Category: Trek Life

Pop & Hiss Premiere: Trek Life's 'So L.A.' (J. Bizness Remix)

The Los Angeles rapper Trek Life

According to Trek Life, these things are "So LA": New Era Dodger fitteds, bleeding purple and gold, hollering at the Staples Center, a twang, a weak car with a strong stereo, Pac Div, J. Bizness, Battle Cat, West Wing radio, sunshine in the winter, hustling anything from rims or registration, not hitting the beach to swim but "for them," white tennis shoes, and "winning before the next day begins."

Not included: taco trucks; sunglasses on man, woman and dog; detox; Botox; reality television; Hollywood on a Saturday night; traffic; smog; and the Jon Lovitz comedy club. I cannot help but commend Trek Life for his focus on the good.

Indeed, "So LA" is a solid contribution to the ever-expanding canon of regional rap anthems dedicated to the City of Angels. Waving its flag like it was Lakers playoff week, all it really needs is a shout-out to the best Griffith Observatory.

Pop & Hiss premiere: Trek Life "So LA" (J Bizness Remix) (MP3 download)

Originally appearing on last year's Oddisee-produced "Everything Changed Nothing," Pop & Hiss is premiering the remix, with surgery handled by local rapper/producer J. Bizness. Boasting a balance between East and West, it opts for a gritty scratched hook and a vintage Snoop Dogg vocal sample.

As Inland Empire and L.A.-raised Trek Life records his third album, the ever-dependable Mello Music Group has commissioned a remix album with production handled by underground warheads Has-Lo Apollo Brown, and Oddisee. It's more lagniappe than coherent full-length, but leaving you wanting more is so L.A.

-- Jeff Weiss

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Photo: Trek Life. Credit: Mello Music Group

Star Trek: A talk with rising underground rapper Trek Life

Trek_Life-07 Trek Life is so L.A. He bleeds purple and gold, bumps Battlecat and name-drops the oft-forgotten Funkdoobiest in interviews. That’s as L.A. as you can get for someone whose formative years were split between the city itself and West Covina. Yet Trek waves the flags of both the Inland Empire and the 310/323/818 axis.

He’s of the generation that came up on both Death Row and Project Blowed. His first experience rapping came in the mid-'90s, over will.i.am’s earliest beats, back when he went by the name Will-1X. He learned how to make records firsthand by watching Atban Klann (Black Eyed Peas 1.0) and Blood of Abraham, two of Ruthless Records’ less menacing outfits. He came up attending the famous Unity nights and even attempted to battle Myka 9 as a callow teenager.

Flash forward a decade and a half and Trek’s sophomore release, “Everything Changed Nothing,” is one of this year’s finest local rap records, a thoughtful, well-crafted effort from an MC versed in regional history and his place in it. It helps when you have a slate of beats from Washington, D.C.’s Oddisee, who has rightfully asserted his place at the helm of producers working underneath whatever passes for the mainstream.

The genesis for the record came when the East Coast producer came west and sifted through Trek’s old record collection: Freestyle Fellowship, Pharcyde and old Ice Cube records, from G-funk to the subterranean thump of the L.A. underground. The result never feels like sonic tourism. Oddisee’s sojourn allowed him to soak up the vibes from the scorching sunshine, swaying palm trees and freeway funk. Meanwhile, Trek artfully uses the canvasses to spin tales of his daughter, cookouts to celebrate law school graduations, and black migration to the West Coast.

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