Lil Tracy

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About Lil Tracy

Born Jazz Ishmael Butler, Lil Tracy has music in his blood. His dad, Ishmael Butler, pioneered New York’s jazz-rap renaissance in the early ’90s with Digable Planets—their single “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” came out in 1993, a year before Tracy was born—before returning in 2009 as one-half of the intergalactic funk-rap duo Shabazz Palaces. His mom, Cheryl Clemons, was a member of the influential R&B trio SWV. But Tracy has forged his own path, building a unique style of rap music that has helped him pioneer the emo side of the SoundCloud rap scene alongside GothBoiClique and his frequent collaborator, the late Lil Peep. He broke through as a member of Thraxxhouse, the Seattle affiliate of the influential Florida collective Raider Klan, before emerging as a solo entity. Tracy peddles almost exclusively in the aforementioned emo rap, but he adds pummeling low end to his guitar-laden beats and singsong delivery. Anarchy, released in 2019, was Tracy’s most confident work to date, with the rapper naturally able to synthesize feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression into tightly wound pop hooks and gut-wrenching verses. The death of his friend Peep looms large, as the duo were beefing when Peep tragically passed in 2017. A year later, Tracy suffered a drug-induced heart attack. His music is an unflinching reflection of these tragedies, imbued with the talent of a rap-rich bloodline. His style occupies a unique lane of hip-hop, and in that way, his fresh perspective on the genre certainly does justice to the Butler name.

Teaneck, NJ, United States
October 3, 1995

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