In mixing together a plethora of genres, it’s easy to hear that TravThaGod has a real passion for what he does. When talking to us about his links to the UK, how his name came about, and of course, his new track, the American artist shows us his funny, ethical and musical sides.
Tell us about your sound
My sound is influenced by a mix of reggae, dancehall, hip hop, R&B and even pop.
Where does your name come from?
The Name TravThaGod itself came about in high school. I used to sell candy in the hallways between classes; and when it started getting hot out, I was selling Gatorades and Snapples. One kid was like, “You don’t got juices, though”, tryna be funny. So, I open my locker and show him and he starts laughing and buys like two, saying, “Yo, not for nothing, at selling candy & shit, Trav tha God”.
I wasn’t even voicing them times yet, but the name just stuck. And I just replace the e in ‘the’ to an A ya know.
How did you get involved with the music scene?
I always grew up around music since I was small, ya know? I used to go to Moody’s Records in the Bronx every other weekend or so to go get strictly the best tapes with my pops ya know. I literally collected each one on cassette. But as a musician now, I was playing piano from about the age of 6-7. After piano classes, I would go home and play reggae riddims on the piano versus playing Mozart and Beethoven for homework. I was excellent at both, but I’m more frequent with classical because that’s what I had to learn.
What do you think is the biggest thing happening on the dancehall and hip hop scene right now?
Right now, the biggest thing on the dancehall scene, you have Chronixx; Popcaan, Koffee, 6ixx crew. Hip hop now, I like Lil Baby, Gunna, Drake, Tory Lanez - the sound is different, but I can appreciate the new age.
You are from New Jersey. What are the best and worst things about it there?
The best thing about NJ is we have the best pizza, and it’s a little bit of everything for everybody everywhere. The worst part about NJ is the psychotic weather patterns we have all year around. And taxes are high!
What is America looking like right now?*
America looks like the pandemic of masks really. Kind of boring scene at the moment. In no time, everything will be open again
If you could be president for a day, what rules would you change?
If I could be president for a day, I would make Marijuana legal in all 50 states. Free Healthcare, And litter free communities. That’s just off the top of my head.
What have you been up to during the lockdown?
The same thing I was doing before quarantine. Working and music. Music and working. I was supposed to be in Colombia to shoot a music video but thanks to lockdown; that was cancelled.
Do you think your life will change after all this?
I wouldn’t say my life is going to change because of this but I would say it made me focus more on the future & how to prepare for even more worse situations ya know.
Your parents are from Jamaica and Britain. Do you ever spend time in the UK? What’s your opinion on it here?
Yeah, my mom is from Manchester, England. Her family moved to England from Jamaica. England is dope! It’s a different vibe over there completely. I wish [your] weather wasn’t so dull-drummy lol. Mostly cloudy or rain.
Do you ever go to Jamaica? How do you like it there?
My dad is from Clarendon, Jamaica. Have family in Montego Bay & Kingston as well. I love Jamaica! Nothing compares. From the weather to the food to the people. Heaven on earth.
How have these cultural backgrounds influenced your artistry?
Well ya know, being from Jamaican background, you’re exposed to music at such a young age; it’s just distilled in you even if you’re not necessarily an artist or musician. It’s as necessary as when you take off your shoes before you enter a Japanese house. It’s just tradition that you have some type of musical frequency within you.
I listen to artists such as John Holt; Ken Boothe, Gregory Issacs to Terror Fabulous, Bounty Killer, Capleton and many others. For such a small country we have a very global stamp and large spectrum of sounds to choose from.
As well as being a musician, you are also a producer. Which one do you prefer?
I started off producing first, so I will always have that special connection with the creation of sound, from when I was small, playing the piano and saxophone. Creating sound will always be a thing that never goes away. Song writing I realised I had a talent for it when I would play people songs, not telling them it was me & they would ask what song that was or why their Shazam wasn’t picking up the song lol.
What is your new single ‘Her Smoke’ all about?
Her Smoke is a song that came about when my friend B.I. [the producer ] had most of the beat done, and he had it on loop at the studio. As I’m creating melodies, Babyface’s song “Never keeping Secret” Immediately came singing through me. And surprisingly it fit perfectly. So, I came up with verses for it and it was a hit. You can also hear a rift of Erykah Badu from her feature with the Roots on there as well if you listen closely.
How would you describe the video in five words?
AfroLove, Luxurious, Elegant, Simple, Sensual
Why did you decide to film it in The Netherlands? What was it like working with Teddy Pal on the Music video?
The Netherlands was a great experience. Me and a group of friends went out there, it was my first time, my friend’s been there every year for 3 years straight. They told me I would love it, so I agreed. The air was different, the food was different, just the whole vibe. I called a good friend of mine and told him you need to come out here like tomorrow. I had the speakers playing at the penthouse we were staying and Her Smoke came on and when I was looking out the balcony, I knew I wanted to shoot then and there.
I flew Teddy out a few days later to shoot and it was murder she wrote Mx literally! He’s great. I tell him my ideas, he tells me his, and we create magic.
You have previously spoken on your ability to think outside the box. How important is it to be able to do this?
It’s very important because that’s how you make your mark in the industry. What makes you different from everyone else? Your sound? Your vision? Your vibe creation? That’s what draws them in, a whole new perspective they never knew they needed.
What does the future hold for you?
I hope the future holds for me to still be able to create music & let the masses see what I can bring to the table, God Willing.
*Please note, this interview was conducted before the global Black Lives Matter Protests.
Check out TravTheGod on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook