From Future to 6lack, East Atlanta is one of the undeniable epicenters of both Hip-Hop and culture. Surrounded by a dense highway system, the mix of police sirens and violence breed a specific sort of resiliency. Many are familiar with the streets of Atlanta, but few have lived it like Lil Trevo has.
Formerly signed to Future’s Freebandz label, 21 year old Lil Trevo has found his permanent home at Cinematic Music Group. Trevo’s latest album, “Hustle Never Hate” gave a deep sense of confidence that one could only muster through truly authentic experiences.
“I was going through a lot of shit at such a young age. I ain’t never really been the type to talk to people about my issues, so music was always there. The ability to vent, without even directly venting, is what it comes down to,” Trevo reiterates over Facetime.
At only 17, Trevo would find himself in the grips of an overzealous Atlanta Police Department. Reminiscing, Trevo describes those early years in vivid detail. “I started getting locked up in county jail when I was 17. I remember coming to school with some weed on me, and ended up getting popped with like 2 zips. The city ended up banning me from the schools for my record. That’s when I really started getting into some trouble.”
Alongside a host of petty charges, Trevo served sentences ranging from 15 days to 6 months. “I didn’t graduate school, so I had really been in the streets from a very young age. It’s hard to get out when that’s what you are constantly around,” he reminds me.
Determined to make another way for himself, Trevo began seriously rapping after only a few years of real experience. “It began at high-school football games. I’d be freestyling and shit, and people would continually push me to go seriously pursue this shit,” he laughs.
As time passed and Lil Trevo gained interest from Freebandz, the future began to become more visible. Now in a serious deal with Cinematic Music Group, Trevo reiterated, “those are my brothers, I still got love for them over there at Freebandz.”
Lil Trevo now works under the wing of CMG’s CEO Johnny Shipes. Clearly happy over our facetime call, Trevo explained how his mindset has changed throughout his experiences at Cinematic. “I ain’t going to lie. Cinematic is really like a family. They really let yourself as an artist, but at the end of the day, they still are going to expect certain things from you. That’s how the business goes, you know?”
Although the label is based in Brooklyn, the Atlanta rapper remains true to his roots. “I came up on TI and Jeezy, those were the people I looked up to,” Trevo explained.
In one of Trevo’s latest videos for ‘Struggle,’ his origins within Atlanta are portrayed with great accuracy. “We shot that video in Atlanta around Route Davis. I knew I wanted to have the visual of a cell in the video, as a reminder of my past. That’s why the video is so raw, it has that real energy to it and gives that feeling of the ‘Struggle.’ I told the video team I wanted all my videos to have a sincere meaning behind them,” he explains.
Focused on growth, it’s clear Trevo is coming full circle. Now avoiding the dangers of the streets, he’s reminds himself of his blessings daily. “I was just extremely blessed for how quickly this shit took off. I’m focused on humbling myself and moving forward. I’m not near where I want to be yet.”
Stream Lil Trevo’s latest album, “Hustle Never Hate,” and watch his latest music video for ‘All For Yall’ below.