Curating Collective Effervescence with Trap Karaoke Founder Jason Mowatt
Trap Week Boston came, saw and conquered! A collaborative effort between BREAD Boston & KickBack Boston brought Jason Mowatt, Trap Karaoke founder and director, to Boston for what was originally one night with two events slated to run back to back. Up first was BREAD Boston’s signature Start Up Classroom, where creative entrepreneurs are given a platform to share their stories. Those in attendance stayed for a special edition of the curated party series that is KickBack Boston. The announcement generated so much interest and support from the community that Boston’s Young Black Professionals organization scheduled a Trap Game night for the evening before. With an official Trap Karaoke tour stop already scheduled for later in the week, it only made sense that Trap Week Boston was born.
Unlike many entertainment brands where the founder is often front and center, Jason Mowatt is a lot more modest. When you consider the nature of Trap Karaoke, it makes sense considering it’s an audience-centered event. A mashup of traditional Karaoke, with a Hip-Hop twist, Trap Karaoke provides it’s target demographic (i.e. black millennials) an experience unlike any other — a concert where the fans are the artists.
At the Seaport’s District Hall, in front of a mixed crowd of eager creatives, entrepreneurs and individuals looking to be inspired, Mowatt shared his journey from working on Capitol Hill during the Obama administration to touring with with rapper 2 Chainz in 2017. A naturally curious individual, Mowatt pursued and was successful in a number of entrepreneurial endeavors prior to creating Trap Karaoke. However, Mowatt’s passion was evident when he described elements of his niche Trap Karaoke that contributes to its success. Two of the elements being Trap Karaoke hosts, Low Key and DJ Austin Millz, and the energy they bring to the crowd. But what really got Mowatt going is when he described the “collective effervescence” or shared experience that creates a sense of community.
A few interesting things Mowatt shared during his talk:
He used to run a blog called Corporate Takeover, which was a lifestyle magazine known as the “mouth of hustlers”. Not only did his blog post he wrote on Jay-Z, The Corporate Takeover of Jay-z go viral, but in 2008 Mowatt would land a chance interview with an up and coming rapper by the name of Drake. Mowatt humorously shared how nervously optimistic Drake was about the possibility of landing an endorsement deal. It’s funny now considering how wildly successful Drake is today.
Trap Karaoke started off as a joke. Believe it or not, the concept of Trap Karaoke was conceived as a joke between Mowatt and a good friend of his. He was texting a friend who happened to be out with co-workers for karaoke. Mowatt remembered texting jokingly, “Wouldn’t it be crazy if we could do Karaoke to Trap Music?” Well, that crazy joke is now a reality!
The first Trap Karaoke event had over five hundred RSVPs, but only 40 people showed up. Jason and his team organized the first ever Trap Karaoke in New York, and got an overwhelmingly positive response in a short period of time. However, the day of, it rained and only a handful of those RSVPs actually showed up. The show still went on and the folks who came out still had a dope time. Not one to be deterred, Jason and his team continued to put on shows and to date have over 60 shows to their credit. Nowadays, it’s safe to say when five hundred people RSVP, five hundred people (or more) actually show up.
Some of your favorite rappers have been surprise guests at Trap Karaoke. The list of Trap Karaoke celebrity appearances include rapper 2 Chainz, Wale, Mannie Fresh, Bun B, Pastor Troy & Petey Pablo. Trap Karaoke has also partnered with Lebron James, HBO’s Insecure and Ballers.
As a creative, Jason does his best work when he’s happy. Mowatt shared that while many creatives find inspiration from their adversities, the catalyst for his success is fueled when he’s in high spirits.
Mowatt does not consider himself and his team party promoters, but rather community organizers. His stance has always been that Trap Karaoke visit cities like Boston that are not known for their inclusivity, provide an audience-generated experience and curate safe spaces for black millennials to express themselves.