CIU Essay, 110.4, Creative Media Essay


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/


Mainstream and cultural appropriation within Music

What makes something mainstream?

“Mainstream is what’s the new trend. when one “style” gets old, a new one is reborn, a mainstream person is someone who jumps from trend to trend so that they fit in with the rest of the crowd. Mainstream is being what society thinks you should be and look like.” (Pormann, 2003)

Trending mainstream

Kanye West selling shirts that have rips in it and making it a worldwide fashion trend


A musical example of this is:

When someone plays a new hit song then when someone else plays that same song a few months later, you’ll hear that it’s old, overplayed and, outdated.


What is cultural appropriation?

The act of taking or using things from another culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture (Blatchford, 2018).

Cultural Appropriation- “Dark Horse”

Katy Perry released her music video for “Dark Horse” dressed in Egyptian themed clothing and although she’s not Egyptian nor does the song have anything to do with it, it still can be found offensive to some.

Although there are many other times that Katy Perry has had cultural appropriation issues, she formally came out and said that she never knew about what it was until someone had explained to her why wearing her hair the way she did in the music video “This is how we do” or why her outfit for the AMA’s in 2013 was classified as “racist”.

“I’ve made several mistakes. Having a hard conversation with one of my empowered angels, Cleo [Wade, her stylist], about why I can’t wear my hair that way, or what is the history behind wearing the hair that way. And she told me about the power in black women’s hair and how beautiful it is, and the struggle. And I listened, and I heard and I didn’t know.” (Woodward, 2017)

Watch the interview here: http://www.nme.com/news/music/katy-perry-apologises-cultural-appropriation-2087931

Katy Perry’s Backlash

It is obvious that Cultural Appropriation has been showcased throughout these 2 examples and many more within a mainstream pop culture. Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” music video was released in 2014 and has racked in 2.2 billion views to date. As a pop star, that’s pretty successful.

However following the video she was criticised for not taking the time to fully understand and appreciate a particular culture. Katy Perry may genuinely love hip-hop, drag culture, Japanese culture, Egyptian culture, and Hinduism but there is no doubt she has been accused of not taking time to understand the deeper meanings and respect of these cultures (Mechanic, 2017).

People have also criticised the pop singer for simply for taking what she wants from various cultures, sugar coating it with pop rhythms and rhymes, and creating a Billboard hit. Without truly understanding the cultures she is borrowing from, she is exploiting them for profit and nothing else. She is not helping to promote cultural understanding or honouring the cultures she borrows from in any way (Castro, 2017).

Cultural Appropriation- “Bounce”

Iggy Azalea released her song “Bounce” in 2013 and was seen dressed in a range of traditional Indian and Bollywood inspired outfits as well as incorporating Bollywood style dance moves throughout the music video. Iggy Azalea is a rap artist and does not produce Indian style music so when incorporating these outfits and dance moves to a more pop style song it was seen as very offensive to the culture.

Iggy herself claimed that she wanted to be traditional and respectful to the culture when creating the video but it did gain her some negative attention.

Iggy Azalea’s Backlash

Many did take offence to Iggy Azalea’s video as they saw it as ignorant and offensive to the traditional Indian culture. Much like Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” people also saw this as disrespectful and only a way to gain attention and popularity for the Aussie rapper.

Considering this was Iggy’s 2nd single release it was extremely risky for the artist as she did receive a wide range of offended backlash towards the video although she claimed:

“The idea behind (filming in India) is basically seeing all the big-budget old videos, and seeing how the landscape in the last few years has changed and has become so do it yourself, there;s something great about those videos because their fantasy and escapism and that’s what music’s supposed to be, an escape from your life” (Iggy Azalea Hardknock TV Interview, 2013).


Cultural appropriation is an extremely important factor, especially within mainstream media. Whether you are a pop icon creating a music video or writing lyrics to a song there are and should be boundaries that can decrease the risk of something popular being released and receive major backlash for it whilst also offend several different audiences due to cultural appropriation. Many cultures exist and should not be utilised it to gain attention across mainstream media but instead understood by the artists and reconsidering their creative ideas before they go and release something to a wide range of audiences.


