Trap Music: The new dubstep?

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In a classic case of social media outrage, Chicago duo Flosstradamus placed this status on their Facebook page in June: “People already calling this trap shit a ‘fad’, calling it the next dubstep or whatevs. Fuck all that nerd shit, let’s just have fun, damn!” It was a statement that captures the mood around trap music’s rapid rise in America and its building momentum down under. But what does trap music mean for dance music, and does it really have the potential to become the next dubstep?

Traditionally, trap music is the term used to describe hip-hop from the Southern region of America. The name derives from such rappers’ tendency to sell drugs from spots known as “trap houses.” Syrup-sippin’, cadillac-cruisin’ artists like UGK are often cited as the forefathers of the style, and Atlanta veteran T.I. even named his 2003 album Trap Muzik.

Notably, trap has become largely identified with a more intense brand of hip-hop, where these Southern trademarks have been amplified both lyrically and production-wise. Rappers such as Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame have taken drug and thug bravado to almost cartoonish levels, spitting over a backdrop of snares, hi-hats and brooding synths. The producer behind many of these riot-inducing beats is Lex Luger, who is often credited with popularising the modern trap sound. But the formula may be growing tired, as Luger himself told the NY Times in 2011 that “everybody’s trapped in the trap sound.. I’m trying to get out.”

One only needs to look at 16-year-old rapper Chief Keef to see how big the phenomenon has become. His brash trap banger I Don’t Like went viral earlier in 2012, and was picked up by Kanye West for an official remix. After being scouted by every label from Cash Money to Grand Hustle, the teenager recently inked a deal with Interscope. The track’s producer, Young Chop, signed with Warner Bros.

So while trap music is a label identifiable with hip-hop, it has also been used increasingly to describe EDM producers taking influence from the Southern rap sound. RL Grime, Baauer and the Hudson Mohawke/Lunice project TNGHT are just some artists being slapped with the term. Locally, Spenda C of The Mane Thing has been waving the trap flag with pride in his production.

Some have criticised the growing EDM adoption, and comparisons with the explosion of dubstep are already starting to roll in. The intense hatred directed at Skrillex suggests that older dubstep fans mourn the loss of intricate production in favour of noisy brostep tracks. Similarly, many feel that these dance artists have only drawn from the trap hits of recent years, while ignoring the innovators of the sound. In an interview with Motherboard, producer Lotic described the current situation as “de-contextualised. A lot of the sounds and ideas in trap can be traced back pretty far, but people are only going back a few years for ‘inspiration’. It’s just really clear that there’s a lot of bandwagoning rather than real appreciation.”

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Comments

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solsta

solsta said on the 2nd Jul, 2012

New?!? Trap music has been out for AAAGES. Example, T.I's album Trap music came out in 03 and tonnes other rappers have been doing it before that album was even conceived. New to the non American club scene I agree but not so much either, in Europe people have been going mad to that stuff since back in the day

solsta

solsta said on the 2nd Jul, 2012

Also apologies, I had commented before I read the whole article, you mentioned T.I's album. Respect. Awesome article yo

Ncookie

Ncookie said on the 2nd Jul, 2012

BRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIICCCKKKKKKKKKSQQUAAAAAADDDDDDDD!!!!

Originalist

Originalist said on the 2nd Jul, 2012

Similar sound to UK Grime but not as up tempo

David Guetta

David Guetta said on the 2nd Jul, 2012

What are they going on about. I have been doing crap music for ages, way before all of these..

Oops read it wrong, shit have not heard of trap music, better make some calls and get onto the banwagon.

bulldozer

bulldozer said on the 2nd Jul, 2012

Absolutely terrible. I weep for humanity.

cheechvda

cheechvda said on the 2nd Jul, 2012

Nothing funnier than gong out in Fitzroy and seeing people getting down to this stuff... Fuck it makes me laugh

damdamodam

damdamodam said on the 3rd Jul, 2012

The Temper Trap - yep I went there..

SlicyDicer

SlicyDicer said on the 3rd Jul, 2012

Why does America suck so hard?

Conor-

Conor- said on the 3rd Jul, 2012

Very good article. Will be keeping an ear to the ground.

djgooglemaps

djgooglemaps said on the 4th Jul, 2012

HAS ANYONE GOT THE NEW MAU5TRAP ALBUM FUCK I AM FROTHING JUST WAITING FOR THIS FUCKIN CUNT GEEZ

SANDSHREW

SANDSHREW said on the 4th Jul, 2012


I JUST WANT IT TO ROTATE 90 FUCKING DEGREES

m_xt

m_xt said on the 4th Jul, 2012

when I heard trap I was thinking something totally different.

djgooglemaps

djgooglemaps said on the 4th Jul, 2012

ALSO THIS GUY SPELT IT WRONG ITS ACTUALLY CALLED TARP MUSIC

polite_society

polite_society said on the 5th Jul, 2012

I was hoping it was music for Akbar.

Lithium211

Lithium211 said on the 6th Jul, 2012

So, um, had a listen...now the crying has subsided and I've finally unwound myself from the foetal position I can safely say this is amongst the worst form of music I've ever heard, and I was rickrolled once...

m00nster

m00nster said on the 6th Jul, 2012

Yeah, good call chris90. Take Purity Ring for example, their songs (particularly the drums) are heavily influenced by this style of music. Trap has been a standard thing for a while but it's obviously moved outside of 'Hip-Hop', it's going to get even more popular and ridiculous, so fuck it.

Citizen

Citizen said on the 31st Oct, 2012

Interesting article... but trap ain't new, and has nowt to even do with dubstep.

Apart from the quote in the first para, the link seems tenuous at best.

CircusMidget

CircusMidget said on the 31st Oct, 2012

How can you trap music without mention of Admiral Ackbar? Shame on you ITM

karm

karm said on the 1st Nov, 2012

Trap has been out for ages but thank fuck it is taking over dubstep.

christo93

christo93 said on the 1st Nov, 2012

Damn son! Where'd you find this?!

MRJAH

MRJAH said on the 16th Jan, 2013

https://soundcloud.com/mr_jah/mr-jah-xtreme-antidote-trap-remix

Leelalou

Leelalou said on the 30th Jan, 2013

It's rap, without the vocals.
Oh this scene is going downhill.