietly bucked against expectations, slyly defying us to sum up his work in a neat and tidy fashion. He's not necessarily married to the overt conceptual ambition of Black Beverly Hills (released when he was 17) and his sprawling debut album, 2016's Shade Trees—the 2016 EP She and last year's Oil Change EP show that he can also delve into more straightforward, personal lyrical territory. Even when it comes to success and attention, he sounds wary, as he lays out on the Shade Trees track "Stop Me": "I’ve been for the peace in the streets, boy I’m Gandhi/ It take more than a blog to define me / A couple A&Rs tried to sign me / I make them fly me out, me and moms and the homies." Sure, he's reveling in it there, but his rugged voice lends it all an air of sly ambivalence. The overarching message from Trapo always seems to be: Back up and give me the space to define this. Which is a perfectly reasonable attitude for a gifted artist just entering his early 20s, and only makes him more alluring as he teases a forthcoming album called Ford 4 Door. Trapo also recently performed in-studio at Wisconsin Public Television, focusing mostly on songs from Oil Change and Shade Trees.
He headlines here as part of the Majestic's annual Wisconsin Fest series, a string of locally focused shows that try to make the best of early January's slowdown in touring acts. Also performing at this installment are several noteworthy hip-hop artists who are either based in Wisconsin or have spent time here, with highlights including Chicago native and UW-Madison alum Broadway Muse, Twin Cities native and sometimes-Madisonian Lucien Parker, and Madison-based rapper Sincere Life, who's been spending more time on comedy than rapping lately but makes a welcome return here. With beloved Madison MC/spoken-word artist hosting, it should make for a sonically and thematically varied evening. —Scott Gordon