Castro, V. (2017). diversitycouncil. [online] diversitycouncil. Available at: https://www.diversitycouncil.org/single-post/2017/05/30/The-Dark-Horse-of-Cultural-Appreciation [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].

Mechanic, J. (2017). Katy Perry’s Cultural Appropriation Meat Grinder. [online] HuffPost. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/examining-katy-perrys-cultural-appropriation-meat_us_592464ebe4b0e8f558bb2a3a [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].

Pormann, E. (2003). Urban Dictionary: Mainstream. [online] Urban Dictionary. Available at: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mainstream [Accessed 27 Feb. 2018].

Woodward, E. (2017). Katy Perry Addressed Her Cultural Appropriation And Things Escalated. [online] BuzzFeed. Available at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/elliewoodward/katy-perry-addressed-cultural-appropriation-and-people-have?utm_term=.unXkJ8YPV#.trjXWrqlm [Accessed 27 Feb. 2018].


CIU 212 Artistic Merit Atashi

The artistic merit for my animation is something to with the future of artificial intelligence and that’s what I’m researching because I don’t know that too well

What is Social Exclusion?

Social exclusion is sometimes mentioned is known for individuals being unable to be a part of a social, political or cultural life. This is done by the person themselves or by a group of people who may do it deliberately to make someone feel excluded out of activities.

“Social exclusion is a form of discrimination. It occurs when people are wholly or partially excluded from participating in the economic, social and political life of their community, based on their belonging to a certain social class, category or group.

The three features of social exclusion

Social exclusion as a concept has three distinguishable features:

  1. It involves culturally-defined social categories, with associated cultural perceptions, values and norms that shape social interaction.
  2. It is embedded in social relations.
  3. It affects people’s rights and entitlements, denying them the opportunities they need to attain and maintain a universally acceptable standard of living and to fulfill their potential.” (Pacsindia.org, n.d.)

“Social exclusion is a complex and multi-dimensional process. It involves the lack or denial of resources, rights, goods and services, and the inability to participate in the normal relationships and activities, available to the majority of people in a society, whether in economic, social, cultural or political arenas. It affects both the quality of life of individuals and the equity and cohesion of society as a whole” (Un.org, 2016)




Pacsindia.org. (n.d.). What is Social Exclusion?. [online] Available at: http://www.pacsindia.org/about_pacs/what-is-social-exclusion [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

Un.org. (2016). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/rwss/2016/chapter1.pdf [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

CIU 212 A break down of my sketch track

For my sketch track, the references I found were really dark and simple sort of horror but not to horror sounds that would make someone feel scared or worried as the music gets happier by the end of it.

I started off by making a simple bass sound with some movement in it so people wearing headphones can listen and it feels like as the game is moving so is the music, to create the sound I simply used Serum a wave table synthesis and used the LFOs to make the first oscillator which is a sine wave move, I then used a sawtooth wave and ran some frequency modulation, so the sound was being routed through oscillator A and I had more control over the sound and I was able to try different warp modes for oscillator B to make something unique and different. I then used a Miscellaneous filter a Combs filter to create a sort of darker and more eerie sound, with some effects within Serum I simply used a multiband compressor and to make the sound have some more harmonics and be able to have control over those harmonics by being able to turn down the low end and the highs a bit before going onto using the stock Ableton EQ which I simply did a bit of ducking around the highs.

For the second layer, I have used a plugin called Sinnah, I’m not familiar with this plugin but I was able to find a tutorial I found useful and from there started creating something different with it, this isn’t a wavetable synthesis but to the best of my knowledge, I have 3 oscillators each running into one master knob which controls the overall volume of the oscillator. From there I have 5 voicings on all three oscillators, I have a slow attack, long decay and sustain and a fast release so there aren’t any sounds feeding back if the sound was going to be looped. For effects, there’s an EQ cutting out everything below 178 Hz, a small amount of phase and a long reverb tail which is being automated to rise then cut off completely once the midi note has finished playing. Altogether the sound is creating yet another dark sound but with more harmonics so it’s not causing any phasing issues with the first sound.

