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Hyphy Pioneer Traxamillion Dead at 42

Courtesy Prashant “PK” Kumar
Traxamillion, a prolific hip-hop producer and one of the pioneers of the Bay Area's hyphy hip-hop movement, is dead at 42.

According to his manager, Prashant “PK” Kumar, the artist, born Sultan Banks, died Sunday at his aunt's house in Santa Clara, California, where he was on hospice — ending a long battle with a rare form of cancer that began for him in 2017.

“He was an amazing musician/producer,” Kumar told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He was an integral part of the hyphy music sound who helped reopen the door for Bay Area hip-hop. He did it in 2004 or 2005, and the rest of California got on it and adapted his sound.”

Born in East Orange, New Jersey, and raised in San Jose, California, where he attended Andrew Hill High School in San Jose before moving on to San Jose City College to further his education; Banks was a force both behind-the-scenes and behind the mic in helping popularize hyphy music. 

His production work with Oakland, California, rapper Keak da Sneak, who coined the term hyphy was its self-proclaimed king, on songs like "Super Hyphy" helped shape the genre's sound in the mid-2000s. While his biggest project, a compilation album released in 2006 featuring Banks and an all-star squad of hyphy rappers flowing over his beats, “Traxamillion Presents the Slapp Addict,” remains iconic in the Bay.

“That album is often referred to as the soundtrack of the hyphy movement,” Kumar said.

Banks, also worked with other prominent Bay Area rappers, including mainstream music icons, Too Short and E-40, the latter of whom shared a heartfelt tribute to him on Instagram following the news of his death.

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