By Dylan Deprey
As 54 Baby Trey sits in the studio, he listens to prospective beats. The thumping Milwaukee bassline punctures the subwoofers as his dreads sway. His eyes are barely visible, shielded by a pair of lavender Cartier lenses. He’s calm and quiet, as his gilded grills shimmer while quietly mumbling to the beat.
After running through several slappers, he finds one to let loose on. The five-foot-something rapper jumps out of his chair and walks through a plume of smoke towards the booth. Once he gets the headphones on, the calm demeanor dissipates and a monster emerges.
Tracks like, “Put My City On,” brag about the Bosses Having Goals (BHG) family and their accomplishments in the streets, while songs like “Willwaukee,” are a dedication to a lost brother and a reminder that there are few ways to successfully survive the lifestyle.
When the beat hits right, his baritone voice narrates his stories of the fast life. From the high speeds and shoot outs, to beef and funerals, 54 Baby Trey has used his music as therapy.
“I need a beat that I can feel. I’ll just be thinking about the days I was stealing cars, the struggle with my family, and then I get to thinking about the people I’ve lost and I really let it all out,” he said.
His family lived off of 23rd/Keefe, where he said he was indoctrinated to the streets at an early age. As a teenager, he moved to the far North side of Milwaukee near 54th and Green Tree.
“When people hear 54, they’re thinking I’m from the country or something, but I’m really talking about Green Tree. We were the only lil n***** out there. It was more of a Chinese neighborhood,” he said.
Over the past year, 54 Baby Trey has released single after single, each topping the next. His blend of drill and ear-capturing slap, has encapsulated fans at home and across the country. His subject matter is real, and unadulterated energy.
“I talk about the drilling and killing, the high speeds. That’s what’s happening in Milwaukee,” he said.
“Besides the streets, it’s life…period.”
Unlike other young rappers in Milwaukee, he has strayed from beefing with other artists to build his brand. Though he would rather work alone, he has worked with other up-and-coming and established artists, especially those from his BHG family.
One example is his collaboration with Mari Boy Mula Mar, which has amassed over 954,000 views on YouTube. 54 Baby Trey’s dark story street chronicles are perfectly balanced amongst Mari Boy Mula Mar’s unconventional, yet entertaining crooning. He also frequently collaborates with his street brother, 54 Baby Keise. The duo is known as the 54 Baby’s.
“This is family, it’s just us doing what we do,” 54 Baby Keise said.
54 Baby Tray said the energy at shows was an incredible feeling, especially when fans were rapping along with him word-for-word. He said that he never imagined music taking him to cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas to perform.
“I never thought I’d be touring or anything like that. When I started rapping, I was serious, but I didn’t think this was going to come that fast,” he said.
Though he has only been in the rap game a year, his early successes have pushed him to work even harder. He has been working on releasing a joint clothing line, “Ghetto Celebrity” with his manager KB Barrell. He also has a mixtape in the works along with several music videos.
“Before I started rapping, I was really a little hoodlum, but I’m really putting that to the side. It’s an amazing feeling having people bumping my s***.”
To check out 54 Baby Trey visit https://www.facebook.com/54babytrey/