This is an entry in an ongoing series for 303 Magazine, which will provide a range of local album reviews. It is our intention to highlight the talents of local musicians, whether veterans to the industry or newcomers. Like the bands, the album can be fresh or something we just haven’t had the power to take off repeat in the past few months. Check out previous entries in the series here.
The invitation to take a trip through the mind and soul of a musician you admire is a gift. Throw in the added opportunity to see into their heart, and the product is an immeasurable experience. Zoom in to Trev Rich’s latest album, Trap Gospel, a title that effectively displays the theme of his latest triumph. A triumph that he has voyaged alone, given the notable lack of features decorating the 13-tracks of the release.
Trap Gospel journals the good and the bad of Rich’s career in the industry, expanding on his highest moments and deepest dips into self-doubt. Rich has shared the spotlight with many heavy hitters in the rap community and has seen his name on impressive collaborations, such as the third installment of Revenge of the Dreamers recording sessions with J. Cole and last year’s Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse soundtrack. Even so, Rich has still had to pave his own way and by shedding a light on this strife through Trap Gospel, he has changed the narrative on what it means to be his fan.
Rich has consistently dropped a hearty new project annually in the last few years. The shape of the messages change but the essence of the rapper remains — his goals and aim for greatness are unburdened. Trap Gospel as a whole is a great project, but a few songs stand out notably. After a fierce intro with “Down,” the album comes in hot with “Evil,” while channeling the Three Wise Monkeys, touting in the chorus of an inability to hear, see, or speak of the track title. “Walk on Water” continues the direct reference to a path towards divinity. In his story, he writes about a version of himself who has made mistakes, but now “tip-toes on water.”
“Chucks Up” brings the tempo down for a brief moment to speak to the heavier topic of losing loved ones, a common human experience that drives many of us to spirituality. “Remote Control,” a fan favorite, sparks it up again, seemingly speaking to the comfort we can sometimes find in declaring our own destiny, no matter how futile.
The album rounds out with a literal declaration of transparency with “No Tint,” with Rich spitting over a fluttery beat. “Happy” retains a lively rhythm, and the lyrics keep the heart-felt meaning burning. Rich deters from the normal rap message of money and fame, admitting to pining for true happiness. He states, “I just want to be happy/ I tried to find it with the bitches and jewelry/ but the rappers all before me was fooling me.” Rich wraps up with the album with a bonus track, “Haha,” though don’t expect any genuine laughs as Rich describes how he makes his way to the bank.
Trev Rich’s music has taken his listeners on many a journey during his music career. This most recent spiritual path is the deepest insight into his perspective, not only as an artist but as a person. The lyricist has used his talent to pave the way for other Denver rappers, and now he has shown the light to those who share in his beliefs. We all know Trev Rich a little better after bumping Trap Gospel, and for that Denver music may never be the same.