Traum Diggs & The Confluence...
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Traum Diggs & The Confluence...

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Brooklyn, NY | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Hip Hop Experimental




"Gas-Lab Traum Diggs “Jazz Hop” (Review)"

Jazz Hop is a collaborative effort from Buenos Aires producer/musician, Gas-Lab and Brooklyn MC, Traum Diggs. Released 20 years after the late Guru’s (Gangstaar) first Jazzmatazz, Jazz Hop is a return to the smooth melodic vibe of jazz-infused hip-hop.

“This project is about the global power and influence of hip-hop music and how it can be used to unify (across) cultures, continents, and languages. We dedicate this project to lovers of jazz, lovers of hip-hop, and to the pioneers who came before us. We conspired to inspire a rebirth of a jazz-influenced hip-hop sound on the dawn of an electronic wave that is poised to dominate the genre for the foreseeable future. Maybe we’re brave; maybe we’re stupid, only time and our fans will tell.” – Traum Diggs

Jazz Hop featuring Natayla

Once you hit play, Gas-Lab hooks you and slowly pulls you in with a jazzy brass coupled with a sprinkle of piano notes. Before long, the beat drops, injecting hip-hop into the mix. The jazzy hip-hop cocktail continues on, allowing you to get acquainted with the sound.

Traum Diggs has a smooth flow as he introduces us to this “jazz thing” while flowing from city to city describing the birth of a renaissance and giving props to Guru’s Jazzmatazz. This track is a perfect introduction to Jazz Hop. We also get a taste for the international aspect that is woven throughout the music and lyrics in the album.

"This is the birth of a renaissance that old sax fifth ave flow is ambiance"

Sax Fifth Ave Flow featuring Williz Freeman

This track also begins with a smooth and sexy saxophone, then gets flavored with hip-hop as the beat drops. The mellow jazz is not overpowered by the hip-hop and the hip-hop is not watered down by the jazz.

Diggs flow is never aggressive but is rugged enough for us to understand the difference between him and this “Sax Fifth Ave” chic he pursues who is accustomed to the finer things in life. The featured artists each take their turn describing their own “Sax Fifth Ave” flow and experience with pursuing a woman on a different level.

"Shorty dress like a Hov song, all that sh*t Kanye talk, but she built like a hood girl, Beyonce got the same walk, Saks Fifth Ave, a handful of bags and my pants still sag,"

1988 featuring Hache St

You get the feeling that this track is going to be slower and more mellow until the beat kicks in and changes the tempo and the feeling. The jazz is just a complement to the hip-hop on this track.

Diggs details his relationship with a woman over 25 years, however, this could just be a metaphor for his relationship to something else, music perhaps? His rhymes are effortless over the beat while intellectual and stimulating.

Diggs described the global influence on the album and the Hache St’s verse is a testament to that. Although he raps in Spanish, you can still sense his talent through the language barrier.

"Her face like a fresh 16, her body like two verses, her ass was the hook."

Yaphet Kotto

Named after the legendary actor Yaphet Kotto, this track has a 70’s feel paying tribute to the era that propelled Kotto to stardom. The jazz element is still present with the funky jazz flute. Diggs confidently outlines his lyrical talent with each line and as he raps, he validates why he is able to boldy profess such a claim.

The best part of the song is the electric piano breakdown between the two verses. The video for this track was released February 18, 2014.

"Blow for blow the flow Smokin Joe Frasier major. Pen float across the paper like it’s vapor neighbor."

Space featuring Poet Zee

Poet Zee begins this dreamy track with a poem describing time and space. Her voice floats on top of the zen like sound as if she is preparing you for a journey through space. The beat drops and Diggs starts his inspirational verse and it’s like you are receiving the pep talk of a lifetime from your dream mentor.

"As we collide with time, we can either push forward or wait behind."

My Journal featuring SOUL

This beat is simple as Diggs shares the pages of his journal with us. Wind instruments and piano create a whimsical beat as we get lost in Traum Diggs life reflections. This track is almost like Diggs resume as he discusses going to high school at age 12 and missed opportunities. We also get the first taste of R&B in this track with the harmonized hook.

