Instrumental Insight • The Producers of Alternative Trap

Lucki Eck$, now simply Lucki, released his debut offering Alternative Trap on July 25, 2013. An influential, formative, and groundbreaking release, the thirteen song project not only honed in on the drug dealing narratives of a Chicago teenager, but it also hosted some of the strongest production of that year. Three years and some change later and most of the instrumentals still hold up. That being said, almost all of the producers involved in this important release have gone separate directions. Hell, even Lucki has changed his name, changed his management, and crafted a new sound. Some of the involved producers (of which there are eight) managed to pave their own lanes, while others reached new heights, while almost all have remained true to their craft. Here's the rundown of the eight different producers (seven Chicago, one San Diego) who helped sculpt the iconic backdrop for Alternative Trap.

Photo cred: Andre Elliott

Photo cred: Andre Elliott

• Hippie Sabotage •

Opening the project is Hippie Sabotage, a brother duo from San Diego. They tapped into the Chicago scene heavily in 2012 and 2013, working with everyone from Lucki to Alex Wiley to Monster Mike to Calez. Opening the project with those guitar plucks is so nice, and while I don't think Lucki will ever rhyme over a beat as relaxed and piano-driven as this, it's such a great opening act. The Hippies have since tapped into the live/EDM world, on a perpetual tour of crowd surfs and high energy remixes, all the while continuing to work with Chicago artists like Wiley and Kembe X.

Photo cred: Andrew Zeiter

Photo cred: Andrew Zeiter

• Plu2o Nash •

Plu2o Nash is one of the main contenders on this project. Like Young Chop is to Keef, Plu2o is to Lucki. Providing three instrumentals for Alternative Trap significantly helped to create the newfound genre. While Plu2o and Lucki still work together (they released a song last week), Plu2o has branched out by working with well known names like A$AP Rocky and Jesse Rutherford (of The Neighbourhood). Nash Effect, Plu2o's anticipated solo album (as well as his infamous tag), still has no release date, but the streets are waiting patiently.

Photo cred: Ben Niespodziany

Photo cred: Ben Niespodziany

• Hippie Dream •

Hippie Dream is another name that coincides with the Alternative Trap genre. With three beats on the project (just like Plu2o), his songs helped to define the strong album. That being said, Hippie Dream's production credits don't extend much further following this album. Loose instrumentals on his SoundCloud and work with Chicago artists like Adamn Killa, Monster Mike, Jarred AG, and Saint Millie, but he has yet to break out of the Windy City rap scene. Word around town is that he has thousands of tracks on his computer. It's only a matter of time before we hear the Detox level solo release from Hippie Dream properly titled A Hippie's Dream.

Photo cred: mizaelolivas

Photo cred: mizaelolivas

• Mulatto Beats •

Mulatto Beats provides one of my favorite backdrops for Alternative Trap. The song “Time Wasted” works so well on this project, following two songs by Plu2o and a song by Hippie. After the release of Alternative Trap, Mulatto Beats went on to be a producer for Hurt Everybody, later working with Mick Jenkins, Twista, Alex Wiley, and more. He even went on to continue working with Lucki, collaborating again in 2014 for the track “Xan Cage”. As of now, Mulatto Beats continues to be the main producer for Qari while also prepping a producer album with some of his rapper friends. I can't wait.

Photo cred: Ben Niespodziany

Photo cred: Ben Niespodziany

• Hytman •

Hytman with the literal hit! The song “Count on Me” was such a big deal for me (and countless others). When I listen to it, it instantly takes me back to first arriving in Chicago in 2013 and trying my best to tap into such an impressive scene. Hytman and Lucki went on to create “Count on Me 3” for the project BodyHigh. Since, Hytman has opened his own studio called HytLab, where he works with clients and friends alike, including Adamn Killa, Mic Vic, and Ran$ah. 

Photo cred: Ben Niespodziany

Photo cred: Ben Niespodziany

• DocDaMindbenda •

DocDaMindbenda is an interesting addition to Alternative Trap. He seems to be tapped into a rather different hip-hop scene; more Treated Crew, more sample-friendly and boom bap than what we hear from Lucki. That being said, the song "48th-49th", which he produces, is a bass-driven beast featuring Monster Mike and plenty of impressive bars. It's a heavy hitting loop, one that begs for replays. Since Alternative Trap dropped three years ago, Doc has gone on to release numerous instrumental projects, as well as collaborative efforts with Vic Spencer, Chris Crack, Sulaiman, Gzus Piece. He even provided the backdrop for Vic Spencer's diss track about Mick Jenkins, properly titled “Dick Jerkins.” His 2015 project, Super Villain Theme Music, is worth your while. 

Photo cred: Disney

Photo cred: Disney

• Nate Fox •

Nate Fox might have made the biggest strides of these eight producers. Since providing “No Troubles” for Alternative Trap (perhaps my favorite song on the album), Nate Fox went on to become part of The Social Experiment alongside Peter Cottontale, Donnie Trumpet, Stix, and Chance The Rapper. You can also find Nate Fox producing for artists like D.R.A.M., Towkio, Big Sean, Kehlani, Lil' Wayne, Lorine Chia, Ric Wilson, Jamila Woods, and countless others. The portfolio speaks for itself. You also heard Nate Fox and Lucki together again on the track “Stevie Wonder” with Chance The Rapper, Young Chop, and Plu2o Nash. Yeah, I need to revisit that track. 

Photo cred: Closed Sessions

Photo cred: Closed Sessions

•OddCouple •

OddCouple went from closing out Alternative Trap with a near ambient number to eventually signing to Closed Sessions. From there, he released the collab heavy, groove heavy Chatterbox, which was released last year. Most recently, he executively produced Jamila Woods' album Heavn, all the while working on his upcoming solo piece Liberation. Full-lengths aside, OddCouple has also released numerous loose singles, like his track with ZMoney. Listen to that song twice. Back to Alternative Trap, it's definitely worth revisiting the outro. The whole album, for that matter. Spin it all the way through, and look where everyone is now, three summers later, shining brightly.