Trapdoor is a collaboration between Chicago rapper Defcee and longtime Backwoodz affiliate Messiah Musik. In some ways, Trapdoor is a pairing of two artists whose career arcs are very different, but are similarly on the verge of new horizons. Defcee has been a fixture in his city’s underground scene for a long time, but over the past couple years he has been active like never before. He dropped a string of projects before and during the pandemic, culminating in a project with August Fanon—another friend of ours—earlier this year. Meanwhile, Messiah Musik has carefully stacked his resume with placements on critically acclaimed projects including Quelle Chris’ Niggas Is Men (2013), Mach-Hommy’s Pray For Haiti (2021), and damn near every Armand Hammer album in between.

“I sought Messiah out for a whole project because his track record was perfect—I had never heard a song he produced where it wasn’t one of my favorites on the project,” Defcee says. “His work reminds me of what I loved about RZA’s beats when I first discovered Wu Tang— ’Dusty loops, heavy bag drums’ to quote billy woods.” 

Defcee has been rapping for fifteen years, but Trapdoor really does feel like his debut album in a way. The writing is sharper, the flows are tighter and it’s all a perfect marriage for Messiah’s signature sound.

“The title hit me when I revisited the music and realized that many of the attitudes expressed within the songs cut to the paradoxical nature of that compound word—how a door is supposed to be a temporary barrier between spaces that can allow for movement at will, and how a trap is designed to keep you stuck where you are,” Defcee explains.

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