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He seems ready to move forward, having left behind some of his flashy, Chanel-wearing, Tracy Minajj persona in favor of an emo wig, a nod to the sounds that brought him to prominence. Though beneath the face tattoos, diamond grill, facial piercings, neon green hair, and colorful boasts about vegetables, is a meek soul who is going through it just like the rest of us. Lil Tracy: My feelings change a lot. People there were showing love. It made me feel less lonely.
Lil Tracy has music laced through his DNA. His father is the hip-hop trailblazer Ishmael Butler, formerly of Digable Planets and currently one half of the astral hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces. Although his parents split when he was young, leaving Tracy, who was born Jazz Butler, feeling unmoored and adrift, their influence as originals is what influences his own independent streak. After leaving home as a teenager in search of a group of likeminded outcasts, he found his community first in the experimental hip-hop collective Thraxxhouse, and then in the cult rap crew Gothboiclique.
Lil Tracy is well known for quickly deleting tweets and songs, and changing his performance name often. These might seem like the actions of an erratic artist but, inside his third-floor Brooklyn apartment on an especially humid late summer afternoon, he's shy and calm. In the otherwise dark living room, Tracy is practically beaming as he sports a pair of neon green Nikes and a freshly-bleached buzz cut. When the temperature in the apartment gets to be too much, he suggests heading to the roof, leading the way up and sitting close to the edge of the five-story building. I was just a kid.