Chris “Mr Trap Jazz” Moten, Devon Stixxx & Cassius Jay Talk ‘Trap Jazz’ Docu-Film On HULU

Trap Jazz - Photo Credits: Monica Schipper/GETTY ID's left to right: Cassius Jay, Christ Moten, Devon "STIXX" Taylor, and Raschad Marshall

AllHipHop had the chance to speak with Chris, Devon, and Cassius, at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, just one day prior to their performance and screening.

If this is your first time hearing the words Trap Jazz together, then look no further than the new docu-film by the same name, premiered exclusively on HULU.

While it may seem like a genius idea to fuse both the genres of trap and jazz, there’s actually so much more that goes on behind closed doors. While trap jazz is deeply founded in the power of music, it also speaks volumes to one’s ability to rise from the trials and tribulations of life, and turn their failures into successes.

The overall message? Don’t ever give up on your dreams.

Trap Jazz is the band consisting of founder Chris Moten, world-renowned drummer Devon Stixxx, and Grammy-winning producer Cassius Jay. All three are born and raised in Atlanta, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that they’re the best of friends. 

Presented by Black multi-media platform Andscape and HULU, the new film chronicles the making of Trap Jazz, following these three classically–trained musicians into the studio as they highlight the beauty in the collaborative process. Of course, with every success story comes unwavering passion, endless hours of hard work, and a desire to shift the culture in a positive way — and that’s exactly what Trap Jazz embodies.

AllHipHop had the chance to speak with Chris, Devon, and Cassius, at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, just one day prior to their performance and screening.

AllHipHop: Can we get some background on yourself and your most notable projects?

Chris Moten: I’m from Atlanta. Raised in Decatur, Georgia, the Eastside of Atlanta. After I graduated high school, I went to Clark Atlanta. Studied music there, worked on my technical ability. Learned how to read, write, score. Started playing with the jazz orchestra there, then kind of dropped out because I wanted to tour and travel with celebrities. I was already ready for it. I started with J. Holiday, worked my way all the way up to Jay Z. Kelly Rowland, Mariah Carey, Usher, Joe Jonas, Britney Spears. Toured with them for years as a music director. 

I was a part of the band, but my job was the music director. The one who arranged the music, wrote the music for the live show. When people come out and see a live performance, they expect something different than what they heard on the album. That was my job to create this new experience for them, that’s not just listening to the album. You got the skits and all the segways. My job is to make them come together visually and musically together. 

I became notable for that, that’s what people knew me for doing. I stopped doing that because it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in anymore. I wanted to have my own voice, my own lane, my own style of music that I could leave here before I pass away. It was serious for me to start it very soon, so I stopped playing with celebrities. As far as traveling with them, I still work with them. 

I started Trap Jazz in 2015 in Atlanta. I started it by myself, with no one else. I brought in Cassius, world-renowned producer, and Devon Stixxs Taylor, a world-renowned drummer. He’s like me, toured with all the celebrities. Played for everybody, one of the best drummers in the world. Cassius is one of the best producers in the world. I’ve known them both since they were 16. I went back and said y’all are the the best musicians, the best producer that I know. I should ya’ll into it because I think y’all would understand it. 

Not only that, but we already had a great relationship. We already had a good personal friendship, so I thought that it’d be good for us for life. Bringing them into it was really crazy because since that, everything has happened because of that reason. Because we all came together. I think it would’ve been totally different if we hadn’t done it this way. But doing it this way, I don’t think we could’ve created this scenario without us coming together like we did.

We all had different journeys, all had different successes and accomplishments separately. But together, we’ve done something that we’ve never done before. So that’s been great.

AllHipHop: What is Trap Jazz?

Chris Moten: Trap Jazz is the community, the neighborhood, the hood, the streets. The pain, the struggle, everything that you go through in the hood. Not saying that it’s only for people from the hood. It’s still the pain, struggle, and conflicts of life, mixed with the medicine or therapy of music, to be able to overcome it. Or to be able to cope with it or deal with it. Even at the end of the day, listen to your favorite song or album or artist. It could be music or entertainment, it could be painting or archery or anything like that. 

Trap Jazz is all of that together. It’s the pain, the struggle and the success, all wrapped up in one. It’s Hip Hop music from way back in the day, but it’s trap music because it’s today. That’s the whole Hip Hop part of it. That’s the trap side. 

The jazz is the sophistication from the early 1900’s, from 1800’s blues, from slave music and all of that. That’s the jazz part of it. It’s not just the jazz that you know from your era of music. I always tell people: no matter if you’re 70, 50, 30, or 10, you have the jazz that you know of, and our jazz is all of that. From the 1800’s to now, we’re trying to incorporate every sound, every feeling. We try to incorporate all of the new Hip Hop sounds along with old Hip Hop sounds.

It’s just not the music, it’s the culture. It’s the family, it’s your friends. It’s the loved ones, it’s all of that together. 

AllHipHop: What is your involvement with the genre? You’re the founder?

