Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Hip-hop artist Travis Thompson will perform in Fort Defiance

Hip-hop artist Travis Thompson will perform in Fort Defiance

WINDOW ROCK – Fort Defiance hip-hop/rapper artist Travis Thompson, 27, has always wanted to perform in his hometown. Now he will.

The Seattle-based artist will perform a free concert for the Navajo Nation on April 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bee Hółdzil Fighting Scouts Events Center in Fort Defiance, presented by the Window Rock Athletics Department, Delegate Andy Nez, and Rancid-Savage Productions.

Concert promoter Randall Hoskie with Rancid Savage Productions said efforts to bring Thompson back home to perform for the Navajo Nation have been coming for a long time.

“He’s a proud member of the Navajo Nation,” Hoskie said of Thompson, who is from Goat Springs, Arizona. “We kept telling him, ‘Let’s do a show for the Navajo Nation.’”

Longtime coming

With Travis Thompson’s busy schedule, Randall Hoskie managed to get Thompson to headline for another show called “Merciless Savages.” This show will showcase over 30 top Native musicians during the Gathering of Nations at the El Rey in Albuquerque on April 27.

A perfect time was described by Hoskie, who claimed he reached out to a few individuals at the president’s office.

With no response, he contacted Andy Nez himself, and “he was all over it right away.”

Almost in a day, Nez said he reached out to multiple partners to establish a location, and Window Rock School District agreed to host the free concert.

“We finalized all the details,” Nez said. “It’s pretty unique because I am grounded in this work on highlighting community and working together.”

Knowing that Thompson is from Fort Defiance, Nez describes it as an opportunity to be among the community.

“We try to reach different populations,” Nez said regarding music genres and bringing something different.

Indigeneity

Although Travis Thompson acknowledges being part Diné, he steers to represent every part of him and does not speak from a visitor’s perspective.

“I strive to be someone that he can look back on as a positive contribution to not only the music space but the people,” he said. “The landscape has changed so much.”

At age 5, Thompson and his parents lived in Dutch Harbor, a harbor on Amaknak Island in Unalaska, Alaska. His parents were in the fishing and cooking industry.

After that, they moved to Seattle and would periodically visit Fort Defiance to visit his dad’s family.

Thompson is Bilagáana and born for Tó’áhání. His parents are Anthony Thompson, from Fort Defiance, and Julie Thompson, from Seattle.

Coasting through life is a way Thompson describes his personal and musical life.

Thompson became keen on spoken word poetry in a Youth Speaks Seattle program and learned how to perform and write music.

“I always knew I wanted to make music,” he said. “I would email venues for shows and shoot music videos.”

He worked hard to produce music at his jobs, such as a pizza joint, a factory, and as a preschool educator, all of which were invested in creating music.

After years of “grinding,” things panned out, and Thompson’s career unfolded after he performed on The Tonight Show, which starred Jimmy Fallon in 2017 with Macklemore, Dave B, and DJ Premier.

In 2020, he performed on the Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out show.

Thompson said Cannon noticed his performance from a previous gig and invited him to perform on the show. Additionally, he appeared in the comedy-drama series Reservation Dogs.

Earlier in the years, Thompson believed he was “not cool enough to rap,” but he has made himself known in an industry with few Indigenous representations.

Thompson echoed that the biggest obstacle for Indigenous artists is making their voices heard and having the funds to do so.

“When I walk into certain rooms, there’s definitely an area of interest, which is almost like a plus,” Thompson said. “People don’t meet a lot of Indigenous rappers when I move around.”

Thus far, Thompson has worked with Juicy J, G-Eazy, Westside Boogie, SuperDuperKyle, and many more.

“I’ve always had a cool community of artists,” he added. “It’s cool in that stance, but I definitely would like to see more representation.”

Thompson describes how he presents himself by doing his best to be a genuine voice.

“If you’re talented and a good person, your day is coming,” Thompson said. “If you’re just constantly elevating and telling an authentic story, it will work.”

Believing in your path and striving to be “authentic,” Thompson shares there’s always room for progress to heighten improvement and growth.

Thompson will be going on tour starting with Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Denver, and Seattle.


About The Author

Boderra Joe

Boderra Joe is a reporter and photographer at Navajo Times. She has written for Gallup Sun and Rio Grande Sun and has covered various beats. She received second place for Sports Writing for the 2018 New Mexico Better Newspaper Awards. She is from Baahazhł’ah, New Mexico.

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