Lil Tracy is an American singer, rapper, and songwriter best recognized for his singles Like a Farmer and This Year. He is also renowned for his multiple collaborations with the deceased rapper Lil Peep. In many ways, his rising music career was inevitable. He was born to Ishmael Butler and Cheryl Clemons, two musicians who made their name in the 90s.
Although his genre of music, described as emo rap, is far from what brought his parents’ fame, they had considerable influence on his professional life. His parents are no longer together, but he maintains a relationship with both, as he seeks to carry on their legacy and hopefully, surpass it.
Lil Tracy was Born Out of Wedlock to Two Musicians
The rapper, singer, and songwriter was born in Teaneck, New Jersey on October 3, 1995, as Jazz Ishmael Butler. The relationship that resulted in his birth did not last. When he was a baby, his parents parted ways.
His father, Ishmael Butler, moved to Seattle while his mother moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia. He grew up with his mother, and as he got older, he bounced between both cities. His mother would send him to Seattle whenever he got in trouble. One of those occasions came when he was expelled from high school in his freshman year for bringing a knife to class.
Although he attended Garfield High School in Seattle as an alternative, Lil Tracy spent most of his childhood years in Virginia Beach. There, he developed a sense of rebellion that eventually led him to music, following in the path of his parents.
His Father is a Grammy Award Winner
Lil Tracy’s father, Ishmael Butler, is a record producer, songwriter, and rapper renowned for his work with Shabazz Palaces and Digable Planets. He was born in Seattle, and he continues to reside there to date. His music career began in 1989 after he dropped out of college to pursue a music career.
The decision led him to Philadelphia, where he formed Digable Planets with Mary Ann Viera and Craig Irving in 1992. One of their first singles, Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat), was a critical and commercial success, charting on the Billboard Hot 100. It also won them a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Although they disbanded a couple of times, the group released two albums, one compilation album, and a live album.
With his second group, Shabazz Palaces, which he formed with multi-instrumentalist, Tendai Maraire, in 2009, they have released four studio albums. The experimental hip hop group also has one live album, three Eps in their discography. And just as Ishmael has had a successful career, so as Lil Tracy’s mother, Coko Clemons.
Coko was the Lead Singer of Sisters With Voices
She rose to fame as the lead singer of the American R&B group, Sisters With Voices. The group consisted of three women, including Tamara Johnson and Leanne Lyons, and they sold more than 25 million records worldwide. Known as SWV, Coko and the group began in 1988 and signed an eight-album record deal in 1991.
With Coko front and centre, the group has released eight studio albums and five compilation albums and one EP. They also went on multiple national and international tours, providing a platform for other groups like Destiny’s Child and Xscape to launch their careers.
Lil Tracy’s mother also had a solo career, as a gospel singer. She has released four albums and has released nine singles. One of them was with Will Smith for the Grammy-winning single, Men in Black. Although they broke up in 1997, she reunited with the group in 2005.
After parting ways with Ishmael following their brief relationship, she got married to Israel and New Breed drummer, Mike Clemons. Their marriage, which lasted 14 years, produced a son, Jaylon Clemons. Since her divorce in February 2018, Coko has stayed single, living in Virginia Beach.
Lil Tracy Has a Friendly Relationship with His Parents
The emo rapper and songwriter is by no means estranged from his parents. Still, he would not describe theirs as a close and intimate relationship either. A lot of that is a result of the instability that defined his childhood as he bounced from Seattle to Virginia Beach.
Still, he developed a cordial relationship with both parents, built on a delicate balance with his disdain for authority. Neither parent encouraged him to pursue music, but he spent his early years going on tour with his mother all over the world. He also developed an interest in musical instruments from his years living with his father. He spent time playing drums and piano. Lil Tracy also played the guitar and messed around on GarageBand.
However, none of his involvement with instruments back then constituted a passion. As a teenager, he spent more of his time skateboarding and painting graffiti. He would later find himself making music, after leaving his mother’s home at 17 and became homeless.
The Search for Likeminded Outcasts Made Lil Tracy Famous
After leaving home without informing his parents, Lil Tracy lived with a group of friends in a tent in a Virginian forest. While there, he began music, with stolen tools like a mic and MacBook. He rapped under the stage name, Yung Bruh, and published tracks online.
Just as he considered going back home, his music began gaining traction. He then moved to Los Angeles to join the emo hip hop collective, GothBoiClique. During his time with GBC, he met the late Lil Peep, who quickly became his close friend and frequent collaborator.
They recorded the popular underground hip-hop song, White Tee on the first day they met. The popularity of the song and the release of his single, Overdose, grew Lil Tracy’s fame as an underground artist. In the middle of 2016, he changed his stage name to Lil Tracy, and the following year, released his debut mixtape, Tracy’s Manga.
However, for all the growth as a niche artist, Lil Tracy’s entry to the mainstream did not come until August 2017 when he featured on Lil Peep’s Awful Things. The song peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold more than 500,000 copies in the US. The release of the track, Like a Farmer, in 2018, further pushed him as a mainstream artist. The remix featured Lil Uzi Vert and made a bigger splash online.
A Difficult 2018 Refocused the Rapper
Unfortunately, the death of Lil Peep in 2018 and a heart attack put a temporary stop to Lil Tracy’s rise to stardom. The latter resulted in a stint in a psychiatric ward, one he emerged from with a resolution to pursue a sober lifestyle. He also put his career back on track, with the release of the EP, Designer Talk, and his debut album, Anarchy, in September 2019.
Although it was not the groundbreaking return to the mainstream he hoped for, the album and his songs have earned tens of millions of plays across the internet. He has also secured a national tour as a headliner with multiple sold-out dates. He is on a first-name basis with A-list performers like Uzi Vert and Juice WRLD. His mega-stardom still awaits, but Lil Tracy is now far from the teenager who made music in the woods.
The Rising Rap Star has an $800 Thousand Net Worth
Considered an emerging rapper, Lil Tracy has recorded a decent level of success in his music career. He has several singles as well as mixtapes to his name. However, he is yet to reach the height that has made millionaires of other modern acts like Juice WRLD and Lil Uzi Vert.
He is yet to sign a record deal with a major label, putting the bulk of his earnings at shows, streaming income, and song sales. The emo rapper has made money from no less than one album, 17 mixtapes and twelve EPs. He has an average of 4.2 million listeners on Spotify with similar nine figures on other platforms like Apple Music and Deezer.
So far, all three have earned the young rapper an estimated $800 thousand in net worth. However, with a career on the rise and a possible record deal in the future, there is no doubt Lil Tracy will join his peers soon with a nine-figure net worth.