My third layer is another tutorial I found using Sinnah, but instead of it being a low type of sound it’s a high pitch sound that has some modulation happening to it making the sound start from 2 octaves down from what’s being played and is being modulated to go up 4 octaves before the midi note finishes. The same oscillator work is being done on this patch but instead, I have only 2 voicings happening. Effects wise I only have the EQ to cut out everything below 200 Hz and a bit of a dip in the high end. I have a short reverb tale as well to ensure it doesn’t last too long and doesn’t drown the sound and ruin it since it works so well for its purpose.

And finally for my 4th sound for now, I have used Serum again to create a wind sound using a wavetable I created with a lot of different harmonics and peaks in it to make it sound unique, I have done some Frequency modulation from oscillator A to the noise oscillator where I have pink noise running through it. From there I have used a macro and on the macros it’s controlling 19 different knobs to help make the sound what it is, some of the most important sounds that the macro is connected to is the Wavetable position, Frequency modulation to the noise, the drive on the filter within Serum, and the frequency and Q gain on the EQ to make some frequencies be cut and some to be dipped and some to be opened up when the macro is turned, there is a lot more going on but it’s only very small fine details which don’t make all that much difference to the sound. Altogether the macro is being automated to open up the sound and create a wind type sound and this is only being done when there’s a change in scene or movement happening in a scene.

These are the sounds I have so far I hope to be able to create the foley sounds and be able to easily mix them in amongst these sounds without losing the song in the background, Hopefully just some simple sidechain compression on the music from the foley will do the trick and only duck it slightly but if it’s a continuous sound like footsteps I won’t bother but if it’s more random noises, making sure those noises are dominant over the music will draw the players attention.

CIU 212 Foley recording footsteps

Research into foley recording footsteps:

“You will need many kinds of well-worn shoes, a trip to the Salvation Army store will yield many treasures (cowboy boots, pumps, hard and soft-soled shoes) at a reasonable price. You may need to ‘gaff tape’ any squeaky or loose ornamental bits so they don’t clutter the sound of the steps; remember you are trying to record a clean, rich sounding footstep and it doesn’t matter what the shoe looks like. You will also need several surfaces such as wood, concrete, metal, and gravel.

The microphone should be placed about three feet in front of the Foley Artist when the scene is outdoors and placed six to ten feet away when the scene is indoors. This technique allows the mic to breathe and provides a roomy sound for indoor vs. a tight sound for outdoors.” (Marblehead.net, n.d.)

Microphone selection is important when it comes to making foley “fit” with audio recorded from the location. For indoor scenes, a Neumann KM185, Oktava MK-012 or any hyper-cardioid condenser mic will capture good audio.

When matching foley for an outdoor scene, using a shotgun microphone similar to what is used on location shoots is a great way to make the audience feel as though the footsteps were actually recorded there.



Marblehead.net. (n.d.). The Art of Foley – Feet. [online] Available at: http://www.marblehead.net/foley/feet.html [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

Final update

As it’s now the end of week 12 when everything is due and making sure everything is uploaded correctly and what not I had to change a few things with my projects to help make them a suitable submission instead of just something crappy and rushed which I hate doing.

Glitch hop EP is now a single track, I hope to be able to fix up this track after submission so it sounds good to me since it was rushed and last minute.

The cover art I had made up for my DnB EP by Rebekah was used as the cover art for my glitch hop track and another one is being made as we talk but won’t be done in time to be a part of a full submission, but I didn’t want to have wasted the designers time making the first one so used it  wisely and appropriately.

I was originally going to have 3 DnB tracks but ended up doing 2.

