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Seen as just another one of EDM’s progression from Dubstep and Moombahton, a new genre is becoming increasingly popular in clubs across America. This style is called “Trap Music” and not only have its origins been developed over the past decade, but its certainly here to stay. Trap music began as a style of hip hop instrumentals that was popularized among American rappers in the early 2000s, and was first made in the late nineties when DJ Screw began to create instrumentals in a “chopped and screwed” style that was slowed-down and meant to be listened to under the influence of codeine mixed with soda or juice (“Sizzurp”). This style of hip hop rose to mainstream recognition over the next 15 years as artists such as Gucci Mane, Lil’ Wayne, and Waka Flocka all began to release rap songs with trap instrumentals. The style officially became known as Trap with T.I.’s 2003 release titled Trap Muzik.
Trap music in rap has become a staple of urban life in America since the early 2000s, but what exactly defines trap music used in rap? And how is it different now?
Trap music, both new and old, relies heavily on the sounds produced by the Roland TR-808 drum machine. The bassy, air-pushing kick drums are what shakes subwoofers when a modern hip hop song is played and rolling tinny snares and high-hats give the song flavor. Put on any mainstream hip-hop song from the past decade and you’ll likely hear what I am referencing.
While the elements of hip-hop trap have remained relatively similar and unchanged since its origins, today’s electronic artists have started creating their own form of trap instrumentals, calling it Trap Music. Like many styles of EDM, Trap is a combination of many other types of genres and sounds. It draws heavily upon hip-hop trap for its low bass drums, usually pitched up and down to create basslines, as well as snares and high-hats, which are sometimes rolled so fast that they produced glitchy sounds. Trap music of today also shows respect to dutch house, and synths such as Afrojack’s are often used to create high pitched melodies and crazy noises that all belong in Trap. Some of the pioneers and more recognized artists creating this form of trap today include Flosstradamus, Baauer, Luminox, Dillon Francis and Diplo, and each has their own take on what the genre is. For example, many of Flosstradamus’ songs incorporate an astounding amount of Hardstyle sounds, such as overdriven kick drums and high-pitched electric noises.
As a form of electronic music, Trap is still an underground style. It will likely never become more popular or recognized than dubstep or house music, but is an interesting look at the inventiveness of producers today. The fact that Trap music has become so popular is just a reminder that hip-hop and electronic music are like siblings in the American music scene, and that it would be hard to imagine one without the other.
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