Psychadelic rap trio, 14 Trapdoors have added a new dimension to what Buffalo’s brand of Hip-Hop looks like. Their self-proclaimed sound, New Trap Boom Bap, combines the heavy-hitting style of risque punchlines to the whimsical ends of party culture. Releasing their highly-anticipated EP, Brain Aquarium last month, the group’s satirical banter and playful productions makes them rising artists in the East Coast Soundscape.
“It’s hard enough to be a white rapper and make it out of Buffalo by ourselves, so we’ll probably have a better chance if all three of us joined forces,” Wza explained.
Forming shy of 3 years ago, Short Moscato, Bendyface and Wza were initially separate rappers. Already developing in their solo careers, Bendyface and Short Moscato met at The Garage, a place where local rap labels would create posse cuts and form collaborations. Through their connections at The Garage, the friends soon met Wza. Wza who cohabitated a collaborative space with notable artist Truey V (also known as DNTWATCHTV) 5 years ago, created The Birdcage. The creative space was available to record, party and network with different local artists. Playing a crucial part in the development of 14 Trapdoors, The Birdcage was also a place for rappers who traditionally wouldn’t connect, to collaborate.
“The Westside and Eastside of Buffalo’s Hip Hop Scenes were like super disconnected as hell. If there was a show on the Eastside, it was just Eastside rappers and people and if there was a show on the Westside, it was just Westside rappers and people, but he (DNTWATCHTV) was from the Eastside and I had been living on the Westside for a minute so we just like randomly met in Day’s park on Allen street one afternoon…he had all of his people he knew from over there, my people here we kinda just started having everybody come over the house all the time and it was kinda like the new Hip Hop Hub of Buffalo, the new scene,” Wza recounted.
(Pictured from left to right: Benyface, Short Moscato and Wza)
Recording almost all of their music together once meeting at The Birdcage, it didn’t take long for Short Moscato, Bendyface and Wza to form their own group. Their collaborative nature and networking ability shares a glimpse into the genesis of Buffalo’s Hip Hop Renaissance.
“That was a really important part for a lot of relationships, especially ours. If it wasn’t for birdcage there wouldn’t have been 14 Trapdoors. It was super important and a super cool time.” Bendyface chimed in.
Creating the name 14 Trapdoors as a clever nod to Buffalo’s resourceful arts scene (7 +1+6 = 14), the trio put on a string of shows the full first year as a group, without releasing any new music. The collective’s focus on branding themselves and only dropping monthly singles the following year, built a significant momentum. Now with a few projects under their belt, including some iconic prior features ( Track 3 on Doors 2 has a dope hook from Mick Jenkins), Brain Aquarium serves as the proper introduction to 14 Trapdoors eloquent, yet non-chalant sound.
“Brain Aquarium is definitely our best project so far. It’s like our most cohesive. It spreads across all the different sounds that we can tackle. The versatility as artists really shines in this project, explained Bendyface.
Infusing bits of skateboard culture, drug references and whispers of life’s universal woes, 14 Trapdoors always centers a hint of humor. Bogus metaphors and dark inuendos are nothing new for the collective, but on Brain Aquarium these methods are manicured. With almost every track virtually under 4 minutes, you get a diverse, power-packed dose of 14 Trapdoors in their most lucid form. The introduction track, “The Acid didn’t Work” coerces the listener with lyrics like “My friends got me hooked on drugs/ and they did it for the low/ Now they do it just because it’s in the music,” or paints explicit imagery like with Track 3, “Moon Walkah,” “Riding round the city/watching God’s floppy titties/Tryna suck ’em/ Tryna fuck ’em / But she ain’t fucking with me.” You’re bound to be stunned but the trio’s knack at expressive wordplay.
Standing at just under half an hour, Brain Aquarium also has some exciting production moments. With 14 Trapdoors known for their signature minimalistic beats, Tracks like “Da Munny” and “Drugstore” feel fuller and grand. The trio’s in house productions commonly have a high pitch bell sound that is not abandoned on these specific tracks, but are served as a side rather than the meal. Changing pace throughout each song is not only impressive, but shows the collective’s versatility.
With some exciting features from local counterparts like Be Daylight, FREAK THE MIIGHTY and Alibi, Brain Aquarium is a smorgasbord of sounds, vibes and messages from the rising trio.
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