Emerging Genres: Trap Music


The other day, a friend of mine asked me to describe trap music in one sentence.  This is my answer:  trap music is what happens when you merge the style of crunk with the latest advances in music technology, and I really really dig it. For the last few years, EDM (electronic dance music) has been riding a consistent wave of popularity.  Music festivals like ULTRA and the Governor’s ball (to name a mere few) have thrived in such an environment where their headliners are the same people pumping out tracks that grace the all-powerful iTunes Top 10 -- Swedish House Mafia, anyone?

But every genre/sub-genre has a point where it begins to develop into something that people have the ability to recognize as different, and this is precisely what is beginning to happen with trap music.  I believe trap music is on its way up, and here is why.  Trap music finds its roots in the early 2000s, Southern U.S. hip-hop scene, which was dominated by Crunk artists like Lil’ Jon, the East Side Boys, the Ying Yang Twins, and Soulja Boy.  It’s characterized by soaring synthesizers, extremely refined kick drums that pulse and reverberate at a relatively slow BPM (beats per minute), and groove-addicted hi hats.

url-2Today, though, trap music is heavily influenced by Dubstep, one of the latest, most popular EDM sub-genres to break into the mainstream.  It is markedly different from dubstep though, in that it is generally a little less busy sounding and relies more on straight-forward progressions and catchy hooks than the sometimes complicated song structures of Dubstep (not that I don’t enjoy Dubstep -- I do).  Some of the genre’s top acts include Baauer (the man responsible for the recent Harlem Shake craze), Flosstradamus, Antiserum and Mayhem, and UZ.  Click on their names for a link to a Youtube video of one of their songs.

Want more than the samples above?  Click on some of these links below:



"Dirty" - 12th Planet and Dirtyphonics

"Bangladesh" - Antiserum and Mayhem

"Equinox" - Shackles

"Rollup" - Flosstradamus (Baauer Remix)

"The Horror" - Yellow Claw & Yung Felix

"Make The Ground Shake" - Kilomash



- Michael Davis