Chris Moten: Yeah, I created Trap Jazz in 2015. I created the word, then I established the sound by bringing certain people into the umbrella of Trap Jazz. But I’m proud to be the creator of Trap Jazz.

AllHipHop: What are you most excited for with the film coming out?

Chris Moten: I’m excited for the new platform, the new level, the new journey that we’re going to embark on. It’s something that I’ve never done in my life before, as a musician. We’ve always been with celebrities, but we don’t always get a chance to be heard individually. Our own voice. We always accompany a singer or a performer, we never get a chance to do our own thing. The movie is allowing us to have a broader platform for people to listen to us.

AllHipHop: Who is Trap Jazz for? 

Every single person in the world, and aliens too. If they can hear Trap Jazz, it’s for them too. Because every human being can identify with crisis and pain, the struggle, and what it means to come out of that on top.

AllHipHop: Can we get some background on yourself and your most notable projects?

Cassius Jay: I’m Cassius Jay. I’ve produced for Cardi B, “came through drippin’.” Got a Grammy from that. Who else? Future, Young Thug, Peewee Longway, Bankroll Fresh, Young Dolph. I’m known for being with Zaytoven. Zaytoven is the godfather, he’s the one who brought me to the game.

AllHipHop: How did you guys meet?

Cassius Jay: We met at church. He’s a church boy, I’m a church boy. Then we started producing together, became the best of friends. He started taking me around Gucci, Jeezy, Migos, all his people. I started producing for all of them. 

AllHipHop: What is Trap Jazz?

Cassius Jay: Trap Jazz is a genre of jazz music and Hip-Hop trap music combined together. You got Chris that does a lot of jazz, him and Stixxx. Then you got me and Stixxx that’s doing all the trap. We mixed two of the sounds and became Trap Jazz, a very poly-sound that’s never been heard.

AllHipHop: What’s your involvement with the creation of the genre?

Cassius Jay: Chris brought me the idea, I went straight to the studio and started working. I created the whole vibe, but Chris is the one creating all the jazz and all the licks. Chris had the idea, but I made the idea come true. That’s what a producer does. Somebody tells you, “I’m gonna write a song.” It’s up to the producer to produce that song. They told me the idea, and I produced that b####.

AllHipHop: What’re you most excited for with the film coming out?

Cassius Jay: I’m excited about seeing Chris shine. I’m excited about seeing Mr. Trap Jazz get his time, his spotlight, his flowers. Chris has been working so hard, so I’m excited to see him get a lot of attention. See his dream that he thought of become a reality. That’s one of the main things I’m excited about with this film, for people to really get to know Chris.

AllHipHop: Who is Trap Jazz for?

Cassius Jay: It’s for everybody. It’s for the older people that like jazz music, that’s mellow. It’s for young people who like to shake their ass and twerk. It’s for people that don’t even like words, they just like the beats. Trap Jazz is for everybody.

AllHipHop: Can we get some background on yourself and your most notable projects?

Devon Stixx: My name is Devon Stixxx Taylor, from Atlanta, Georgia born and raised. A lot of people may know me from playing with Justin Bieber, Mary J. Blige. I’m currently on the road right now with Usher, at his Vegas residency.

AllHipHop: That’s epic! What’s been the highlight from that?

Devon Stixx: Aw man, the whole show. It’s different every day. It’s been great. All the celebrities, friends and family, everybody’s been coming through. The energy has been impeccable. 

AllHipHop: What is Trap Jazz?

Devon Stixx: Trap Jazz is my band, my brother’s band, all of our bands. We’re infusing two different genres of music together, which is Trap and Jazz. We didn’t want to just play regular standard jazz music that younger musicians and a lot of people they wouldn’t understand. At our shows, we want people to be able to dance and have fun. Not just sit down and when we get done, clap for 30 seconds like we’re in a recital. [claps] We decided to infuse both of our favorite genres of music, which is Trap and Jazz together. That’s what Trap Jazz is.

AllHipHop: What is your involvement with the creation of the genre?

Devon Stixx: I helped come up with some of the arrangements, alongside Chris Moten and and Cassius Jay. It’s all three together.

AllHipHop: What’re you most excited for with the film coming out?

Devon Stixx: I’m so excited for people to see our story. For my kids, all my fans and my friends to see the legacy that we’re starting, that we’re creating. I’m happy that the story’s coming out because hopefully we can change somebody’s life and encourage the little kid, or anybody that’s making music. No matter how old you are, you can make it. Can’t nobody tell you that you can’t do anything.

We come from a lot of different backgrounds, especially church. We come from the struggle, just like everybody else. But you don’t have to be out there doing nothing stupid to get money or be successful. You don’t need all that s###.

AllHipHop: Who is Trap Jazz for?

Devon Stixx: Trap Jazz for everybody. It doesn’t matter what age, what ethnicity, how old you are, what background you come from. Whether you come from church, you come from classical, you go from standard jazz or traditional jazz, it doesn’t matter. Hip-Hop, R&B, it’s for everybody.