T. Bagginz has arrived.
Known by some as Trevor Eckman, a junior communication major, Bagginz will be rocking the stage at the Homecoming Carnival this Friday.
Rapping has come naturally for Bagginz, but it's been a long road. Trying to gain credibility as a white rapper has proven to be a difficult feat, but his persistence and passion has brought him to the front stage during UB's Spirit Week.
"I just started freestyling in the back of cars; at parties I sometimes would spit," Bagginz said. "But then I kept freestyling and I kept getting better, and then I was like, ‘Maybe I should take this seriously.'"
When Bagginz started releasing songs on YouTube, the added exposure garnered much more attention from his peers and even attracted the ears of producers.
"I would promote [the songs] through my Facebook page, my fan page... My friends would help me spread them," Bagginz said. "Everything just picked up from there. A few different producers had contacted me to work on some new music."
Bagginz originally rapped over popular industry beats, making each song his own by creating new lyrics. As his popularity and credibility grew, other producers began supplying their own original music.
"People outreach to you as an artist because beat makers are working just as hard as I am to get their music out, so we just come together," Bagginz said. "That's why you'll see on my mix tape a mix of industry songs that I've remixed and then my own originals. It comes with the progression of how much my exposure has gone up."
What started off as a hobby quickly became more than that. Bagginz was contacted to perform at a number of Rochester venues, including Dub Land Underground and Water Street Music Hall.
However, as a white male from a Rochester suburb, gaining credibility in the rap world wasn't as simple as one may initially believe.
"First of all, I'm white. The red flag goes up there," Bagginz said. "I think what makes me unique, though, and I'll take some criticism for it… I'm only going to rap about what I can relate to and what I've gone through."
Bagginz's raps focus primarily on past relationships, athletics and college partying, and are mixed with similes, metaphors and a plethora of punchlines. The lyrics are geared toward the college crowd, so many students may find his songs relatable on a number of levels.
"You'll never find me talking about violence or guns or the struggle because I can't relate. I came from a middle class family in the suburbs, so that's what you'll find me talking about," Bagginz said.
According to Bagginz, other young, white rappers inspire him to keep pursuing his musical calling and ignore anybody who discredits him because of race.
"White rappers are doing it right now. Chris Webby, Mac Miller and Sam Adams have all proven that there is this genre in the college circuit of party music," Bagginz said. "I dig Asher Roth a lot, another pioneer who is marking the Oregon Trail for us. Hopefully we can follow that."
As far as the future is concerned, Bagginz believes he has found his true passion in rap.
"It's something I can definitely see myself doing for the rest of my life. I feel like that can only happen with the right support around me, and I'm really appreciative of this exposure and opportunity," Bagginz said. "Schools rally around you, maybe kids bring the music home, maybe they hate it, but at least it's out there and it has a chance."
Balancing rap and schoolwork has provided Bagginz with some challenges.
"To properly get yourself out there, getting the proper studio time and promotions is very tough. Financially, it's tough. There are only so many hours in a day," Bagginz said. "School is very important to me, but when I have my free time, I'm always in the studio trying to put things down and get my music out there."
As of now, all of Bagginz's music is available for free.
"I can't expect anyone to buy my album [It's Only A Matter of Time]… I'm going to continue to put out free music in order to increase my fan base. From that, hopefully I can someday put something out that people can buy," Bagginz said. "For now, it's free music. Check it out; bump it at your party, whatever you want. That's what I'm all about right now."
For those who would like to test their own talent in the musical world, Bagginz offers some advice.
"In the beginning of anything you do, you'll always have people that doubt you… Lord knows I did. If you constantly keep telling yourself that you got this, keep a positive attitude and stay on your grind, the sky is the limit," Bagginz said. "I stuck to believing in me; that's what you [have to] do. The same people that were doubting me a year ago are the same kids lining up to be front row at my shows."
Trevor Bagginz will be in action this Friday during the Homecoming Carnival in Parcel Lot B (the University Bookstore parking lot) at 7 p.m. Food, games and rides will be offered until 9 p.m., and then activities continue at 9:30 p.m. with a bonfire and fireworks.
To hear Trevor Bagginz's music before the show, visit his YouTube channel at youtube.com/tbagzmusic or his Facebook fan page at "Bagginz Music."