April 19, 2017

Justin Carroll-Allan chirps back when shawty chirps.

Peanut Da Don didn’t live to see the success of his hit, “Trenches Reloaded.” He was fatally shot last fall before the video even came out. It’s a song about overcoming poverty and pain, making your own luck, and burning your way to the top no matter what — which makes Peanut Da Don’s death all the more tragic. “Trenches Reloaded” instructs us to be tough and depend on no one, because other people are a liability: “Do your dirt all by your lonely/Same shooter turned witness.” He’s preaching a familiar, almost Ayn-Randian focus on putting yourself above everything and everyone else. It’s a celebration of survival, but instead it’s a wake. The piano melody adds an eerie feel to this track about success, sung by a dead man who found only a brief respite from the trenches. In the end, the trenches claimed him.

To pay homage to the late Peanut Da Don, the Hustle Gang just released a new remix and video for “Trenches Reloaded.” The remix is identical to the original, save for one important detail: the new version includes a somber verse from T.I. that honors Peanut Da Don’s short but important career. In the remix, T.I. displays the elasticity of his voice—in contrast to the syrupy slowness of his earlier records, T.I. goes with a sharp, rapid-fire delivery that mirrors the urgency of trap living. T.I. paints a vivid picture, displaying his eye for detail: “Every time I witnessed a homicide, to tell you the truth I was horrified…home invasions get hog tied/just for shinin’ too hard.”

Before he was an elder statesman in a thriving rap scene, T.I. was a young rap pioneer in a city that was just beginning to form the sound and style that Atlanta is known for today. Don’t forget: T.I.’s second (and arguably his best) album was called Trap Muzik, and I must’ve listened to “Rubberband Man” three-hundred times from ’03-’05. With their upcoming G.D.O.D. 3, Hustle Gang is helping to share Peanut Da Don’s music with the world. In the video for the remix, which is just the “Trenches Reloaded” video with a T.I. scene spliced in—despite the grim callousness of Peanut Da Don’s instructions for survival—there’s a joy shining from him that’s hard to ignore: for a moment, he’d made it. Perhaps that’s worth celebrating.