|Photo by: Knowyourmeme.com|
Every year a new genre of electronic dance music pervades the Beatport charts. This genre shows up in the sets of many DJs and many producers see it as a new challenge. In 2010, it was dubstep and heavy bass music. In 2011, it was moombahton. And in 2012, it is "trap" that is the sweet nectar of electronic dance music lovers.
At first listen, trap might throw listeners off. One may be taken aback by the lack of heavy synths or bass wobbles that he or she is accustomed to in dance music. Hell, one may not think it's dance music at all and rather hear some kind of instrumental hip hop. That's actually pretty accurate, considering that “real trap music” has its roots in southern rap and crunk music.
Let’s go back to 2003. Trap music originated from experimentation with quick, crisp snare drums and hi-hat parts layered with cut-up 808 drums by southern hip hop producers. Vocals were usually in a “chopped 'n’ screwed” style, and much of the lyrical content detailed selling drugs. Trap originally referred to the location where drug deals take place, referenced in Yung Joc’s 2003 song “It’s Goin’ Down” when he raps, “Meet me in the trap, it's goin' down.”
Within the past year, trap has morphed and mutated itself to adapt to the EDM boom of recent years. Dutch house synths have been added, as well as elements of dubstep that have given the genre a new look. Because of this transformation, many producers have begun hopping on the trap bandwagon.
“All of these producers seem to be putting their own twists on the genre, as well as incorporating elements of the style into other genres of electronic,” says Ohio electronic producer Vena Cava.
New dubstep songs are starting to incorporate more real-sounding snares and hi-hat parts. The bass remains, but dubstep bass has also been copied into trap to form a subgenre called “trapstep.” Famed dubstep artists like Flux Pavilion, HULK and Big Chocolate are all working to produce a love child of the two genres.
Flosstradamus has been working with trap for some time now, and the recent interest in the genre has pushed the two Chicago-based DJs into the limelight. The duo kicked off 2012 with only 6,000 Facebook likes, and has now surpassed 51,000.
Diplo is more of a household name when it comes to electronic music. The producer gained fame through his work for the likes of M.I.A. and Snoop Dogg. While many of his recent production work falls under the style of moombahton, Diplo still makes some hip hop-heavy music with the characteristic elements that define trap.
Baauer produces music closely-related to original trap. He strays from the distorted effects of modern trap but still keeps strong synths in his arsenal. Like Flosstradamus, Baauer has been sneaking his name onto large-scale EDM festivals and events.
What can be attributed to the rise of trap music? First of all, combining hip hop and dubstep is a recipe for pure gold. Because there is such a large audience for each genre, listeners will be able to easily latch on to both originals and remixes. Trap provides an excellent outlet for experimentation by bedroom and large-scale producers alike.
Because trap is already in double-time, the music is club-ready and fun to dance to. The genre is malleable, too. When it has elements of glitch and house, it is great for an outdoor festival. However, when the bass is heavy and the vocals are a bit dirty, the music is perfect for a college house party. Across the globe, DJs are tossing a few of the more popular trap tracks into their sets and are seeing a great response from new listeners and other “trap-a-holics.”
Trap doesn’t seem to be peaking and probably won’t any time soon--as long as it isn't pushed down listeners throats. The genre has already popped and all it needs to do now is grow on its own.
Trap is the genre of electronic dance music that took the world by storm in 2012. Will it fizzle out in a few months, or will it sustain itself for years to come?
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