"If I cried on the beat would you get the memo? Or literally bled over the instrumental?"


There is a big band feel in this jazz element as Diggs has a conversation with himself about life choices. Diggs reaches everyone with his honest lyrics regarding the choices that he’s made in his own life over various situations and circumstances.

The beat plays on for awhile after Diggs verse, giving you the opportunity to appreciate the jazz hop mash up.

"I struggle with my own, all alone, deep in my thoughts, I wrestle with my own fears"

Mi Gente featuring Bocafloja & Cambio

Another sultry and sexy jazz and hip hop mashup. This track has the international feel as well with another verse in a different language. Bocafloja, rapper, poet and spoken word artist out of Mexico City Mexico, is undoubtedly talented even if you don’t speak Spanish, again, you can hear the confidence and talent across language barriers. Cambio raps his verse with a smooth confidence as well, praising his culture and upbringing.

Jazz Hop gives you the familiar feeling of jazz and hip hop but combined to create a completely new sound. The hip-hop doesn’t overpower the jazz and the jazz doesn’t mellow out the hip-hop. Gas-Lab fits them together like Yin and Yang, as if they were always meant to be played together.

Recorded in Buenos Aries, New York and Philadelphia, location is just as much of an inspiration for the album as infusing jazz with hip-hop. By using international artists, Gas-Lab and Diggs are able to truly redefine the global influence of hip-hop. - SWURV Radio

"Such Cool Stuff: Traum Diggs"

Traum’s body of work shows that he is one of the most versatile and real emcees doing it today. The beauty of it is that he is doing it for the love and not the typical rapper trappings. “I want my legacy to be that ‘he really gave us his life’ because it’s relatable and also to hopefully inspire someone that feels like there is no outlet for them in this current state of hip-hop.”

How do you describe your music to people?
I call it "Eric Clapton Rappin'"! It's real stories and pure, authentic emotion delivered over a hip-hop backdrop. As far as my lyrics...the actual words...there's no difference between me and any other great story teller other than my voice, delivery and the music behind me.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I started at age 6-7 mimicking my older brother and Run-DMC. At age 10 I wrote my first rhyme and I haven't looked back since.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Perform on stage with my band. It never gets old!

Read the rest by clicking on the link... -

"Diggin' Traum Diggs"

Traum Diggs has many names.

Theres Rapper Traum MD, Doc Traum, O’Trauma Been Rhymin’, Traum da Napalm Emcee, Diggsmatic, and my personal favorite, Traum Digger Phelps -- because he “coaches these players.”

Fortunately there is more to Traum Diggs than a series hilariously arrogant monikers. For one thing, he can actually rap. That helps. His recent mixtape, Throwback Series Vol. 2 is a quality listen filled with classic beats and capable rhymes (DOWNLOAD HERE) and his live show is refreshingly diverse. Not to mention that heads nationwide directly relate to his remix for our First Lady.

The hilariously arrogant monikers are just a bonus.

The-Quotable caught up with the Flatbush born, Philly based lyricist following his live show at Manhattan’s Uncle Mike’s. Read on and find out about Major Journalism, feeling like Marvin Gaye, and how his Facebook page will become the artists‘ industry model. Microphone check...check...check...check...

TCM: here with Traum Diggs. How you doing, fam?
Diggs: Can’t complain, homie. Can’t complain. Stepped off stage a little bit horse, but you know, all in a days work.

TCM: True that. I hear you. Its a different situation when you’re doing a live show versus stepping out of the studio. Especially when you’re rocking with a live band. You really have to project.
Diggs: I feel at home, though. I feel most at home. This is my element.

TCM: Do you feel more comfortable rocking with a band or with a DJ?
Diggs: I like the band. I like to be able to look to my left and right and see people there, you know what I mean? It makes me feel like Marvin Gaye or something.

