What is a trap rapper
Trap music in hip-hop
What is trap A definition
Trap has been a new style of hip-hop since the mid-2010s, which is characterized above all by its leaned flow, its minimalist beats and its increasing melody. This variety of rap stands out above all with its detached sound and, in contrast to previous subgenres, is less defined by its brutal gangster attitude. The fact that the trend is still young makes it easy to forget that the concept of the trap has a much longer history behind it. We trace the genesis of a musical genre.
Trap Music since the 90s: Confusion and Pioneering Spirit
When viewed in isolation, the term “trap” does not initially designate a specific musical genre, but primarily a thematic orientation. The slang word in the US drug scene describes the place where deals take place. Accordingly, in the 90s, those who use appropriate topics in their texts are considered to be trap rappers.
The US hip-hop duo UGK became an early offshoot with their EP "Cocaine In The Back Of The Ride", which was released in 1992. It was only with the dawn of the 2000s that trap actually established itself as a genre term, the guidelines of which were still based primarily on the thematic basis.
Atlanta rapper T.I. publishes his album "Trap Muzik" in 2003, the title of which makes a pioneering claim extremely clear. Ten years later, T.I. in an interview that he invented trap - and is annoyed about the lack of recognition of it.
Trap as a genre
Musically the whole thing is still difficult to limit. In online music forums, hip-hop fans discuss the differences between trap and gangster rap page by page, but can hardly make better arguments than that they like the beats of one side better than the other.
Some think that the term trap actually only refers to those rappers who come from the southern United States. Others think that there is hardly any difference between the two directions. The confusion becomes perfect when a genre of electronic dance music enters the scene in the early 2010s, which is also called trap, but can hardly be associated with the hip-hop artists of the early 2000s.
The discussion is curious, but exemplifies the confusing genesis of many genre terms that are always formed in the tension between the press, artists and the public.
Mid-2010s: The musical establishment of the trap
Now the most astonishing development in this history: In the middle of the 2010s, American rappers break new ground and establish a fresh sound that actually means a tonal conciseness for Trap.
Above all, the flow of the new rap wave differs significantly from the sound of previous hip-hop decades. New artists like Lil Yachty or 6ix9ine no longer rely on a routinely flowing style in their parts, but instead emphasize the syllables of their lines in concise, twitching staccato pulses.
The word interjections between the verses, called “Adlibs”, are becoming increasingly important, artificial words such as “Scurr” or Lil Pumps “Esskeetit” are becoming conceptual symbols for the new trap wave. The beats of the genre are becoming more technical in keeping with the spirit of the times, and are more characterized by sublime minimalism than maximized epic. The mainstream successes of Drake can certainly be seen as an influence here, although songs like “Hotline Bling” are still a bit removed from the trap sound of the late 2010s.
Trap Music: Musically exciting, lyrically redundant?
The new style does not meet with approval everywhere. While the early term trap was legitimized primarily through its content orientation, the new wave is generating controversy primarily through its content redundancy.
Lil Pumps "Gucci Gang" becomes a cult hit and can even be seen as a transfer of the original trap idea due to its drug-glorifying content. At the same time, there are allegations that the genre lacks eloquence and depth of content - after all, the lyrics of the song largely consist of repetitions of the title, which is repeated an incredible 53 times in just over two minutes.
Indeed, with the start of the new trap, there is a shift in focus in hip-hop. The rappers of the new style identify more clearly through their sound than through their content. This shows not only the previous definition of the trap term, but also the prevailing approach in Germany of legitimizing the quality of gangster rappers through crazy rhymes or clever how-comparisons.
The breakthrough of the autotune in the trap
In this context, it also fits that Trap is pushing for a new emancipation of the autotune. "Outlet" by New York rapper Desiigner is a good example of the massive use of voice distortion technology that gives Trap a distinctly more melodic touch than previous hip-hop epochs.
This development also means that vocal hooks in the genre are becoming increasingly less important. In the new trap, the boundaries between chorus and parts become blurred, which only intensifies the radiant, flowing sound. Many critics pinpoint a supposed lack of talent among modern rappers, especially when it comes to the use of autotune.
The stigma of autotune as a correction of unclean vocal traces still does not seem to have disappeared - the downright striking use of autotune in the trap is above all a stylistic device and not a covering up of inadequacies.
Trap has washed ashore a host of new artists. In the following we show you a list of the most important genre representatives from the USA and German-speaking countries.
The main representatives of the trap
Lil Nas X
Montero Lamar Hill is a striking example of how rapidly trap rappers are currently gaining popularity and what influence they have on the mainstream outside of their own genre. Lil Nas X ‘Debut single" Old Town Road ", released at the end of 2018, is initially to be understood as a clear contribution to the contemporary trap sound, a few months later a remix version of the song with none other than country star Billy Ray Cyrus appears. A controversy arises because the song is not allowed to make the Billboard country charts. Lil Nas X is nominated for five awards at the 2020 Grammys, making it one of the most recognized artists by the award show. In the end, however, he can only win one trophy.
The aggressive vocal style of 6ix9ine is in clear contrast to the more reclined sound of most trap rappers and already touches the sound of screamo rappers such as Scarlxrd, who are also gaining in importance at the end of the 2010s. 6ix9ine's Adlibs-oriented flow clearly hugs the zeitgeist, its extravagant look with face tattoos and wild hair is almost a contemporary cliché in the scene. New music is not to be expected from the American for the time being: At the end of 2019, 6ix9ine will be sentenced to two years in prison, accused of illegally possessing weapons and participating in a robbery.
Lil Pump is one of the most colorful pioneers of American trap and at the same time stands for the often impressively young age of its representatives. When the bourgeois rapper, Gazzy Garcia, released his mega hit “Gucci Gang”, he was just 17 years old. Garcia becomes a symbol for the controversial reception of the trap: The colleagues from Laut.de call his songs "milestones of brainlessness".
Yes, you read that right. Money Boy is the one rapper whose career began phenomenally with “Turn the Swag On”, a catastrophically amateurish cover version of Soulja Boy's “Turn My Swagger On”. What many hardly have on their screen because of this connotation: Years later, Money Boy is one of the first in German-speaking countries to smell the trap trend from the USA and adapt it to their songs. The "Trap House makes the numbers" published in 2016 under the pseudonym Why SL Know Plug is still a clear novelty when it was released in this country - meanwhile the sound has become the standard.
Rin is perhaps the most concise embodiment of the US trap sound in German-speaking countries. The minimalist beats, the autotune-soaked flows, the concise Adlibs and the detached sound bring all the aesthetics of the genre to the point. The song “DONTLIKE” in particular becomes the artist's figurehead. The catchphrase contained therein “It's Thursday, I'll buy Supreme” also becomes a symbol of a supposedly more materialistic youth.
In addition to Rin, the Austrian rapper Yung Hurn is to be understood as another important German-speaking luminary of the trap. At the same time, the artist's discography shows a willingness to experiment, which definitely characterizes the trap and speaks against the supposedly lacking artistic talent of the scene. For example, the "Love Hotel" EP moves away from pure rap sound and mixes Yung Hurn's sound with radiated R&B. Trap gains a pop component that is much less ingratiating than the songs of pop rappers like Bausa.
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