According to the dictionary a trademark is a name, symbol, or other device identifying a product, officially registered and legally restricted to the use of the owner or manufacturer. It is a distinctive characteristic by which a person or thing comes to be known. It is also the root-word from which Texas rapper Trai'D (pronounced Tray D), one of the South's hottest MCs choose to base his stage moniker Traidmark on. "Trai'D is short for Traidmark. I chose that as my name because a "trademark" is the symbol that a company or organization uses to represent them and their product. In my case where ever I'm at I'm representin' my people, my City, my label, everything I stand for to the fullest, ya dig." Born Joseph Aschalew in Dallas, Texas seventeen years ago, Trai'D grew up in the City's rough and tumble Oakcliff district, a place where poverty, drugs and violent crime walk hand-in- hand, often claiming the lives of many young Black and Latino males. But thanks to his parents who encouraged him to excel in academics and cultivated his love of music, Trai'D was able to avoid the pitfalls that life in Dallas roughest area had to offer. "My parents always knew it would be easy for me to fall victim to the streets," explains Trai'D. "They tried their best to keep me out of trouble by makin' me go to Cedar Hill High School, a school outside of the Cliff. But to tell the truth my parents didn't have to do that. I seen too many of my niggas make poor decisions with their lives, by going down the wrong path, for me to do the same. Coming home everyday from school, I really just stuck to my music, somethin' that always been a passion of mine. It kept me in the house so my parents didn't complain." Trai'D's passion for music was stoked by a steady musical diet of R&B and hip hop. While he loves R & B it was hip hop that would prove to be his ultimate passion. As he likes to put it he didn't discover hip hop, hip hop more or less discovered him. "Hip Hop is everywhere," says an excited Trai'D. You just can't deny the impact that Hip Hop has had on the world. I love the culture." Trai'D loved hip hop culture so much that he started rapping at the tender age of 9, rocking mics both real and imaginary with a favor and talent that belied his youth. By the time he was 17 he was recording his own songs and sharing them with his friends and family. Everybody was impressed by how he was able kick an aggressive lyrical flow with a tenacity of a hip hop vet. It was hard for many to believe that he is just 17 years old. "I've got one hell of an aggressive flow and lyrical mastery," says Trai'D, who cites Southern rhyme master Ludacris as his chief influence. "My voice has to be what makes me unique. That's all I hear people say when they check out my music, they tell me how unique and catchy my voice is." Encouraged by all of the positive feedback that his music received Trai'D opened up a myspace account and placed some of his music on his page. The response to one song called "Gotta Gutta Chick" was so great that it caught the attention of Memphis DJ Freddy Hydro who contacted his friend Memphitz, an A&R at Jive Records and told him about Trai'D. Within weeks Memphitz had inked a deal with Trai'D and Jive Records. Currently "Gotta Gutta Chick" is exploding in clubs Texas, Tennessee and Mississippi and promises to be one of the biggest songs in the Southern region. Likewise Trai'D is poised to be one of the biggest artists to emerge from Texas since Mike Jones, Paul Wall and Chamillionaire and may well be bigger than all three combined before it's all said and done. While all of the hype and expectation that has been heaped upon Trai'D is enough to blow the mind of a average teenager his age, the Texas titan remains cool, calm and collected, confident in his ability to succeed yet unfazed by the prospect of fame and fortune. "I put a lotta time and effort into my music because my main goal is satisfying my fans," says Trai'D when asked about his legacy. "But at the end of the day this is more than just a paycheck for me; I would be making music with or without a deal. I want people to know I'm for real with this shit."