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No one is doing it quite like CEO Trayle. The Bronx-born, Atlanta-based emcee has been blazing his own trail as an independent artist since the mid ’10s, steering clear of the label route even after his 2020 track “OK Cool” earned him looks from Young Stoner Life Records and others. (In his December interview with The FADER’s Brandon Callender, Trayle said he valued his friends at YSL because they supported and mentored him without pressuring him to sign.)
On Monday, the 246th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Trayle gave us the first taste of his next EP, Vier. “July The Fourth” finds rapper reflecting on a painful memory: Nine years ago on Independence Day, he was shot seven times during a botched invasion of his home, an event that irrevocably altered the course of his life and career. He was still a teenager at the time, and he uses the new track to look deeply at how he’s grown since then and who has supported him along the way.
“He plugged me, I love him for life / He paved the way, I bought him ice / And I’m not goin’ for that shit twice / Kept on rapping till I got nice,” he monotones in his rich, raspy drawl over a doleful Twysted Genius instrumental. It’s a heartfelt bar from a rapper who projects an untouchable cool but is never afraid to show his soft side.