TCM: Well, I definitely appreciated your tribute to Teddy Pendergrass.
Diggs: Absolutely. I wish I could’ve done more, but they didn’t know what I was talking about, you know what I mean? [Laughs]

TCM: Not at Uncle Mike’s on a Thursday night...
Diggs: And it was so quick. I’d already rehearsed with the band, and I didn’t want to throw in more stuff. I didn’t want to confuse them. I already got ‘em with the Michael Jackson joint. But I’m going to have something for TP, next show. I promise that.

TCM: “Mike Jackin‘ 4 Beats” sounds cool, man. Its cleaver. Even the wordplay in the title is clever. But you have a line in there: “I’ll probably catch a deal and catch amnesia.” What does that line mean to you?
Diggs: A lot of dudes do, you know what I’m saying? A lot of dudes do. You coming through the ranks with cats -- whether its Hip Hop or anything else, man -- you come through the ranks with a cat, he gets the promotion and the next thing you know he don’t know you no more. And he got that off your back! So, it happens man. We keep it moving. We keep hustling like we don’t even see you.

TCM: So is that your disclaimer?
Diggs: I mean, nah! I try to be as authentic as possible. I promise you, ten years from now, five years from now, platinum album or no platinum album, whatever have you; same interview man. You can still catch me right off the street.

TCM: I do want to tell you that I appreciated the Throwback EP Vol. 2. You flipped a lot of dope tracks in different ways. You flipped “Mighty Healthy” lovely. You had to come hard. Thats a hard beat.
Diggs: Thats one of my favorites.

TCM: So when you’re going in and putting your name on classic beats, whats your approach?
Diggs: Two approaches: 1 approach is, I always go into it...I listen to a lot of music. I’m like really into music. And my thing is, can I do it any justice? If the original person who recorded it can’t hear it and go ‘Okay, yeah he did his thing’, then I’m not going to touch it. I’ve gotta do it justice because I have that much respect for the art. I have that much respect for the cats that paved way for me to do what I do. So thats the 1 thing. And the 2 thing is ‘how can I put my stamp on it’? Even if I manipulate the flow or even if I mess with what the original person did flow wise, I still have to put my stamp on it. Whether its lyrically or something like that, thats always my goal. How can I make whatever I do, Traum, you know what I’m saying?

TCM: Well you did that on “Best of Both Girls.” After hearing your remix [of “Best of Both Worlds”] it seems pretty obvious, but I hadn’t heard that flip. I hadn’t heard anyone else approach that song that way. That was dope.
Diggs: Thanks, man. Thats love. Thats love. It comes from a lot of [Cognac] and inspiration. [Laughs]

TCM: The best kind of inspiration. I wish those were true stories. Were those true stories?
Diggs: You know what...I’m going to say no. [Laughs]

TCM: We’re in mixed company right now, so we’ll keep that a no...
Diggs: I was inspired by a lot of different situations. And to be totally honest with you, there are pieces exaggerated to protect the innocent. Because if I went in, I’d be in trouble...[Laughs].

TCM: So you make a couple references to the Major Journalism EP. I’m new to your catalog. Is that - The Quotable

"Download: Traum Diggs "Come On Over""

Traum is truly in a league of his own. Drawing from influences like the Wu Tang Clan, Mobb Deep and Nas as well as Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Teddy Pendergrass, Traum brings a sense of streets, intelligence and consciousness to his music. A proud college graduate, Traum makes no apologies for having achieved a dream his late mother had for him, nor does he turn his back on the East Flatbush/Caribbean streets that helped raise him.

Traum’s latest mixtape titled “For Colored Girls (& White Chicks Too)” is available below. Don’t worry we got you! -

"Simply Six: Traum Diggs"

1. For many artists, they cite a defining moment for themselves when they knew they wanted to be a singer. For many it was the appearance of Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show, to another generation it was the Beatles’ appearance on Sullivan half a decade later. Is there such a defining moment for you?

I would say the first time I saw Run-DMC on TV I knew that I wanted to do whatever they were doing. I couldn't be more than 5-6 but I knew that I wanted to be just like them.

