Even in the heart of a dynamic melting pot like Wynwood, it'd be damn near impossible not to notice the towering frame of Trapland Pat.
Born Patterson Menard, the 23-year-old Broward County emcee almost exists as a caricature of the region he calls home. He stands tall at six feet three inches, making him a big target as a former wide receiver recruited from high school. The bulky DIY wicks growing from his scalp protrude like harpoons, and the diamond grills in his mouth twinkle even as he's cloaked under the shade outside of a local juice bar.
Juvenile ambitions of transforming into a star athlete went off the rails during Pat's collegiate career in Indianapolis, as off-the-field troubles resulted in his scholarship being revoked. It didn't take long before he ended up back home in Deerfield Beach.
“When I got to college, it wasn’t really what I thought it was," Pat shares. "I was already ready to go home. When everything got shut down, I don’t wanna say I was too disappointed, but it was like, ‘Damn, now I need something else to lean on.’”
Being of Haitian descent, the importance of being driven and finding purpose has been instilled from a young age. Pat meekly recalls rapping for fun with his homies as far back as the age of 15 and spending time at a nearby studio where the group booked sessions for $25 an hour.
Trapland Pat can't help but tell the truth in his rhymes.
Photo by Olivier Lafontant
Trapland Pat's work ethic soon began to speak volumes. Since 2019, he's put out six full-length projects on streaming services alongside various loose singles and features. His 2020 breakout anthem, "Emergency," sounds like the recording studio was submerged underwater, and Pat's animated delivery visibly contrasts his tendency to lean into somber vulnerability.
"A nigga so damaged/I don't even know how I manage/Everybody tryna take advantage/It was been wrote way before a nigga planned it"
Trapnificent, released this past June, is the latest installment of Pat's extensive catalog. Chock-full of declarations on hood politics, past traumas, and luxury frills, the mixtape showcases the rapper's undeniable transparency from one verse to the next.
That's one thing he can't see himself taking out of his music: honesty.
“When you really believe in what you saying, you go in there, and you gon’ say it the right way," Pat explains. "When I go in there, and I’m not saying the truth, cuh, it just doesn’t sit right with me when I go home and I sleep.”
"On the Radar (Freestyle)" illustrates the mental oscillation that comes with perpetrating violence against so-called enemies while simultaneously shedding tears over obituaries of the people you used to hold close. Track after track, Trapnificent sees Pat finding himself in limbo between exacting his revenge and washing away his sins. "Stranded" is unmistakably the deepest-cutting track on the record, but Pat also marks it as one of his favorites. Guitar strings and thumping bass add to his light, melodic vocals as he speaks about solitude and exchanges with his therapist. "It's good for meditation and being able to vent to somebody," he adds. "It can help you redirect the way you think about things. It's good to have somebody who understands what you're going through with no biased opinions."
Melancholy aside, there are plenty of tracks to nod your head to across Trapnificent's 18 tracks. Production from Pat's longtime confidante PepperJackZoe provides the record with rigid texture, especially with bangers like "Losses" and "Hellcat," featuring Eli Fross. (There's a deluxe version on the way too.)
In South Florida, Pat's profile has continued to rise, especially after signing to Louisiana mogul Fredo Bang's Alamo Records last fall. As he strolls on the sidewalks of Miami, he gets stopped by a passerby every few moments, either for a picture or a quick chat. Turning into a hometown hero might not be far from reach, but even then, he's looking much further.
“Broward’s good, it’s a top priority, but at the same time, I would tell other artists don’t really worry too much ‘bout your hometown," Pat says. "The world is so much bigger. Some people get so boxed in, thinking their backyard is supposed to show the most love, when in all actuality it doesn’t have to be that way.”
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Olivier Lafontant is an intern for Miami New Times. He's pursuing a bachelor's in digital journalism at Florida International University. He specializes in music writing and photography and got his start as a writer for South Florida Media Network in 2021.