Local rapper Tragman said every artist he works with brings something different to the table, pushing him in new directions | Photo by Rūta Smith

The best word to describe the Charleston rapper Tragman is “aggressive.”

He’s got an aggressive flow as an emcee, barking out lyrics in tough, quick verses. Even on his ballads, it’s clear he’s got a lot on his mind.

He’s aggressively prolific as an artist. His new album, Still Ain’t No Fun, is his fourth full-length release in four years.

And he’s aggressive as a businessman. His label, Geechie Commission Entertainment, is chock-full of talented artists, most of whom appear prominently on the record.

First inspired by pop rap like Kriss Kross, Tragman mimicked Notorious B.I.G. and Royce da 5’9 as he experimented and came up with his own Charleston-rooted style.

Lyrically, Tragman casts a wide net, pulling from various hip-hop subgenres and his own life.

“I like to do club and party records,” he said. “I like to talk about social issues, experiences that I’ve been through, or sometimes things that might have happened around me that other people can relate to. I take all those and translate them into songs and stories that hopefully can inspire and help other people going through those same experiences.”

You can definitely feel that reach on Still Ain’t No Fun. Tracks like the pulsing “COB/RSM” and the ominous “Dirty Scoundrels” seem made for the club dance floor.

But there are more contemplative moments on the album like “Hustla Prayer,” which finds Tragman rapping, “I’m losing myself/Armed with the nine and the TEC/Better caught with that than caught without breath,” before guest artist Ya Boy Dee 100 laments, “Gun shots again in the hood.”

And on the similarly searching, “Nobody Cares,” Tragman looks out his window and sees a war zone: “While we fighting our brothers over colors in the street/Police is playing for keeps.”

Tragman credits his collaborators on Still Ain’t No Fun, artists like GhostFlows, Dream Ray Lee, YGD Tha Top Dogg and many more, with expanding both his lyrical reach and his fan base.

“I wanted to introduce those guys to the world with this project,” he said. “Every artist that I’m able to collab with — they all bring something different to the table. Some of them lyrically push me to be better and at the same time, working with out-of-city and out-of-state artists allows me to grow a fanbase.”

In an age where artists focus on EPs and singles, it was important for Tragman to establish himself as an album artist, if only because he likes to go against the grain.

“It’s very important to make albums,” he said. “At this stage of the game, I look at myself as almost counterculture. So the things that the mainstays are doing, I do the opposite. And I’m going to cultivate a small cult following of people who respect what it is I do and are looking for that authentic, old hip-hop feeling. I want to be different from the norm.” 

Whatever he’s doing, it’s working, because Still Ain’t No Fun just crossed an auspicious threshold, crossing 500,000 streams.

“It’s a great feeling, especially with the amount of work that we put into the actual project,” he said. “And everybody that contributed to it played a major part as far as to help promote it and share it and do everything they could do as well. It’s just been a huge break for me, and I’m grateful.”

There’s a lot more on the horizon for Tragman. His plan for 2022 is, you guessed it, aggressive.

“The plan is 40 songs divided into four albums,” he said. “So we’ll be dropping an album a week starting February 1. And after that, toward the end of the year, we’ll be dropping Still Ain’t No Fun 3, which will be the finale of the series. And then, of course, we’ll be doing videos, documentaries. We’re looking to branch into movies. We’re just doing all different stuff.”