Standout Track: No. 3, “Deep Thought,” a stream-of-consciousness lyrical exercise from the 20-year-old Benning Road-raised MC. Here, Trel proves wise before his time in the Scarface mold, and his musings are bolstered by a crackling, melancholic loop courtesy of D.C. production team Basehedz.

Musical Motivation: “I was just smoking weed and collecting thoughts,” Trel says. “I secluded myself in my room, let my mind roll and let the pen touch the paper.” Trel’s train of thought touches on D.C.’s flawed public-school system, snitches, stolen motor bikes, late-night hustles, “moonshine fluid,” MySpace hookups, million-dollar dreams, and near-death experiences. He even addresses, and subsequently overcomes, the sheer difficulty of writing under the influence.

Attention Benefit: Trel has a patron saint in D.C.’s most visible hip-hop star—Wale. After catching the eye of the rapper’s management at an open mic at U Street NW venue Pure, Trel was quickly drafted into Wale’s Board Administration collective. Trel is currently opening for Wale on tour. “Not less than two years ago I was in the streets. I was into stolen cars, I was breaking and entering,” Trel says. “Now every state we go I’m performing in front of 8,000 people. It’s amazing, it’s all brand new and I love it to death.”

More from WCP