NXTMIKE Forms Trapship Collective to Push Boundaries of What CHH is [INTERVIEW]
I get excited when I hear about Christian brothers and sisters who are creating new things within the context of God-glorifying art. I believe that if Christians are to reflect the image and glory of God, then they should be influential within the context of creativity and art. With that being said, there’s also the age-old story of the church taking drinking song melodies and writing hymns to them so as to creatively bring light into different facets of culture.
I’m pleased to have recently heard about NXTMIKE’s venture into starting Trapship Collective, an innovative idea to bring trap drums and worship together in music. Much like Martin Luther in the early church, Mike is taking ideas and repurposing them to enlighten the believer. I had the privilege to sit and talk with Mike last week about his new venture.
I heard you for the first time with Prestxn last year on the Trapship project – really dug it, but now you’ve put a collective together. Talk about that. What is Trapship and how did this idea start?
First off, the meaning of Trapship is trap drums and worship music. The idea started about a year and a half ago. When Prestxn and I get in the studio we don’t go for a certain sound we just make stuff and if it feels like it’s edifying God we run with it. This sound was bred from us being in that creative mode. Trapship is a genre that I’m trying to create but it’s also a byproduct of all of our studio sessions.
The “trap” part is broken up into the kicks, the low end, the 808s, the grunge sound that people are looking for. The “ship” part is the end of worship. The goal is to do everything intentionally with our lyrics. If you listen to my old stuff, the lyrics are intentional, and don’t shy away from who God is. Once Prestxn and I released the Trapship project we realized we had something special. There was so much feedback, knowing there’s not a lot of projects in CHH that put so many sounds into one body of work. We just pick up influence from so many things – hip-hop, punk, rock, and so on.
The first time I heard trap music, it was this underground gangster sound from Memphis. So now, fast-forwarding to this current era, trap music is considered pop music. Like Post Malone has a lot of trap influence in his music. It’s dope to me how you want to repurpose that type of sound and concepts for the glory of God. What was your first introduction to trap, and what does it mean to you now that you have found a way to use it to glorify God?
Yeah, I’m a huge Posty fan. I started making music at the end of 2018, and I decided if I were to really get into this it was only going to be for the sole purpose of giving glory to God. God calls us to glorify him, but the fact that he would give us the skills and the fact that he gives us these sounds and creative desires in the first place is the best part.
There are a lot of people who make music for the wrong reasons, not even in what they are talking about, but just that they’re trying to fit a certain mold. For me it’s not been about that, it’s been about being obedient. That’s what we strive for. Obedience is huge. God has provided a lot of clarity with all of this. He gave us this sound, he’s given me people to network with, and when we put it all together, the final product is beautiful. God can use anybody and anything and we are a testament to that.
I’ve noticed there is something about this style of music that people are attracted to. There’s an opportunity for vulnerability there that can hit people in different ways. For you, what’s most appealing about trap music?
You kinda took the words out of my mouth. The most appealing thing for me is this blend of the style and the genres we use that will engage and captivate all kinds of people. For example, now that we’re all working together we’ve been making the best music of our lives. What we’re creating is truly praise and worship lyrics with that Post Malone vibe. I’m excited to give people all different songs and sounds to choose from that they’ll sing along to. We don’t just make music for Christians, but with this appealing sound, I hope that non-believers will be singing Jesus lyrics.
I think of how your song “Al0n3” can bridge the gap a bit. That’s a song with a lot of cool sounds but is also very worshipful.
Yeah. The second pillar of Trapship is the idea of us being Trapped in Worship. Trap has a negative connotation. Like if you’re stuck I’d pose the question what if being trapped were something beautiful? What if we were trapped and not wanting to get out of something so amazing? The goal for me is that we would be trapped inside a state of worship with no desire to escape. That idea will embody all the music we will be creating.
As a fellow creative, it’s inspiring to hear about a desire to carry our art as a light into the world. So talk about this team you’ve accumulated, what’s the goal with it?
I love making music with friends. Making music is collaborative. With this group of five guys what I’ve noticed is that we’re all very good at specific things but we all need help or community in other aspects. My big goal is to keep everything in-house. If you need help with songwriting, structure, producing, engineering, or merchandise we do all this between the five of us. This collective will fill a void for each of us.
Some of us were dying for community, some of us were dying for motivation. Some of us need encouragement, and some of us have been through trauma and need people to lean on. On paper, this is a legitimate label, but I’d rather call it a collective. Not because it’s cool and trendy but because we’re all in this together. We’re walking through life together. It’s not just music. We talk as a group and one on one about our spiritual walk. We are looking out for and care for each other’s well-being. Then after that, I’m excited to provide these guys with resources and the help they need to get their music to the next level because I know they’re doing it all with the right intentions.