2. When you’re not creating music what are you listening to? Who are some of your favorites?

I'm a real 70s and Early 80s soul music junkie! Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Jackson 5, Teddy Pendergrass, Donny Hathaway, The Stylistics, The O'Jays, The ChiLites, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Gap Band, The Spinners, Teena Marie, Rick James, Smokey, on and on! If I'm not listening to that it's classic hip-hop or reggae.

3. What would you say is your greatest moment so far as an artist, either on record or live?

I recorded a tribute to Michael Jackson called "Mike Jackin' 4 Beats" which I believe is my greatest lyrical performance on record to date. I also performed two shows in one night once. A show with my band in Manhattan and then opened for Talib Kweli at a venue in Brooklyn. That was the best feeling I have had as an artist thus far.

4. Do you believe music can change the world or is just something to listen to? How much can music influence current events?

Music has provided the backdrop to many a movement. If you are unfamiliar with the state of the world in a particular time or place just listen to the music and you will know. There is no question that music can change and influence the world. How many Vietnam War protesters do you think were influenced by Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On".

5. How has technology affected the music industry? How has technology affected your career as a musician?

Technology has affected and will continue to affect the music industry. From 45s and vinyl to 8 tracks to cassettes to CDs, to mp3s, the landscape of how music is packaged and delivered to the consumer has changed. As far as the artist is concerned, the technology of today gives the unsigned or never before heard artist an almost even playing ground with the major label artist. If you have a clever or simply rediculous presentation you have a chance to "go viral" and reach millions of people online. In my career specifically, technology has been essential. The mere fact that I am doing this interview is the result of the technology that we now have at our disposal. As a result of the Internet, I have been able to connect globally with folks who would never have access to me or my music 10 years ago. So although it has created a great deal of absolutely horrible content, it is somewhat of a necessary evil.

6. Now for my Barbara Walters question: If you were a pair of shoes what type of shoes would you be?

I am definitely a pair of Gortex! Rugged, waterproof, dexterous and stylish all at the same time. And very New York! - Voices to Hear

"Brother Story: Traum Diggs"

i had the pleasure of opening for hip hop artist traum diggs last month at busboys and poets in dc. up until this point, i had never seen him perform live. having known him for a few years, i know he has an impressive work ethic, and i dug what i had heard of his music online before. but his live show...insanity. his energy and raw soul filled the building that night. on "the mission tour," traum travels with his band and a rotating roster of singers, comedians, and poets that move the crowd with ease from one emotional apex to the next. according to, "Traum Diggs is a Hip Hop artist whose style, ability, and approach shatters conventional wisdom and all preconceived assumptions." that sounds about right to me.

in honor of pure dopeness and the approaching season of giving, i present to you traum diggs. you're welcome.
- Rhythm

"Traum Diggs & 623 Ent. Doin' It Big"

Earlier this year, our friends at 623 Entertainment put me on to some work
by the talented artist Traum Diggs. The grind hasn't ceased as Traum Diggs
has had much success throughout 09' as opening artist for the likes of Talib Kweli,
Jean Grae, Styles P and most recently Pharoahe Monch!

Šw‚ñ‚¾‹³ŒP‚ɂ‚¢‚Ä?A?¡”N‚Í”ñ?í‚É?Ë”\‚Ì‚ ‚éƒjƒ…?[ƒˆ?[ƒNƒ~ƒ…?[ƒWƒVƒƒƒ“ Traum Diggs?B
2009”N”Þ‚ª?Z‚Þ‘½‚­‚Ì’˜–¼‚ȉ¹Šy‰Æ‚ÆŽÀ?s‚µ‚Ü‚·...Talib Kweli, Jean Grae, Styles P ‚Æ Pharoahe Monch!

- Tokyo Grindhouse

"Traum Diggs"

Went to the first stop on the Mission Tour expecting the typical “underground” hip-hop scene, what I got instead was a full show of varying artists that had me reacting and interacting with the beats, words and sounds so much so that I’ve followed the Tour ever since. It’s very rare to see a hip-hop artist perform with a live band and make that performance seem so effortless as if that’s the way hip-hop should be done; Traum Diggs has convinced me there’s no other way. Watching these artists perform was like viewing the difference between a tube TV and a HD TV; making you realize that what’s heard on the radio isn’t hip-hop. - New York Daily

"Mrs. Obama by Traum Diggs"

Stop the presses, stop the presses, HIP HOP IS NOT DEAD!

