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Trap Music

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Trap music is a style of Hip-Hop originated in Atlanta, Georgia, that has gained large popularity over 2012 and 2013. Trap music started as an emergent style in southern rap characterized by heavy use of the Roland TR-808 drum machine (particularly its spare beats, sharp snare hits, and deep bass notes) and rhymes about the southern trap lifestyle, of which the genre is named for. The "trap" as it were refers to the drug-dealing lifestyle and the "trap" it can lead to if one isn't careful. Since the main appeal is the beat and vibe the song generates, lyrics are often thematic as a result, featuring sexism (misogyny mainly coming from the male rappers), what some view as "glorified violence" (which would then turn the genre towards horrorcore), drug dealing and use, frequent swearing (often to the point of entering Cluster F-Bomb territory), and a heavy use of AAVE. Because of the latter point, some detractors view the lyrics as having "loads and loads of grammatical inaccuracies," a highly controversial remark given AAVE's roots in the slave trade and the fact that most trap musicians hail from former slave states. Though a lot of trap music is upbeat and can be considered "turn up" or party music, all of this can also create a dark, slightly abrasive, and hedonistic vibe.

While the Ur Examples are from different parts of the southern United States (Such as Houston's UGK, and Memphis' Three 6 Mafia), the major players of trap music such as Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, T.I. and Young Jeezy are all from Atlanta, with other contributors to the genre being from Miami, like Trick Daddy, or the 3rd Ward in Louisiana, like TRU, Lil Wayne and Master P. Many newcomers to the genre are also from Atlanta, New York, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, the Carolinas and various other cities in the Midwest. Artists like UGK and Texas rappers also added to the genre in the early 2000's. Many classic Hip-hop heads were against the genre, calling it dumb club music with gratuitous, bonehead lyrics. Defenders state that the the "simplicity" is the appeal. In short, it's to the 2010s as Crunk and snap were to the 2000s.

Trap music peaked in 2017 with Migos hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Bad and Boujee", thanks to a meme involving opening line "Rain drop, drop top". This opened the floodgates for "Boujee" collaborator Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, Lil Yachty and Lil Pump. This new generation of trap artists is characterized by their use of SoundCloud as a streaming platform, the triplet flow popularized by Migos and the interweaving of trap lyrics meme culture. These traits set them apart from earlier contemporaries. By 2019, trap music had become mainstream, with many trap artists having no. 1 hit singles and top 10 success, a shocking feat for a genre that basically had a cult following only a few years prior.

Examples of trap rappers include:

Some major rappers like Kanye West, Nicki Minaj and J. Cole also have experimented with trap style music - and Eminem released an entire album parodying the style - but they are not considered actual members of the genre.

Trap producers have also gotten some notice, some names you'll come across are:

  • 808 Mafia (generally considered to be the popularizers of the trap sound, they are most associated with Waka Flocka Flame)
  • araabMUZIK (most associated with Joe Budden and Azealia Banks)
  • Baauer (most famous for "Harlem Shake")
  • DJ Toomp (Trope Maker, most associated with T.I.
  • DJ Esco (most associated with Future)
  • DJ Khaled (most associated with Ace Hood, as well as being famous for his internet persona)
  • DJ Mustard (most associated with YG)
  • DJ Snake (most famous for "Turn Down For What")
  • Flosstradamus (most famous for their productions with Lil Jon and Waka Flocka Flame)
  • Kayzo (mixes trap with Hardstyle and Dubstep)
  • Kenny Beats (also hosts The Cave on YouTube)
  • Lex Luger
  • Mike Will Made It (most famous for producing Miley Cyrus's "We Can't Stop" and other artists, such as Beyoncé, but most recently, Rae Sremmurd.)
  • Metro Boomin (mostly associated with Travis Scott, 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert and Future)
  • Murda Beatz (most associated with Gucci Mane and Travis Scott)
  • Nick Mira (also a YouTuber, most associated with Juice WRLD)
  • Ronny J (also a rapper, most associated with Denzel Curry and Smokepurpp)
  • Pi'erre Bourne (also a rapper, most famous for producing "Magnolia" by Playboi Carti)
  • Take a Daytrip (most associated with Lil Nas X, Sheck Wes, Travis Scott and Juice WRLD)
  • TM88
  • Young Chop (most famous for producing Chief Keef)
  • Zaytoven (often associated with Migos, Future, and Lil Uzi Vert)