The Rise of African Hip Hop

 

Meet Trabolee, aka TRA, is a poet/hip hop artist originally hailing from Nakuru, Kenya. He was born on 20th May 1993. He started recording music in early 2011 while in a rap group called Blaq ROZE (with Shakim Shallah) just after finishing high school. They made a mixtape titled KILLING SPREE under the guidance of DJ Miwo (a local producer) the mixtape got some buzz in the streets of the small town.Through Shakim Shallah, he got introduced to Level Next – the original founder of 1183 (Eleven Eighty Three) a collective of talented rappers in Nakuru- and from there he started mastering his craft by learning how to write music and studying hip hop as a culture while feeding of his peers.

TRA | PXY Magazine
TRA | PXY Magazine
TRA | PXY Magazine
TRA | PXY Magazine

He sites his main influences as Lupe Fiasco, Rakim, Pharoahe Monch, Ab-Soul,KRS-One and Juliani just to name a few. While working on the debut group album from 1183, titled the R.I.F.T (Rhyming Intelligently For Them) there had been considerable growth and this was acknowledged by his fellow crew members.The album was later released in early 2014.He then moved to Nairobi for his studies and that’s where he met Buff Beats while living in a hostel and they inspired each other to make music, Buff as the beat maker and TRA as the rapper.

 

This led to the release of his first mixtape, titled THC, which has been termed a classic and heralded by many “HipHopHeads” with street songs like “Freedom Of Spit”, the politically charged “What They Done” feat Qina, introspective tracks like “You Ain’t Shit”,”Dying To Be Deep”, the philosophical “Some Get The Picture” and the mellow vibed “Kule Tumetoka” featuring Doreen who went on to be one of the runners up at the Tusker Project Fame season 4.

In late 2013, after meeting up with another talented hip hop artist named Juke Myster, they formed a group called SkullVilla and released an album titled “Occult Lore” which also garnered heavy praise for its brilliance, lyricism and experimental style. Accompanied by a video of the song “Equal” directed by Abstract Omega which was declared as the best video of 2014 by one blog site. They also released an animation clip for a song titled “My Way” . In 2014 TRA won the Aarban Cypher competition and was crowned Lord of The Cypher after outrapping several other rappers.He was also the first artist to perform at the contemporary hip hop event titled “The Pit” which is held at Pawa 254 and hosted by DJ Khenti and Midle East. He was also featured in an EP titled “Our Guns Dont Work” by the Nest Collective which was recorded for World Peace Day. In 2015 Trabolee announced the release of his first debut album, titled “ALL ROADS HOME” (click to download) via social media networks. The album had a surprise release on the 21st of February. He also performs his poetry at various open mic sessions.

All Roads Lead Home
All Roads Lead Home

It’s encouraging to see an African brother with such a work ethic and high regard for his craft.

 

Released in February 2015, TRA teamed up with Ray Juma to deliver this work of art titled Frank:

Stream his catalog on Soundcloud:

 

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