Remembering San Jose rapper + producer Traxamillion

Learn about the late San Jose-raised rapper + producer who has a lasting legacy in the great 408, the Bay Area, and the hip-hop world as a whole.

Rapper Traxamillion holds a microphone close to his mouth and wears a bright orange track jacket.

Traxamillion was dedicated to the local sound.

Here at SJtoday, we may be all about pride in place, but one San Jose legend took that to a whole other level.

For many Bay Area natives, the word “hyphy” may bring rappers like E-40 + Mac Dre to mind. While they did have a major impact on the hyphy movement, we can’t dismiss the creator of it.

Today, on what would’ve been his 45th birthday, we’re talking about none other than San Jose’s own legendary rapper + producer Traxamillion.

📼 Raised in the 408

At just 14 years old, Traxamillion (born Sultan Banks) was already stepping into local backyard MC battles and handing out his cassette tapes at school.

Inspired by San Jose hip-hop crew The Dereliks, Trax teamed up with Demone Carter — now co-host of “Dad Bod Rap Pod” — and Jesse Jones to form the group, Lackadaisical.

The group didn’t last long, but Trax continued producing beats + experimenting with the sounds of the South Bay, including Latin freestyle he heard growing up in San Jose.

By meshing that with the energy of local parties and clubs, Trax created a beat that he thought fit the area just right.

A grid of four Traxamillion-produced album covers.

In his lifetime, Traxamillion produced four albums + hundreds of songs.

Screenshots via Spotify

🎤 Defining the Bay

After shooting his beat to Oakland rapper Keak da Sneak, they debuted their single “Super Hyphy” in 2005, and it didn’t take long for the song to top local rap charts.

To the untrained ear, the song was simply another hip-hop track on the radio. But, the single catapulted the hyphy movement to unprecedented levels, capturing the Bay Area’s sound + spirit apart from West Coast rap and grabbing the attention of the rest of the US for its hyperactive sound.

Not long after, Trax released “The Slapp Addict (Vol. 1, Issue 408)” — of course, not without a nod to San Jose. With a full collection of Bay Area rappers on the album, Trax was dedicated to uplifting local artists with his self-produced beats.

Traxamillion sits with a student playing on a piano keyboard.

Traxamillion would host music production classes around San Jose.

Screenshot via SJPL%20YouTube

🎧 True to his roots

Though he was poppin’ off on the charts, Trax never let San Jose slip his mind.

He hosted music production classes at Seven Trees Community Center and specialty workshops around town.

In 2016, he released “The Tech Boom,” which highlighted the creative scene in San Jose. Local designers, videographers, and artists collaborated with Trax on the album — you can even catch some 408 scenes in the music videos.

Often during the height of the hyphy movement, people would mistake him for an Oakland native, but he’d be quick to remind them, “No, I’m from San Jose.”

🕊️ A celebration of life

Traxamillion died in 2022 at the age of 45 from nasopharyngeal cancer.

Over the weekend, Trax’s aunt — Jackie Jackson of Jackie’s Place (yup, you read that right) — hosted a Traxamillion Legacy Showcase and Benefit Concert.

The celebration featured a talent show of San Jose singers, poets, rappers, and producers, along with a presentation of Traxamillion’s portrait from local artist Tyler Gordon.

Proceeds from the event benefitted the Seven Trees Community Center + the American Cancer Society.

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