Everyone’s referencing “four twenty” on this Wednesday, but if you’re sick of all the pot talk, you may want to shift your focus to another set of symbolic numbers: 323. That’s the area code for South Central, Los Angeles, which is the handle inspiration and home base for rising R&B star Traetwothree. And as opposed to the 40 oz-guzzling, blunt-passing braggadocio of ’90s West Coast hip-hop, Traetwothree tries to recreate the nighttime aesthetic of South Central – somewhere between sensual, introspective, and vulnerable. His half-rapped/half-sung style is plenty confident without being egregiously arrogant, and his use of auto-tune is more of a stylistic choice rather than a pitch-correcting necessity.
So far we’ve only had singles from Traetwothree, going back to 2019’s “Natural” but next Friday he’ll be releasing his debut mixtape, Out The District. At just shy of a dozen tracks, Out The District ushers in a new era of urban R&B for the 2020s, with crystal clear production, jazz-inspired chord progressions, and Traetwothree’s liquid vocals. Each track packs an infectious groove and relatable imagery, most notably on “Stuck In My Ways“, where Traetwothree’s in-the-pocket flow is balanced out beautifully by bars from fellow Los Angeleno Blueface.