church choir by August Prum January 15, 2018
In 2017, Creek Boyz posted their debut single “With My Team” with virtually zero fanfare or promotion.
“With My Team” immediately caught on in Creek Boyz native Baltimore, with its unique “trap choir” sound and uplifting message of positivity, the crew had a hit on their hands and were signed to 300 Entertainment almost immediately.
In the eight or so months since “With My Team”, Creek Boyz have dropped a remix with Lil Yachty and added a couple of new tracks to their collection, but despite a tiny discography (they have a total of five songs on their SoundCloud), Creek Boyz have attracted the attention of Baltimore and the hip-hop community at large.
The group, consisting of Turk P. Diddy, J Reezy, ETS Breeze, and Fedi Mula dropped two more tracks last week and announced an official mixtape 1:11 out in early March. “Trap Digits” and “Loco” show “With My Team” wasn’t a one-off. J Reezy broke down how the crew of friends, who consider themselves brothers, came together for the first time.
He told Noisey:
“We all friends—well brothers actually—so it was like, it would be cool if we all got in the studio and made a song together. We didn’t have this intention in the beginning. We was just doing it for fun.”
Off the cultish success of “With My Team”, Creek Boyz made the conscious decision to try something a little different with “Trap Digits”, which is equally as infectious but perhaps a little more catered for the function.
ETS Breeze discussed how “Trap Digits” differed from “With My Team”:
“‘With My Team’ was more of a radio song. So ‘Trap Digits’ we trying to get more into the clubs and get everybody. We trying to touch all bases with the album. We don’t want you to think we just make one type of music. We make all types.”
It’s clear that despite Creek Boyz short career so far in music that they have some pretty high aspirations, a focused vision for how they want their music to sound, and their audience.
But the most compelling part of the Creek Boyz sound is the wild sing-songy style they employ. It’s a sort of unpolished harmonization that recalls Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and it’s just so damn catchy and different sounding.
ETS Breeze told Noisey about that sound and being the ‘trap choir’:
“It was an idea of Turk’s at first. I started singing. We all tried singing on our own and it was cool but it wasn’t popping. So it was like, what if we all put some sauce on it and hop on here? So we made it a banger. People liked the unique sound. We liked it. So that’s what we is. We the trap choir.”
By combining ‘street’ content in their lyrics but singing those lyrics in a harmonization, Creek Boyz have carved out a completely unique niche in modern rap. Growing up in the church helped shape that choir style, as well as their love of old school soul music, but their environment in crime-ridden Baltimore County informs their lyrical content.
Thus you have the trap choir.
ETS Breeze told Pigeons and Planes about listening to soul music and how it influenced their sound:
“My big brother, my brother played the drums, we were always musically inclined. We used to go to church and stuff like that. So we kind of carried that over to the street and eventually we mixed everything. Growing up I listened to Dru Hill, Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass—that’s where we get the old school from.”
While Creek Boyz are a completely unique collective in current hip-hop, a cool and different sound can only take you so far.
Part of their appeal is their message of positivity and unity despite growing up in one of the most impoverished and violent areas of the country. Instead of amplifying that violence, Creek Boyz want to show a different lane to the youth coming up in Baltimore.
Turk told Pigeons and Planes about spreading this message of positivity and letting kids know that violence isn’t the only think to talk about:
“Let me give you a quick story. A little boy was rapping to me, trying to freestyle, but the only thing he could rap about was killing and shooting. So I asked him why and he said, ‘I only rap about it because everyone else talks about it.’
“So what we’re doing right now is setting a positive example. There’s a lot of tension going on in our city. The power that we have is the power to change these kids’ perceptions on life. Instead of being a drug dealer you can be a doctor, a nurse, a ball player… or a rapper!”
Creek Boyz are on the up as one of the most unique and distinct rap acts in music right now. With a debut mixtape a couple of months away, their star is sure to keep rising as they look to spread their message and put Baltimore on the map.
Watch out for these dudes.