T.I. Reveals Why He Made 'Trap Muzik': "To Make People Care About Drug Dealers"

“It's an accurate depiction of the lifestyles people were living through that others in more comfortable positions had no idea of!”
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T.I. may or may not have invented trap music, but on the 15th anniversary of his seminal Trap Muzik, the Atlanta veteran revealed he used his sophomore album to humanize the trap.

“I think it is the beginning of an era,” he told Noisey. “It's an accurate depiction of the lifestyles people were living through that others in more comfortable positions had no idea of! No one knew this was going on in the world, because when people saw drug dealing they went straight to New Jack City. If you are a drug dealer you are either Nino Brown or Scarface. Trap Muzik let people know how day-to-day it was.

“It was the human story, that these are actual people with moms and dads, not just characters created for the sake of a movie. We never met Nino Brown’s mother so we didn’t see him as a real person. That’s why when he died in New Jack City no one cared! I wanted Trap Muzik to make people care about drug dealers and see us as human beings. I feel like Trap Muzik was more like Boyz n the Hood as it hits you in the heart—all these other rappers’ records were like Scarface or New Jack City.”

While we can argue Trap Muzik’s classic status all day, we can even sooner agree that T.I.’s reasoning for crafting this album is both noble and necessary. From 2003 to the present day, affluent and White rap fans have consumed music with no consideration for the real-world repercussions that come down once their favorite tracks putter out.

Trap Muzik not only humanized dealers and served as an educational tool for well-meaning music fans, but it also gave perspective on the consequences behind some of rap’s most popular tropes. Drug dealing, gang affiliation, police brutality, and the like do not fade away when the album cuts out. As more and more records deal with the realities of drug culture, we can look to 2003’s Trap Muzik as a blueprint for this flavor of storytelling.

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