Today’s post is all about a love of mine; deep dirty Trap Music.
What Is Trap Music?
Trap is a sub-genre of hip-hop music which emerged in the early 90’s from America’s South. It is usually characterised by the bass of a heavy 808 Drum with distinctive and pitched vocals, layered with double time and triple time cymbals and often topped with synthesisers, ‘cinematic’ strings and typically aggressive lyrical content. It’s aggressive nature comes from the genre’s roots; the term “Trap” is used to describe poverty-stricken areas in the South where crime was rife, these areas were called “traps” because of how difficult people found it to leave or escape. Nowadays mainstream Trap has more positive content mostly focusing on the club scene, money and fame.
Three 6 Mafia
For years I have had a great appreciation for this genre of music. I first came across Trap after watching Memphis trio Three 6 Mafia perform their hit It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp at the 2006 Oscar Academy Awards (written for the film Hustle & Flow). They subsequently won the award for Best Original Song and became the first Dirty South/Trap artists to win an Oscar – a ground-breaking moment for Hip Hop.
In my eyes, that win paved the way for Trap Artists into the mainstream, Three 6 Mafia then went on to make an incredible trap-inspired song with one of the biggest mainstream artists in the world, Justin Timberlake, entitled Chop Me Up from his album FutureSex/LoveSounds.
Beyoncé Sets Trap Free
In 2009 Beyoncé released the track Diva, which encompasses subtle elements of trap music. Queen B then decided to go fully trap with a number of tracks on her album Beyoncé released in 2014, more notably with her big hit 7/11 (which I will never tire of). I shrieked when I first heard this song; finally Beyoncé – a huge mainstream artist – was going all Dirty South on us and providing us with beats from her native Texas. As soon as I heard this I knew that Trap would become more popular than ever.
Rihanna Wants Her Money Back, Trap Style.
As anticipated, Beyoncé’s releasing of Trap has had a domino effect on other mainstream artists including the likes of Rihanna. Unlike Beyoncé’s lighter more up-beat lyrical content in 7/11, Rihanna’s latest hit Bitch Better Have My Money is as dark and aggressive as original trap music, given away by the song’s title. The explicit nature of the song is amplified in the song’s feature-style music video (below) which Rihanna directed herself.
If Beyoncé is the Queen of new-age Trap, Fetty Wap is the King. His song Trap Queen is infectious to say the least. I literally hear it everywhere and it never seems to get old. New Jersey born artist Fetty has risen to global fame with his hit song aptly named Trap Queen, officially released late last year but has gained more recognition in the summer of 2015.
The infectious nature of the song lends itself to Fetty’s melodic vocals and inoffensive rap style. The artist has also garnered significant attention due to his distinctive look; Fetty lost an eye to Glaucoma at a young age and refuses to wear an artificial eye as it makes him “look like everyone else”. Rumours circulated that he had lost it to a gun shot, however the truth is clearly not as scandalous.
I have so much love for baby-faced Trap fusion artist Makonnen Sheran, better known by his stage name ILoveMakonnen. Hot New Hip Hop described Grammy-nominated ILoveMakonnen as a melange of “bedroom pop and Atlanta trap”, a style that has come about as a result of his LA/Atlanta cross-city upbringing.
ILoveMakonnen shot to fame after Canadian Hip Hop artist Drake jumped on his track Club Goin’ Up On A Tuesday which was simply renamed Tuesday following the collaboration. Another infectious track which lends its popularity to Makonnen’s signature psychedelic vocals and trippy melody. My other favourites from this artist include his tracks Swerve and Look At Wrist which features fellow Atlanta rapper Father. In my opinion, ILoveMakonnen is the future of music. Big shout, but I have faith.
Other artists to have popularised Trap in 2015 include artists such as Kanye West on his single All Day, Drake – who has embraced his Memphis origins on his album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and Trey Songz on his song Foreign. 2015 has been a progressive year for music and the shift of Trap out of the deep, murky depths of the South and into the Global mainstream limelight is indicative of this progression.
Keep the love of Trap alive! Lou x