The visuals for my DnB tracks are being finished and will be in, in time for submission but I hope to be able to send him another version of the track once feedback has been applied and then I’ll upload it to my Facebook, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp.

The Jersey Club Bootleg pack all went to plan and I was even able to add another bootleg in time as well as make the cover art myself.

Jackie Chan, I got in contact with the animator and he never got back to me.


Revise production process through continuous reflection of aesthetic outcomes

On my DnB tracks, I have been using my reference tracks as a guide for what kind of bass I could try using in the track, for example, when I was finding a reference track I decided on a couple of things, I wanted the songs to have a very low and dark tone bass in them just to give me the chance to experiment and try something new. As well as this I was listening to the types of drums the other producer has used or made, and listening for stuff like is it a mid-range type kick or is it a very low-end type kick layered on top of something a bit more dynamics to make it have a little bit more life. The same goes with my snare when trying to find a good snare I was listening to the snare in my reference track on loop and listening for what sort of dynamics it has, this technique helped me with all my instruments, but when it came to the basses I was simply able to hear that it was a very low lying bass and didn’t have many dynamics in it, but after giving it a crack a few times at creating it and trying different wavetables in Serum I was able to get an idea down and it was kind of like the base of the main basses you hear throughout the track, I simply done all the LFO work in one Serum then duplicated it then in that Serum I changed the wavetable and the effects slightly to still have the same texture and sound movement but different sound.

For my sub bass I simply duplicate the main bass and turned off the other oscillators and used the sub within Serum and put on any important LFO that may affect the volume of anything, as well as this you can do any post-processing separately, and not have to worry about your sub bass being too low in the mix. I noticed this technique one time in another track where the sub-bass would follow the main bass and would sound a lot cleaner and I thought I’d try it this way and ever since it has worked in all my tracks, including when I did my commercial I still used this trick to help ensure all my basses had a nice clean sub bass underneath them that I had a lot more control over.

By using these techniques I feel like it work best in my genres since there are a lot of moving sounds and the sub-bass also needs to be moving as well with these sounds so everything fits nicely in the mix and nothing sounds out of time and ruin the whole track, a good example of a bass and a sub-bass moving with each other is a lot of riddim tracks, the bass will have a short attack and a short release and the producer will simply duplicate the bass and do what I mentioned before and only use the sub-bass oscillator within that plug-in to create movement and keep the track flowing.



Distance travelled

Sound design: DnB sounds

I was in need if something to help fill out some blank spots in one of my DnB tracks, and I was watching tutorials on other sounds that I could possibly try, I found this one and then while making it I suddenly managed to come up with the perfect bass that would work well with the sound, but I followed the tutorial and then from there managed to change the wavetables and mess around with different effects as well as using different shaped LFOs to get different textures out of the sound and what was being modulated.

Mixing techniques:

I learned this good tip to help make my kick and snare pop out a lot more on my track, it pretty much works as a sidechain compressor but it’s pre-active meaning it’ll duck everything before the kick or snare hits, I used this technique on my DnB songs and I have noticed a very big difference in the track because of this little trick. I’ve written a more detailed blog here have a read of it and it’ll explain it more as well as give you an example of the track.


Gimp is a free program similar to Photoshop that I downloaded and wanted to teach myself the basics of graphic design and to be able to create my own cover art for my JerseyClub bootleg & edit pack. I simply used my knowledge from photoshop which I used to use a lot in school to photoshop peoples faces onto other peoples bodies or animals but that’s not important, I started out by loading my logo that I had made up back in tri 1 and simply found a nice appealing colour and added the text I wanted, I did have to go through about 20 different fonts to find one that suited my logo and the theme I was after spent a bit of time researching into how to get the text the same size since I didn’t want all my added text to be just in one corner, I then simply had a bit of a play around with some different colour settings till I found the right one and yeah it’s ready to go.

I will, however, look for some info on what the right size is for Soundcloud artwork just so the image isn’t too big or too small.

Jersey Club artwork.png