Houston rapper Trae is now a free agent after fulfilling his contractual obligation to his label Rap-A-Lot Records.
With two critically acclaimed albums under his belt through the Houston label, and his final project on its way later this year (a much-anticipated group effort from his crew ABN, including cousin and fellow rapper, Z-Ro), Trae isn’t wasting any time, as he gears up to take to the road for a national tour.
The rapper has the uncanny ability to turn negative experiences into positive ones. Most recently, he made history when he performed at the Ramsey 1 Unit of the maximum security prison in Rosharon, Texas.
When the topic of Texas and it’s criminal justice system comes up, several things come to mind: the hanging state, the red state, three strikes state, lynching state, but not warm-and-fuzzy things like “let’s throw our prisoners a rap concert and make their day” state.
In late March, Trae took his ABN crew, Slim Thug (himself a free agent now) and the Boss Hogg Outlaws for two live shows in front of several hundred maximum security inmates.
The shows, called Hopefest, were set up by Trae’s long-time friend, Rosey Ruiz, once an inmate herself, who now volunteers within the TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) as a mentor and motivational speaker both for G.R.A.D. (Gang Renunciation and Disassociation) and the general prison population on a daily basis.
With many family members and close friends incarcerated — including his older brother Dinkie who is serving three consecutive life sentences — the work that Rosey does is very close to Trae’s heart, making the shows mean that much more to everyone.
Each of the show’s performers shared their own experiences with inmates, but also stressed the fact that if they themselves could overcome and get their lives together, so could each of the inmates — a message that was met with overwhelming warmth and gratitude.
More shows are planned in the coming months at different TDCJ facilities and Trae plans to invite other artists to join him in delivering this message of hope.
His upcoming tour will kick off on May 16 in Victoria, Texas, and will travel through several other cities in Texas, as well as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, before wrapping up on July 15 in Miami.
A full list of tour dates are as follows, according to his publicist.
05/16 – Victoria, TX
05/17 – Bryan, TX @ Tonix Nightclub
05/18 – Waco, TX @ Legacy – Official Car Show Afterparty
05/23 – Texarkana, TX @ The Paradise
05/24 – Little Rock, AR
05/25 – Memphis, TN
05/26 – Nashville, TN
05/30 – Abilene, TX @ Abilene Civic Center
05/31 – San Angelo, TX
06/1 – Lubbock, TX
06/2 – Odessa, TX
06/3rd – El Paso, TX
06/4 – Laredo, TX
06/5 – San Antonio, TX @ Club Rio (Ozone Magazine Bash)
06/6 – Austin, TX @ Spiro’s (Ozone Magazine Bash)
06/7 – Dallas, TX @ (TBA) (Ozone Magazine Bash / DUB car show)
06/8 – Houston, TX @ (TBA) (Ozone Magazine Bash)
06/16 – Ft. Worth, TX @ Club 820
06/17 – Wichita Falls, TX @ The End Zone
06/18 – Oklahoma City, OK
06/19 – Amarillo, TX
06/20 – Albuquerque, NM
06/21 – Phoenix, AZ @ Buzz Nightclub
06/22 – Las Vegas, NV
06/23 – Los Angeles, CA
06/24 – Los Angeles, CA
06/25 – Oakland, CA
06/27 – Dallas, TX
06/28 – Dallas, TX
06/30 – Tyler, TX @ Club Nico’s
07/1 – Shreveport, LA @ Municipal Auditorium
07/2 – Beaumont, TX
07/3 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Official Birthday Bash
07/4 – New Orleans, LA @ Essence Music Festival
07/5 – New Orlean, LA
07/6 – Monroe, LA @ Krystal’s
07/7 – Jackson, MS
07/8 – Birmingham, AL
07/9 – Atlanta, GA
07/10 – Pensacola, FL
07/11 – Tallahassee, FL
07/12 – Jacksonville, FL
07/13 – Orlando, FL
07/14 – Tampa, FL
07/15 – Miami, FL