“They book me because I used to be there, before the rap, having fun,” Freddy says of the strip clubs. “Now they just pay me to come. I love the strip club; it’s cool with me. If you prefer to have the girls on stage with you, you can do that.” He typically performs at 1 or 2 a.m., on his own or on a bill. He doesn’t think the strip club shows are much different than the others.
But there are strippers there, of course. “They do all types of shit,” he says. “Trying to kiss, hug, grab, feel, touch and all of the above.” He admits to still spending money in strip clubs sometimes, but it is really just about getting paid to perform. His songs work well in strip clubs because they are often intense club bangers with lots of bass and drops, usually about making money. It certainly beats selling drugs.
“Everything’s really been good,” Freddy says. He’s been focused on hip-hop for two years and managed to stay busy doing it. He performs at least a few times a week and has been getting paid for every show for the last year and a half. With so many DFW artists regularly performing for a little or nothing, this is no small feat.
“I had to show people I had something,” he says, of his early days. “Why should they buy what I got?” But after six months, he was selling CDs and ringtones and getting paid for shows. He also has thousands of people streaming his music every week online.
Trapboy Freddy Krueger, his latest mixtape released over the holidays, samples music and dialogue from horror films. It was a theme he enjoyed playing with and then he ended up with enough songs for an entire mixtape. There are already music videos for five of the tracks. He is always working on music. Trapboy Freddy Krueger is his fifth release and he has a new album coming in June.
“I want it bad enough,” Freddy says, about the dream of a successful hip-hop career. He was actually working on some music when he paused for this interview. “I make authentic street music,” he continues. His songs are about getting money because that’s been his No. 1 consideration since he was 14. Before he made hip-hop he was looking for a way to get off the streets.
“I was doing anything to survive,” he says, “anything to stay up.” He takes full responsibility for his actions, referring to his path as the one he chose. But he grew up with “no daddy,” the youngest of five kids with an older brother paralyzed from a car accident. He was the man of the house from a young age.
“I did what I had to do to stay alive,” he says. But after spending three years in and out of jail, he decided it was time for a career change at 21. “I knew I was going to get some money, I just didn’t know how.” As a teen he regularly enjoyed free-styling, but never expected anything to come of it. But he recorded a song, uploaded it and started spreading it around on social media. After hundreds of people listened to it he decided to do a video, which a thousand people watched.
“I kept going,” he says. In two years, he has taken the survival instincts he used on the streets and applied them to hip-hop. “It’s the exact same way,” he says. He is trying to make money by any means necessary either way. With hip-hop, he is constantly recording music with the studio equipment he gathered at home, selling CDs and playing shows. “I’m booked up to May,” he adds.
For a Texas hip-hop artist getting steady exposure, selling music, and constantly getting paid to perform, it’s remarkable how much Freddy has stayed in his own lane here in Dallas. “You just mean downtown, basically?” he asks, when asked if he performs in Deep Ellum. He generally doesn’t care where the show is as long as he is getting paid. He has three nights booked this week in different parts of the city and would gladly work seven.
But as the name suggests, Trapboy Freddy’s music is trap first and foremost, a way of expressing his past. “I love talking about what I’ve been through,” he says. “But the motivation is for the paper. I know how it feels to not have money. I don’t want to have the feeling so I keep going.”