*I was also able to talk with Mike about each member of the Trapship Collective, as well as get some quotes about Mike from each of them. As he spoke, Mike beamed with respect for each member which shows how pleased he is to know each one personally.*
Let’s talk about each member of the team.
Prestxn and I first connected before I was even doing music. We connected at a show in Charlotte like four years ago. He was really intentional about getting into the studio, and I told him I make music but I had nothing out yet. Prestxn kept encouraging me to just go do it. He believed in me when no one else even saw anything in me. Prestxn is one of the most talented all-around artists I’ve ever known and he’s like a little brother to me. It’s crazy because he’s not been confident in himself, but when he showed me all his unreleased stuff it blew my mind. He’s humble, he doesn’t care ’cause he just makes music because he loves it, but he’s sitting on some of the dopest music that no one has ever heard.
“I’ve worked with Mike for about three years now, we’re more than just friends, we are family. Mike is my brother. every time we are in the same room ideas spark from nothing. I love working with Mike. He’s like a hero to me. I believe what I am most excited about for the future of TRAPSHIP collective is that I get to work with some of my favorite artist in the CHH scene. They are big things to come for TRAPSHIP and this is only the beginning.” – Prestxn
Setty reached out to me about two years ago. I was putting out a song that I submitted to Rapzilla for Critique Friday and, praise God, I won that night. Setty heard it and messaged me on Instagram saying “I see you’re from Charlotte. Dude I’m from Charlotte!” So we stayed in touch, we just hung out a few times without even worrying about music. We watched basketball, got food, whatever. The music came later because we were friends first. He’s a friend who is wise and knowledgeable about everything. Musically I consider him the king of cadences. He’s able to switch his flow and cadences up without thinking. It blows me away how he can do that off the rip.
“For me, it’s community. Mike has a gift for connecting with people and bringing them together. In our collective we get to be ourselves and share OUR relationship with God; it’s not some cookie-cutter version of dropping a number of Jesuses per bar, I can be authentic. We get to share skills, leverage relationships, save money, grow as artists, and make music all under the banner of Jesus. It’s a real commune of breaking bread and sharing water — the essentials of life.” – Setty
Oh my gosh bro you have to hear Kip’s music! His music is therapeutic. He doesn’t sound like the rest of us, but he only has like four songs out. He’s the world’s best talent that no one knows about. He’s not really on social media, he’s not posting anything, so it’s hard to connect with him like that. I met him through a mutual friend, he was looking for community and wanted to build with people.
The first night I was in the studio with him I felt the Holy Spirit in the room. All I wanted at that moment was for that music to get to more people’s ears. Over this last year, I’ve been serious and intentional about building with him because it’s like he became family overnight.
“I think the most exciting thing is just the fact that I get to have a community of brothers that are like-minded, and want to create great Christ-centered music. I have struggled to find other artists that do what I do, so this has really encouraged me. And I think we are all just such different people as well but have such chemistry, and it’s a testament to the kind of leader and connector that Mike is. I would say that mike is by far the most selfless person I know. Always checking to see if I’m ok on a personal level, which comes first before the music. Since we have established that bond and brotherhood, I’m very excited to see the music that comes and has already come from that.” – Kip Wolfe
There are few people that I’ve gotten as close to as quickly as I have with adriansings. We’ve both been in that Christian Hip-Hop circle and I’ve been a fan of his for a while. Something about his music is special. He has an ability to take his hard life experiences and things that people would consider traumatic and morph them into something so beautiful.
My favorite project from him is No More Birthdays. We’re homies but I still listen to that and it’s like the first time I’m hearing it all over again. He’s been so helpful and so instrumental in some of the things we have coming up. As a human, he’s also so genuine. What you see is what you get with him. He’s also a person who wants to help and has a huge servant’s heart. He’s a brother who puts others before himself and that’s hard to come by.
“I’ve known for a while that Mike is in Charlotte so I connected with him on social media but when we met in person, that connection was a Godsend. It’s like we’re friends, but also music is there. Part of my branding has been this lone wolf thing that has been unintentional. It’s hard to make music and be creative when you’re in isolation, and then when Covid happened I lost a lot of energy for music.
Connecting with Mike has been amazing because he’s someone who has seen something in me that I was unable to see. I’m inspired again, so I’m really excited to be back and developing my sound. I have a new single [that just dropped] I’m stoked for people to hear. This collective has been great for me not just musically but on a personal level too and that’s something that’s rare. I truly think Trapship will be bigger than anything any of us have realized and it’s gonna all be for God’s glory.” – adriansings
*With a couple of things left to note, be expecting some single releases from Trapship in the coming weeks, and lastly, NXTMIKE does not have a solo album to his name. There may be some news about that on the horizon. Needless to say, NXTMIKE’s vision and goals aligned with the talent and creativity he’s surrounded himself with should set them all up for a bright future. I pray for consistency and wisdom as they let God do what He will through their music.