A Beginner's Guide to Trap Music
Unless you haven't switched the radio on in the last few months you would have come across the re-emerging trend for 'trap' music. Love it or hate it, this article is going to give you a quick guide to trap. So what is it? Where has it come from? And where can I hear some examples?
What is it? Trap music originally emerged in the early 1990s in the southern United States. As a genre it is generally typified by aggressive lyrical content. Its instrumentals are driven by sounds from Roland's TR-808 drum machine, deep bass drums and crisp, grimy snares with super dry hi-hats in double or triple time and sometimes greater subdivisions. Also, layered synthesizers and cinematic strings are involved in trap production. Typically trap beats sit around 140 BPM in tempo. Iconic trap producers include Lex Luger, Zaytoven and Young Chop.
Trap music emerged as a recognised genre during the early 2000s with Southern rappers, T.I, Young Jeezy and Rick Ross providing crossover hits that introduced trap's sound into the mainstream.
Rick Ross - Hustlin'
Since 2012 a new wave of producers and DJs have been increasingly incorporating elements of trap into their music. The new “trap music movement” or “EDM Trap” genre that is evolving has seen the use of techno, dub, and dutch house like sounds incorporated with the inclusion of the original Roland TR-808 drum samples and vocal samples used by the originators Fetty Wap's Trap Queen and My Way have received consistent airplay and chart success this year. Prominent non hip-hop artists that have utilized elements of the trap sound include Beyonce on her track Drunk in Love and Katy Perry's nod to trap in Dark Horse.
Fetty Wap – Trap Queen
Beyonce ft Jay Z – Drunk in Love
It is thought trap music is so named because of its reference to life on the streets, poverty, hardship and violence in the 'trap'. In this context 'trap' refers to a place where drug deals are made and how difficult it is to escape this kind of lifestyle. This usage is believed to have originated in Atlanta, Georgia with rappers such as Outkast, Cool Breeze and Ghetto Mafia.