The precedent for Trapt's recent success was set a year and a half ago by a diminutive black rapper who sometimes dresses as a leprechaun. Houston's Lil' Flip would see his 2000 debut, The Leprechaun, sell more than 250,000 copies, thanks largely to the help of Clevelanders. It was here that Flip first hit outside the South, becoming one of the more heavily played artists on local urban radio in 2001. His rise to national prominence also helped reestablish Cleveland as an important market for breaking acts.
Now we're seeing a similar thing happen with the California alt-metal troupe Trapt. The group's first single, the bristling "Headstrong," has become a fixture on 92.3 FM Xtreme Radio, and Cleveland has led the way in the band's steady climb up the charts. Since the group's self-titled debut was released in November, it's moved close to 30,000 copies -- a solid start for a new act.
"Cleveland is the number-one Soundscan market for the band," says Bill Peters, a local Warner Bros. rep who is working the record. "They can't even keep the record in the stores here. It's kind of exciting to see Cleveland actually breaking a band, like the old days. Back in the '70s and '80s, there was the Alex Harvey Band, Ian Hunter -- all these guys that Cleveland broke with WMMS. It's good to see something like that again."
Local support for Trapt has been strong from the get-go. In December, when the group was in town to play a slot on 92.3's Nitemare Before X-Mas show, Trapt held an in-store appearance at the Exchange in Parma Heights. The group drew more than 300 people on a Friday afternoon.
"The band was shocked," Peters says. "They're young kids, and I don't think they've done many in-stores, and when they saw the line of kids -- which was all the way down the shopping center -- they were speechless. They couldn't believe it."