Who is Lil Tracy?


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Isabel Avalos, Writer

Jazz Ishmael Butler, commonly known as Lil Tracy, is an American singer, rapper, and songwriter. He was born on October 3rd, 1995, and he started releasing music in 2012 on SoundCloud. He is widely known for his collaborations with Lil Peep, being a leading member of GothBoiClique (an emo rap collective), and being a staple in the underground rap scene

Lil Tracy was born in Teaneck, New Jersey, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. His parents divorced when he was very young. After bouncing between the two homes he ended up staying with his mom. He ran away when he was sixteen because of the constant arguments, and became homeless. He began living in a tent with a few friends to start making music. 

 Tracy hated school.  He attended Garfield High School and got expelled his first week, then he was sent to an alternative school for troubled kids. Tracy has opened up about the struggles in his youth, explaining how since his parents were both famous musicians, he was expected to be the same. He’s also said his come up was not as easy as people think. 

As a teen, one of his hobbies was skateboarding. He discovered punk music through Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Soundtrack. He also grew up listening to Southern hip-hop. This may be why Tracy’s music style is a combination of punk rock and hip-hop today. 

In 2013, when Tracy was eighteen, he moved to Los Angeles and joined the ThraxxHouse (a large collective of rappers, producers, and designers). After a couple months of living together and producing music, some members decided they wanted to form a smaller group. That same year, artists Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Cold Heart, and Horse Head formed GothBoiClique. Tracy was a fan of the group for a while before officially joining it in 2014. 

In 2016, when artist Lil Peep joined GothBoiClique, Tracy and him immediately connected. The first day they met, they made a song and filmed the music video for it. “White Tee” is still one of their biggest hits to this day. With millions of views on their video in a short period of time, they began to work together on many other songs and mix-tapes. 

Tracy left GothBoiClique for personal reasons in mid 2017. After Lil Peeps death in November that same year, Tracy struggled with his mental health and addictions. Tracy talked about his dark thoughts and drug use in his songs, lines like “I hate this world so I’m gonna hallucinate,” and “Drowning in emotions I cannot float.” These are just two examples of things he has said in his songs. 

Tracy is very honest about his emotions. He has talked about discrimination in the music industry as well. In an interview with The Fader in 2019, he talked about feeling left out being one of the few two black members of GothBoiClique. He then talks about having to limit his Instagram comment section because of people calling him racial slurs. It’s still limited to this day. 

Today, Lil Tracy lives in New York and continues making music; he has released nothing since his last album, “Designer Talk 2” in November 2020. He still continues putting out new merchandise and is very active on social media.