Trapp XL Emerges With Youthful Grooves
Among the new school of emerging rappers in Nigeria, Olakitan Ricketts, also known as Trapp XL, is the one of the few creating a name with the modern ‘feel-good’ style of music making. For the 23-year-old rapper, the music – stewed in poetic imageries and groovy melodies – comes as effortless as natural breathing.
Releasing his new Extended Playlist dubbed Barney et Moi (Barney and Me), Trapp breaks into the music scene with six Trap-laced records: Barney et Moi, Canadaz Wunderland, Do me right, Soyme, Big baby air, and Friends from the ends. All the records portray themes of youthful exuberance and experiences.
Honing a sound style that is still gaining in Nigeria, Trapp braves the hurdles of making trap music – an experimental upbeat form of rap music – with local stories and even rhythms. An interesting project, ‘Barney et Moi’ becomes a laudable record likely to become a chart-pusher soon.
In a chat with The Guardian, Trapp revealed that he is cut from filmmaking and music production background, hence the professional approach to his craft.
The Canada-based artiste explained that music has always been a childhood dream, adding, “I’ve always liked music from little, but I got fully into rap music in Secondary school. What influenced me were the songs I listened to in my childhood, songs like There’s Fire On The Mountain, and others. I am a very visual person so I can think about things and translate them into music.
“There’s no one whose footsteps I am following in my family when it comes to music but I have a cousin who does music and I get advice from him but I wouldn’t say that I am following his footsteps. I’ve been writing songs since I was 12, but now, I am 23 so, I’ve been doing this for a very long time. But as time goes on, I started producing as well. I never think about a topic to write, I just produce something and once I got to a decent place, I pick up my phone or laptop and start writing. It flows, I don’t have to think or meditate before I get the song to sing.”
On how long it took him to come up with the project, he said: “I started in April 2019 and it was meant to be a three tracks project, but Burna Boy came to Toronto and I hanged out with me, and a lot happened in less than 24 hours. My eyes opened and immediately, I started working and I created another three tracks. I felt the new tracks sound better, but when I came back to Nigeria in March 2020, I went back to listen to everything and decided to build on it. This is my first ever project where I didn’t do everything by myself. I never had any feature until coming up with this project where I featured six persons. I wrote most of the songs.”
He continued: “I will feel fulfilled by bringing other people to the limelight. Basically, I have my own record label, House of XL 100, and I am the only artiste on the label. I have a lot of people that would want to be on my label; I just need to get the capital first. I will never stop making my own music, if I put out music and no one is listening, I will still do it. There is one person that’s going to appreciate what I do.”
The artiste and label owner discloses his game plan as consistency in creating rare and unique melodies. “I am unable to do the same thing twice; if I make a particular type of song, I won’t go back to that and if I do, it feels wrong. So, I feel as long as I continue to create, continue to make the connection with people that I can collaborate with and I remain open to positive influence, I think I will be fine; I am not bothered.
“I am going to be making music forever, I am going to be creating as long as I live, I don’t have any other choice; I realised that while I was a kid. I used to walk around the sitting room creating songs. Now, I have all the equipment to bring everything to life.”
On his strength between producing and singing, he said: “My strength is not in producing, writing, rapping, or in my voice. My real strength is being a facilitator/curator. I understand sounds and I know how to bring sounds to life, I know whom I need to get on a song to make it amazing, I have the idea of how people are going to feel when they listen to my songs.
He also revealed that his most admired artiste is Don Jazzy, because, “he’s too natural and whatever he creates is fire. The other artistes I will like to work with are Naira Marley and Zlatan; I will like to get both of them on the same track. I think the energy will be too crazy. Zinoleesky is also one of the artistes I will love to work with.”