For reasons unbeknownst to me or my equally uninformed peers, T.I.’s Lil Trap House Pop-Up came into town three weeks ago and nobody in my circles knew about it until last weekend. Situated in a parking lot outside of Delicious Pizza/Delicious Vinyl on Hollywood Boulevard (remember that, now), Lil Trap House is a a tribute to the Trap Culture and the music that it inspired.
Not one to miss out on something cool and Black that isn’t a brunch party, or just a party, I RSVP’d and decided to go with a friend.
I came to the event thinking that it was going to be an exhibit inside of the actual Delicious Pizza/Delicious Vinyl storefront. But if you have been on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood (or just Hollywood in general, God bless your soul), you know that Delicious Pizza/Delicious Vinyl* is a very small space smushed amongst other small spaces packed between larger skyscrapers. Given all the photos I had seen of the exhibit, and my ignorance of just how big DPDV actually is, I was confused when I walked in to find a cashier doing his job like any other regular day.
“Uh, hi. Where is the Lil Trap House Exhibit?”
“Go down that way.”
We go down the little passage to the back of the establishment where we are greeted by a woman and a tablet. She checks us in, and gives us directions, to go outside to a parking lot behind the parlor. Now, at this point, I’m really confused as to how an exhibit, that was clearly inside a building by its pictures, is outside in a parking lot. We go outside, and then all my confusions were assuaged.
The photos didn’t lie, nor did the people directing us to the popup. The whole exhibit sat in a small Countryside Barn that took up no more than 4 spaces in the parking lot. The outside is everything you’d expect from a (stereo)typical trap house: boarded windows, graffiti, and a paint job even Hellen Keller could’ve probably done better.
Disclaimer: none of the contraband described in the exhibit is real.
When you walk in, you are greeted by a coffee table littered with the vices of the ghetto: malt liquor, marijuana, and boxes of cigarettes. To the left of it, a small, worn loveseat. That’s a 2-person couch, for those that don’t know. To the right, 2 pieces: a wall of cocaine bricks adorned with a Young Jeezy illustration and XXL cover, as well as a larger piece of art depicting T.I. with the use of countless rubber bands. It was only fitting.
Two steps further in the shed (maybe 6, if you are a small-footed person), and you’re in the kitchenette area. A nebulous cloud billows from a Sprite can situated upright on the floor, with a drawing of Future beside it, naturally. The stove and cabinets belonged to Gucci Mane, with all the trappings to emulate the process to make crack rocks.
But at the back of the house sat what I imagine most people came to see, especially out in Los Angeles. The back right corner came with the ample embodiment and representation of Bloods and Crips, headlined by arguably the two biggest rappers to come from each side: YG and the late Nipsey Hussle. A large painting illustrate the two in pose symbolizing unity. The logos of their respective brands are blended in with red and blue stripes, a play on our nation’s flag. On Nipsey’s side hung a pair of his Crenshaw Puma Suedes, hanging as if they were atop a telephone wire. YG’s side had his Reebok Classic collaboration hanging in the same manner. In front of it all was the classic hood bike, in a red and blue two-tone.
There were plenty of other things in the house, but because the exhibit is so small, I’ve probably given half of it away, so I won’t go further.
What stood out most to me were the sneakers. But they didn’t stand out until I started writing this article. I originally came to see what I thought was going to be an extensive experience. What I instead got was the subtle effect of those sneakers hanging in front of that portrait. The subtlety in how, like music, the trap culture affects the sneaker culture as well. It wasn’t by happenstance that YG got a Reebok sneaker and Nipsey did a Puma suede. Both sneakers, along with the likes of the Cortez, were and are still very prominent in gang and trap culture. So of course it only makes sense that these would be models chosen for those respective collaborations. But when those sneakers dropped, did you think about the impact and the legacy behind the sneakers? Chances are we are lying to ourselves and saying we did because here are two dope west coast rappers with rivaling gang affiliations and now they have sneakers in monochromatic colors reflective of said affiliations.
That’s only a cursory, surface-level takeaway that is given to you for free. And really, it isn’t even any insight. Rappers do sneakers all the time now. But how many rappers with/having had clear and present gang affiliations do sneakers?