This essay will explore the stylistics features of trap music and how popular it has become over the last decade. These stylistic features are noticeable within the instrumentation, the structure of the track, the synthesises used and percussion. The genre has grown a large amount of popularity through many different social media platforms and venues. Social media has helped trap grow as a genre because more and more people would be going out to these venues and then talking about it on social media and spreading the word.
Using examples from different media sources, I will demonstrate background information on EDM as a whole including how it rose to fame, what the stylistic features of trap include and how exactly trap music has grown and became popular. Trap allows their audiences to listen to a range of different sub genres such as Hybrid trap, hard trap and Festival trap. Within trap it is easily identifiable of other sub genres. For example the difference in trap and EDM in stylistic features.
Body: Background information on EDM and how it rose to popularity, What actually are the stylistic features of “Trap”and How trap became popular.
Background information on EDM and how it rose to popularity:
“In the 1980’s, many genres of popular electronic music, including EDM, were constructed by means of electronic instruments such as synthesizers, drum machines and sequencers, and these genres generally emphasised the unique sounds of those instruments, even when mimicking traditional acoustic instrumentation. Electronic Dance music is produced primarily for the purposes of use within a nightclub setting, or in an environment that is centred in dance-based entertainment. The music is largely created for use by disc jockeys and is produced with the intention of it being heard in the context of a continuous DJ set.”(“EDM History | EDMMUSICJUNKIES”, n.d.)
“Think of early electronic music and you’ll probably picture the disco anthems of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Although electronic music didn’t become popular until the mid 1970’s, artists” (Gibson, 2014) like Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Over in Jamaica there was an early start on Dub Music, which all started out in Sound System culture. Dub music had a rhythmic complexity, fragmented lyrical/ melodic segments. It all started when studio engineers Sylvan Morris, King Tubby, Lee Perry and Errol Thompson who all produced reggae-influenced experimental music with electronic sounds. It started out as just playing around with it in their studios then wanted to expand and went that step further and playing these at parties.
What actually are the stylistic features of “Trap”?
“Trap music, a genre filled with a hard attitude that you can feel in the sound of the brass, triangle, triplet hi hats, loud kicks, snappy snares and low end 808 bass samples that are used when composing tracks. The percussion samples of choice when making trap music are usually originate from the Roland TR-808 Drum Machine.” (“What is Trap Music? Trap Music Explained | Run The Trap”, 2013)
These are just some of the hundreds upon thousands of sounds that are used in trap music, elements from different genres sometimes do take place within trap, a really common genre would have to be hard style and moombahton.
Stylistic features of Trap style, Hard Trap Style and Hard Trap:
Within hard style you can always spot it out with its well known hard style kick, this kick is usually hard hitting, distorted, in your face and is full of bass. Although when producers do use these hard style kicks they normally get a very generic kick, pan other one of them left and right, then have a snare after it to help separate it from the 808 kick.
Another hard style element would be the main lead sound heard, which is detuned even more than what it already has been and usually has really long reverb tail on it. This sub genre is called “Hard Trap”. It can sometimes uses a hard style kick to help intensify the drop, sometimes you’ll find that some Hard Trap songs will have a short hard style drop, which then makes the songs genre “Hard Trap Style”.
A great example of both of these together would be: (2:14 – 2:43)
A great example of Hard Trap: (2:32 – 3:00)
An example of Hard Trap Style: (0:09 – 0:30)
Stylistic features of Moombahton and Moombahtap:
Another genre heard a lot within trap is Moombahton, you’ll hear a lot more remixes of trap songs which use this, but some original trap songs do use this a lot. Although this particular sub genre isn’t to well known it can be a bit hard to find it, but it’s called “Moombahtrap”.
“Moombahton is the lovechild of Reggaeton, House music, Dubstep and Dancehall. Spawned by Dave Nada playing Dutch House at 110 bpm to try to get round Djing to a bunch of Reggaeton fans armed only with Dutch House records, its a big melting point of styles and sounds.” (“WHAT IS TRAP AND MOOMBAHTON MUSIC? | MIX ‘N’ SYNC”, 2013)
Within trap you’ll hear the same beat used that you can hear in the original genre Moombahton, within this sequence of beats you hear a spread out bass line, long dramatic build ups, a 2 step pulse with quick little drum fills which have slight variation. On the odd chance you’ll hear a rave type synth which is usually used within House and Progressive House.
