You don’t need to be face-to-face with the members of R&B/rap duo TRP.P (pronounced Trippy) to feel their incredible chemistry, the music speaks for itself. And when they join Urbanology Magazine for a phone interview, that undeniable chemistry is made apparent all over again as they laugh in unison and retell stories of the musical journey that’s led them to where they are now.
The musical duo – also a power couple – first joined together over five years ago and have since established themselves as a strong addition to Toronto’s R&B music scene. They’ve made their presence known on the live performance circuit, securing slots at several music festivals including House of PainT, POP! Montreal and Venus Fest. Their sophomore EP 2 TRP.P was also named one of Now Magazine’s Top 10 Toronto albums of 2019.
But before they became TRP.P, Phoenix Pagliacci and Truss started out with solo careers – Truss as a songwriter/producer and Pagliacci as a singer/songwriter/rapper. When Pagliacci reached out to Truss for help on production back in 2015, the pair began to collaborate more frequently and soon after TRP.P was born.
“We realized the chemistry was there and we worked really well together,” Truss says.
Pagliacci and Truss act as two rods of iron sharpening each other. Each bringing their unique skill set to the table, Pagliacci says she and Truss influenced each other as they took turns swapping roles.
“I started learning to produce,” Pagliacci says. “He started doing more of the singing because I did most of the singing, so I think by being around each other we kind of strengthened each other in areas that we didn’t really start out focusing on.”
2 TRP.P is full of sounds that are fresh, yet rich and soulful, with some songs also lending a nostalgic feel. Truss’ R&B meets hip-hop and reggae-infused production sets the tone and Pagliacci’s impressive vocals and penmanship bring to life the emotions of each song on the EP.
This is excellently done on their single “Chakra Con.” The anthem for knowing oneself and protecting your energy perfectly blends Pagliacci’s sultry voice with Truss’ neo soul-inspired production. The song was also selected to be featured in the dramedy web series“The Artist’s Way Out” which was nominated for numerous awards including Best Web Series at the London International Web & Short Film Festival.
“We watched it and I was like, ‘oh my gosh this is us,’ ” Pagliacci says. “This is our experience as artists and as a couple.”
“We just want to make good music.”Truss
Earlier this year, TRP.P released their first single for 2021 titled, “Stand My Ground.”
On the powerful track, Pagliacci sings of defiance in the face of oppression during a time when the Black community has become increasingly vocal about the injustice and violence they’ve been forced to experience.
Pagliacci says it was important for TRP.P make “Stand My Ground” to address the current climate in society, but adds they also plan to provide needed relief from the world’s troubles in future songs.
“As an artist you want to show that you are not ignorant of what’s going on around the world, but at the same time you don’t want to let it consume you as an artist,” Pagliacci says. “As we go through the pandemic, as we go through racial injustice, as we go through all these experiences, they should shape and form us as an artist, but they should not overall define our sound.”
“If there’s going to be a difficult comment … you start by saying, ‘I say this with love,’ so that kind of lightens the blow and you know where it’s coming from.”Phoenix Pagliacci
While Phoenix and Truss may have incredible chemistry, they, like all humans, aren’t immune to a disagreement or two. After joking around about how they handle creative differences – “He can sleep on the couch!” Pagliacci says with a laugh – they share that the way they really settle disagreements is by using gentle and open communication.
“If there’s going to be a difficult comment … you start by saying, ‘I say this with love,’ so that kind of lightens the blow and you know where it’s coming from,” she says.
“It’s also about being able to hold space for each other,” Truss adds.
Currently, the pair is working on solo projects and potentially a third TRP.P project on which fans can expect to hear a lot more vocals from Truss.
“I feel like I do a lot of the lead vocals but Truss doesn’t get enough shine. I want him to be at the forefront and I want to do more of the production,” Pagliacci says.
For her upcoming solo project, Pagliacci says fans can expect to hear subject matter that touches on recently experiencing loss at the hands of both cancer and COVID-19.
“A lot of loss has defined my experience in quarantine,” she says. “And I wanted to talk about it because I know I’m not alone, but I also know how it has been affecting me.”
As for Truss, he says his sound is constantly evolving, he plans to get a little more vulnerable in his songwriting.
“Whether it’s a good feeling or a bad feeling, I want to be able to have a space to just feel that musically,” he says.
In the future, the pair looks forward to one day return to live performing, describing virtual performances as “so weird.”
Until then, Truss sums up TRP.P’s goal simply: “We just want to make good music.”
Photos by Anthony Gebrehiwot supplied by TRP.P
This article was presented by CBC’s The Block. Hosted by Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe, The Block is about culture and community – repping the elements of hip-hop from its roots to its far-reaching influence. Listen now.