Today's Trae cover story was nearly a year in the making.
As noted, the whole Trae vs. The Box thing can be traced back to the 2009 Trae Day shooting. Rocks Off was actually at that event and happened to be none too far from where the bullets were fired. We wrote up a little piece about it, did some follow-up stuff, then let it be.
Now, in light of all of the negative press the shooting was (rightly) receiving, we decided to also include a mostly goofy pre-shooting write-up of the events that took place beforehand, during the course of which we made a joke likening Trae's then-unborn son to a newborn rattlesnake.
Now, Trae is a good person. His work in the community is reason enough to believe that. Beyond that, he is extremely loyal. But here's the other thing you need to know about him: He doesn't give a fuck.
Not in the pejorative "I'm Only Concerned With Me And My Perceived Realness" sense, more in the "If You Say Something Negative About Me Or Anyone I'm Associated With, You Can Expect To Hear From Me Soon" sense.
You know those little uncomfortable situations that arise every so often that most of America tries to avoid? The conversations people ignore because it's easier than having them? Those things absolutely don't appear to bother him.
Every Trae fan in the world knew that after his interview with The Box's Nnete, who has built her own well-deserved local fame on a foundation of expressing herself, turned ornery, he was going to respond sooner or later. It was just something that was going to happen. There was a better chance of the sun not coming up the next day than him sleeping that one off.
Which is why it wasn't altogether that surprising when, maybe a few hours after the pre-shooting piece went up on Rocks Off, Trae called (he got the number from his publicist, whom we had worked with before on numerous occasions) to get an explanation as to whether or not the intention was sinister when we compared Baby Trae to a rattlesnake.
After a few tense seconds, he laughed it off, saying he thought the rest of the write-up was entertaining. And after 15 or so minutes of conversation about his music and how closed off and semi-standoffish he always appeared to the media, he invited us to go with him to Austin to take in a couple of his shows and see some behind-the-scenes stuff.
What we said was something cool and unfettered like, "Yeah, let me check with my editor and make sure that'd be okay." What we were thinking was something more along the lines of "YIPPPEEEEEE!"
At any rate, save for the driving part, the trip was interesting. We got to be up onstage during his performance at a car show with maybe a thousand people in attendance. We were supposed to take pictures, but spent most of the time trying desperately to simply not fuck anything up.
Ice Cube was there performing, which was cool. So was Mike Jones. It was the first time since the Ozone incident that he and Trae had been in the same vicinity, which made for an uncountable number of opportunities to make jokes. When it was Jones' turn to perform, rather than get out of his truck and walk up towards the back entrance like most of the other artists were doing, he had his driver pull to right next to the door before getting out. Trae & Co. found this very amusing.
Following that, there was a late-night private performance for an all-white fraternity at their gated frat house near the UT campus. It was weird. You know that scene in Old School where Snoop performs? It was almost exactly like that.
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Hundreds of drunk white kids were packed into this back section of the house that you could tell was/is almost certainly used for hazing pledges. They were all going bananas, scuffing up their boat shoes and sweating up their lilac polos and whatnot. Furthermore, a large percentage of them knew an even larger percentage of the words to the songs.
There was a point in the evening where, after they were granted explicit permission to do so, they participated in an "I'll slap a nigga!" call-and-response with Trae right before he did that "Slap On Sight" song from the ABN album. They were giddy about that.
The evening ended as most of these types of trips tend to: A fistfight at a strip club at 3 a.m.
And now you know the backstory to the backstory of the story. Go read the entire thing here.