Check out this exclusive track "Mrs. Obama" from Brooklyn native Traum Diggs, paying respect to First Lady Michelle Obama and black women world wide.

Diggs lifts the beat and autotune from radio hit "Pop Champagne" by Ron Browz which featured Jim Jones and Juelz Santana.

The Source Magazine is currently featuring "Mrs. Obama" on their website in their check it out section, kind of like their unsigned hype. The comments are hailing Traum Diggs as the return to good hip-Hop.

Keep it locked right here on Examiner for more exclusive content!


"‘Different perspectives’ on cultural phenomenon"

“I met Traum Diggs when we were both part of a hip-hop panel discussion at SUNY Rockland. He’s the perfect person to include in events like these because he’s a rapper and a scholar — he enrolled at Temple U when he was only 16.”

Hess, as well as his co-organizers and students, were all extremely enthusiastic about the concert. Traum Diggs performed first, with a full band including flute, saxophone, guitar and drums, and though the BLC theater wasn’t packed, the students started to get into the music. - The Rider News


Sax Fifth Avenue Flow - Single (2012)
For What Its Worth - Single (2013)
Jazz Hop - Album (2013)                                                                                                      Major Journalism - Album (2015)



Traum Diggs is a writer and MC with an intense focus on continuing the tradition of substantive and innovative lyricism that first drew him to the pen and paper as a child.  A native of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY and the son of Caribbean immigrants, Traum Diggs (born David Shanks) began writing rhymes at 10 years old and grew up immersed in Hip-Hop culture. His straightforward, crystal clear delivery is a throwback to when hip-hop music was more authentic yet musically, his sound remains relevant in today’s landscape. “I am an autobiographical emcee,” says Diggs. “I write what I see, think, feel and experience. I don’t know how to pretend.” This revelation has led to Traum coining the word “AudioBioGraphic” to describe his music. He draws the comparison between songwriting and journal writing and has expounded on that relationship in his music and literary contributions. 

Since graduating from Temple University at age 20 with a Bachelors in Journalism, Traum has juggled his time between Corporate America, Freelancing and Freestyling. After years in the 'real world' and stints as a freelance music journalist with, Chambermusik,, and Hip Hop Elements,  Traum rededicated himself to his childhood dream in 2008 and began releasing new material. Through mixtape releases and stage performances throughout the Northeast, Traum slowly began to draw local and online attention. He has headlined his own promo tour, The Mission Tour, and shared stages with industry vets such as Talib Kweli, Pharaohe Monch, Styles P and DJ Premiere. Traum has also lectured and participated in music panels at Rider University, Mercer County Community College and CUNY Rockland. 

In 2012, Traum Diggs released the single “Sax Fifth Avenue Flow” independently via his own label 623 Entertainment. Through a slow and steady push the song has become a favorite amongst underground hip-hop fans worldwide and has garnered acclaim and recognition on social and online media as well as mentions from mainstream artists. To date, it’s music video for has gained over 300K views on YouTube.

“Sax Fifth Avenue Flow” has opened doors internationally for Diggs and he has jumped at the opportunity to work with a variety of styles, genres and cultures. He has collaborated with artists in the UK, Canada, Poland, Spain, and beyond and in 2013 released a joint EP with Argentinian musician/producer Gas-Lab entitled Jazz HopThe album has continued to expand Traum’s global fan base and has also helped his brand domestically scoring a Top 10 debut on CMJ’s (College Music Journal) Top 40 Hip-Hop Charts. Traum has also continued his career as a writer/journalist contributing to the books Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide (2009, ABC-CLIO, Inc.), Expressive Writing: Classroom and Community (2014, Rowman and Littlefield) and The Dirty Version: On Stage, In the Studio and In the Streets with Ol' Dirty Bastard (2014, Dey St./Harper Collins).  

Band Members