Swag, yes, but also smarts - that's Trek Manifest's mantra.

Swag, yes, but also smarts - that's Trek Manifest's mantra.

"Everybody talks about their sneakers or their quote-unquote swag," the South Side native said, "but no one ever really touches on their intellect or gets praised for being intelligent."

So Trek aimed to be a voice for the intellect on his latest project, "Sneakers x Starbucks." The "Sneakers" part is literal; he's as much of a footwear fanatic as your next rapper.

The "Starbucks" part is somewhat symbolic. Yeah, he loves coffee, but he developed his passion for the beverage through long hours over textbooks while working toward a degree at Capital University.

He now doubles as a rapper and a motivational speaker, though the line between those roles sometimes blurs throughout these latest tracks. Tired of tailoring his songs to particular molds like The Club Banger and The Ladies' Jam, Trek tried to break out of the box and follow his muse this time out, leading him into occasionally uncomfortable territory.

"He didn't really hold no barriers with it," said rapper-producer SupaNatra, who executive produced the album. "It was more like a no-fear thing."

The most striking example is album centerpiece "Fathers Day." After a shockingly poignant five-minute audio clip from an episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Trek tackles his own demons from growing up without a dad. The track clocks in at a full 10 minutes, none of them wasted.

By making some of the beats and providing oversight, SupaNatra had a pivotal role in helping Trek bring his vision to life. Meanwhile, he was cooking up a new release of his own.

"SupaNatra Season" is his first release since abandoning the stage name Sinatra. He didn't want his records to be confused with Old Blue Eyes, so he took the nickname to its next logical evolution in light of his tendency to make "superhero music."

SupaNatra and a few trusted friends usually handle the bulk of the production, but this time he considered beats from just about anywhere, including tracks e-mailed to him from around the world. He bookended the new project by spitting on classic tracks from DJ Shadow and J. Dilla, completing his most diverse and entertaining collection yet.

SupaNatra and Trek, who grew up mere blocks from one another but didn't meet until adulthood, both intend to be rays of hope for their South Side neighborhood off Livingston Avenue. In part, that means reaching an audience outside the city limits. To that end, they'll launch a joint tour Wednesday at Skully's, where Searius Add and J. Osceola are also slated to perform.

"After you touch people in Columbus," SupaNatra said, "then what?"