It’s A Trap!

By Owen Hoke ‘16

Trap music has been around for many years now, but it has only gained an audience within the recent years with the advancement of EDM trap. EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music, and includes genres such as Electro, Dubstep, and House. However, where does it originate and what actually qualifies to make Trap?

Gucci Mane performing. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Gucci Mane performing. (Photo: Wikipedia)

In the 1990s, the word “Trap” was used frequently in Atlanta, Georgia for places where drug deals would occur and how it was difficult to escape the lifestyle. Eventually, rappers that would constantly rap about dealing drugs would be referred to as “Trap Rappers.” In the early 2000s, trap also emerged by the success of albums and singles released at the time. In 2003, T.I.’s second studio album, “Trap Muzik,” was a huge success in the hip hop community, selling over 2.1 million copies. Shortly after, in 2005, Young Jeezy released his album, “Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation.” These were all successes not only for the genre of Hip Hop, but Trap.

As the years progressed, Trap started developing with different styles of electronic elements used in order to make the songs more unique and interesting. This was most notable in 2012 with the release of Flosstradamus’ remix of the song “Original Don” by Major Lazer.  After this song became noticed by the music community, plenty of artists started incorporating electronic developments into trap, a few examples of artists being TNGHT, RL Grime, and Baauer.

Trap can be identified by it’s loud and fast paced characteristics such as melodic synthesizers, heavy 808 bass kicks, and triple timed hi-hat and snare hits. Most of these sounds are computer generated and stay at a rate of 70 BPM (beats per minute).

The TR Roland 808 Drum machine was manufactured in 1981 creating many different unique drum kit sounds. Since these are no longer on the market, music producers most likely use 808 samples. This machine was responsible for starting the generated drum samples and sounds such as Low bass Kicks to the cracks of snare hits.

Max Fogelstrom ‘17, also known as Storm PDX, has been producing for 3 years now. In an interview with CatlinSpeak he said, “I think that Trap as a whole is a very new genre of music in the sense that it has evolved in the past 3 years, and really has grown into this mainstream sound.”

Artists like Flosstradamus, Baauer, and UZ. “I think that UZ had and still has a unique style that really defines Trap,” says Fogelstrom. Along with it’s gritty upbeat sound and tempo, famous hip hop artists such as, Waka Flocka Flame, Rae Sremmurd, and Yung Thug tend to feature Trap elements in their songs. This can also bring massive amounts of attention to trap especially if someone’s favorite rapper makes an appearance.

In 2013, a widely known trap song, “Harlem Shake,” by Baauer was turned into an Internet meme with videos of people dancing hysterically at the bizarre sounding drop for briefly 30 seconds. These videos were soon all over the internet with even the Miami Heat doing their own version. This publicity benefitted the genre of trap greatly and helped the song reach number 1 on Billboard Hot 100.

There are many more factors that play in the enjoyment of trap music, from the loud heavy hitting sound, to it’s presence in dance music. No matter what the appeal is for so many music lovers around the world, Trap is still a growing genre that will be sticking around for quite some time in the music industry.