Trek Manifest hasn't completely healed but he's getting there

Andy Downing
Trek Manifest (right) with producer Billionaire BoyScout

Rapper Trek Manifest takes listeners to church on new album I Appreciate Your Patience, opening with a benediction (“Apostle’s Prayer”), baring his soul in an extended homily (“Serve It Up”) and closing with “Put It Down,” a celebratory banger on which the rapper sounds as if he's bursting forth from the chapel, spirit renewed. 

The album, out today (Thursday, July 23) on all streaming platforms, is also a more revealing listen, with Trek foregoing some of his usual lyrical pyrotechnics to speak more directly to listeners. “I pride myself on my lyrical skills,” he said, “but I wanted to make songs where people wouldn’t say, ‘Man, that went over my head,’ but more, ‘That really struck me here [in the heart].’"

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This more stripped-bare approach emerged naturally during writing sessions, with Trek entering into his home studio at night after the kids were asleep and allowing whatever was brewing inside of him to bubble to the surface. “And I was writing three to five songs a night for maybe a month, and I just started to really find myself, and find my sound, and then I started being more and more transparent with what I had been going through since losing my mother in October,” Trek said. “It was like I had all of this stuff pent up, and I finally had space to sit with it. … And now I’m letting everybody know what I’ve gone through. I’m giving you everything I have at this moment.”

On songs like “Wake Up,” Trek addresses the death of his mother, who passed away on his birthday in 2019, and raps about the need to “control what you can” in a world that can spin out of control, while “Serve It Up” finds the MC revisiting his teenage years, when depression brought about in part by the absence of his biological father led him to attempt suicide at age 16. “Three times I tried to slit my wrists/A bunch of demons had existence,” he raps on the cut, his broken words moving at odds with the confident, booming beat courtesy Chicago producer Billionaire BoyScout. 

“It was a little hard [to address these subjects], but I’ve been going to therapy literally since the day my mother passed away. I told my wife: ‘I have to go to therapy. Period. Point blank,’” Trek said. “And once I got to therapy, these are the things I started talking about, and these are the things she got out of me. So by the time I went to record it, it was a lot easier. It’s definitely a lot scarier to let people hear it now. People always talk this whole, ‘I’m giving you my truth,’ and I’m really giving y’all my truth now.”

Throughout, these struggles are framed not just as storms to be weathered, but events one has to actively work to navigate successfully, with Trek repeatedly acknowledging that he wouldn’t be the man he is now absent these hurdles and the effort he has put into clearing them. “The goal is to be the best version of me,” he raps on “Maybe,” which traces his journey “through hell and back” but exits on a decidedly upbeat tip.

“It’s one thing to show this glass-half-full, happy-go-lucky side, but it’s another thing to put the work into it,” said Trek, who recorded I Appreciate Your Patience amid stay-at-home orders on equipment gifted to him by friend and producer Soop, whom he previously teamed with inCarried by 6. “I’ve made a big intention of letting people know that … from October up until today, I haven’t been my happiest, but I’m getting there.”