After a year and a half of behind-the-scenes grinding, New York City’s own Trav has finally given the streets the album they have been waiting for. VIBE proudly presents his new album QRAK (pronounced as "Crack").
QRAK (an acronym Queens Raised a King) is arguably Trav’s most polished project to date as it is a balanced mix of electrifying club bangers and heart-stirring street anthems, giving listeners goosebumps from beginning to end. Each of the 20 tracks are filled with his gritty and captivating songwriting --- and lyricism coupled with his distinct auto-tune driven melodies. And it shows in his lead singles: the Blac Youngsta and Don Q featured “Laying Low” and his collabo with Meek Mill, “Blow My High”, the first verse from Meek since his incarceration.
The Queens spitter felt the need to come back even hard this time after laying low behind the scenes as a writer/producer. In a way, he began to really feel the negative effects from his brief absense since his last mixtape Push 3 .
“I felt like I was missing a little bit,” Trav explains. “I felt like I had to bring a little bit of aggression back. I felt like I had to have a different approach to let people know I wasn’t playing, that I had records. For my core following, the people whose aware of me they’re going to be like ‘oh damn, I remember this’. I didn’t put out music in like a year or two, a year in a half. So now it’s like I got to come through like nah he snapping, he’s too crazy, you know what I mean? I have to!
The album also showcases Trav’s self-described and unique ability to bring different artists together who have never worked together before. It includes other memorable collaborations from Tory Lanes, Belly, Lil Durk, Jim Jones, and many more.
In this new interview, VIBE managed to catch up with Trav for a moment to speak in detail about his new album and one of his last conversations with Meek Mill before he was incarcerated.
What’s the significance of the album title?
The title QRAK stands for Queens Raised A King. I’m from Queens and it has a double metaphor to it like a young queen raised a king and then Queens is my hood, my borough in New York City.
How long did it take for you to put it together?
To be honest Mark, you know what took me the longest to do? It was picking the songs. I got over 200 songs, features and all of that. I don’t know if a lot of people know how I am but I’m one of those people that when you come to New York City, someway, somehow, you’re going to end up getting next to me. Every city got one of those. And My studio sessions be dope. You’ll see mine with people like Tee Grizzley, Waka [Flocka Flame], Yo Gotti, Blac Youngsta, just on a regular night. If they’re in New York City and I’m in the studio they might pull up and we have a whole feature going on.
But making the album is the hardest thing. Choosing the tracks is the hardest thing to do. I did so many songs I ended up making a whole separate project.
How did the record, “Blow My High” with Meek Mill come about? Did you record that song in the studio with him or did you send it to him?
Yeah, I recorded in the studio with Meek, but that one was supposed to be on Dreamchasers 4. We did it in L.A. last year and it was made for DC4. But what happened is, I ended up doing another hook that ended up on DC4 but they didn’t keep me on the hook. Nicki actually did it over. We were in L.A. and he dropped his album and it didn’t make it on there so I told him, let me put this record on mine. He really wanted it though. You know how you got a record but it couldn’t make it? Choosing records is the hardest thing. He wanted to drop it and I’m like, no, let me drop it. So, I took it back and kept it for mine.
Do you plan on shooting the video for that song?
Hell yeah. The crazy thing is that I was with him at Powerhouse. We were supposed to do the video the following week. When he told me he had court, I spoke to him on the phone and he said something to me, and that’s my friend so we really don’t talk like this so he was really like, “Bro I want to feel normal. This sh*t be getting tiring Trav. The judge is all on my back and all I want to do is kick it with my son.” Usually, we have conversations about life and sh*t like this, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard Meek this serious. He knew somebody was doing him dirty already so two days later, when I got the news that he was locked up, l was like dang he was just telling me this. He knew it was going to happen. The public didn’t know but he knew.
Meek was part of the reason why I’m dropping music like this. Him and [Blac] Youngsta. He’s one of the realest dudes I ever met.
After listening to the whole project, what do you want the streets to take away from this?
I’m here. Trav is here for real and that ni**a not playing. Mark, he’s not playing! He’s not here to play with nobody. This is not Mario bro, you don’t get 3 lives and some mushrooms.
Why shouldn’t the fans count this album out?
Because it’s good music. It’s a whole new sound, it’s my sound. I’m not trying to go into anybody’s lane or try to say that I’m better than this person or that person. I’m just here to have my sound be heard and take care of my people. To make good music.