An example of Moombahton: (1:06 – 1:27)
Main stream example of Moombahton:
An example of an original that’s Moombahtrap: (0:45 – 1:07)
A remix moombatrap: (1:19 – 1:38)
How trap became popular:
“Although this new found hype towards trap music, or EDM Trap Music as some may call it, has recently emerged, there is a history behind the origin of the Trap genre that is all but new. Trap music fist emerged coming primarily from the south, a genre filled with a hard attitude that you can feel in the sound. When speaking of the “originators” in the trap music game, southern rappers like Waka Flocka Flame, Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, come to mind. A number of stylistic offshoots of trap developed, which in the latter half of 2012 gained a rise in viral popularity and made a noticeable impact on dance music.” (“What is Trap Music? Trap Music Explained | Run The Trap”, 2013)
Some of today’s most popular trap producers such as RL Grime, Carnage, Flosstradamus, Ookat, Diplo, Oh Snap and Bauuer to name a few. America was where trap started out, it was called “the new moombahton” and even “the new dubstep”, this was all because these 2 genres were fresh to people in America at the time. But it has gone in a completely different direction taking over so many countries having nightclubs and festivals strictly playing trap. Moombahton and trap were considered to be apart of post dubstep movement, this was only because back in 2010 when trap was being recognised a lot more by a lot more people it did quiet have a lot of similarities compared to other genres such as dubstep in terms of synthesis work and percussion.
Complexity in the drums
“The drums in trap music leave a lot of room for experimentation. We’ve already begun to see a departure from the classic 808 samples that were ubiquitous among early trap hits and more frequently the bass-lines are becoming decoupled from the kicks.” (Greenfield, 2013)
Mixing up the melody
“Trap music has expanded has been the diversification of the melody within the genre. Once dominated by simple one or two-note progressions, trap music has become more diverse and melodic, even romantic and soulful at times.” (Greenfield, 2013)
“Damn son, where’d you find this?”
“Vocals and samples have been key components of trap music even before we started referring to it as such and they’re likely to remain key components as the genre continues to mature. Sampling allows producers to make references to pop culture, thus increasing the relevance of their music. We’ve even seen certain samples become part of pop culture on their own merit. And how many ridiculously “TURNT” trap remixes have you heard already? There always seems to be room for one more, doesn’t there? Remixing allows trap music to blend with other genres while simultaneously gaining popularity with outlier groups who may not otherwise be exposed to the genre.” (Greenfield, 2013)
In conclusion, there is a lot stylistics features of trap music, I also talked how popular trap has become over the last decade. In this essay I explored background information on EDM and how it rose to popularity, what actually are the stylistic features of “Trap”and how trap became popular. I have used media to help explain my theories and to also help explain to people who may lack knowledge of EDM in general. In relation to my thesis statement “Social media has helped trap grow as a genre.” Social media has done a large part of helping expand the genre and making it what it is today how how noticeable it is to anyone that may be fresh to EDM.
Gibson, N. (2014). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. Blog.udemy.com. Retrieved 2 May 2017, from https://blog.udemy.com/history-of-electronic-music/
EDM History | EDMMUSICJUNKIES. Edmmusicjunkies.com. Retrieved 2 May 2017, from http://edmmusicjunkies.com/?page_id=31
What is Trap Music? Trap Music Explained | Run The Trap. (2013). Run The Trap: The Best EDM, Hip Hop & Trap Music. Retrieved 28 April 2017, from http://runthetrap.com/what-is-trap-music/
WHAT IS TRAP AND MOOMBAHTON MUSIC? | MIX ‘N’ SYNC. (2013). Mixnsync.com. Retrieved 28 April 2017, from http://www.mixnsync.com/what-is-trap-and-moombahton-music/
Greenfield, J. (2013). Trap Evolved: The Future of Trap Music | Run The Trap. Run The Trap: The Best EDM, Hip Hop & Trap Music. Retrieved 2 May 2017, from http://runthetrap.com/2013/05/22/future-of-trap-music-trap-evolved/