Traxamillion, The Slapp Addict

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

He may be unknown as a solo artist, but Traxamillion is already responsible for one of the best singles of the last few years — the breathless, breakneck "Super Hyphy" by Oakland MC Keak Da Sneak (a must-download if you haven't already). Based around radar-blip production and Keak's hurried, hoarse whisper, "Super Hyphy" is the kind of song that manages to sound menacing and mysterious and majestic all at once.

Terrifically icy and thoroughly hyphy, Traxamillion’s debut is a keeper

Trax's debut, The Slapp Addict, is full of songs like this, sinister late-night club anthems full of shadow and steam. What makes Slapp so riveting is how empty it is. Trax's tracks are deliciously barren, consisting of little beyond a few hand-claps and bass-booms and 8-bit electro blips. He fills up the empty space with vocals, winding his grainy tenor through the beats like twine around an iron rod. As fitting a storied producer, a bulk of the album is taken up by guest verses, ranging from Zion I's confident swagger on "Top Down" to Keak's panicked scurrying through the ominous "On Citas." All of the songs work their way to doomy, terrifying choruses where all the synthetic elements whoosh in at once like flickering digital horsemen swooping down for judgment.

The album's apex comes early with "The Sideshow," where Trax trades worked-up verses with Bay Area legends Too $hort and Mistah F.A.B. Over an icy synth sketch that bears a passing resemblance to Cassie's eerie "Me and U," Trax and $hort and F.A.B. boast about their proficiency in the bedroom and in the vocal booth and on the dancefloor. As the track indicates, Trax doesn't have any lofty goals beyond getting paid and getting laid. But damned if he doesn't sound great doing it.