Welcome to our new Music 101 series! With these articles, we will introduce you to the wide variety of genres within the world of electronic music, focusing on everything from the history of the genres to their distinct styles. This week’s Music 101 segment is focused on all things Trap!
Trap music is one of the most popular and, surprisingly, one of the newest genres in electronic music. With its origins dating back to the early 2010s, trap music evolved into its own genre after artists began adding more electronic and dubstep elements to the hip-hop genre of the same name, often opting to remove the vocals to create purely instrumental tracks.
Birthed in the 1990s in the southern United States, the hip-hop genre of trap became popular through artists such as T.I., Gucci Mane and Rick Ross bringing the unique production style to the radio.
Listen to T.I.’s Trap Muzik album from 2003 here:
In its early days, electronic trap music was only popular in the underground scene and only the most passionate fans of electronic music were exposed to this new, heavy take on hip-hop. The genre’s first claim to fame came in the form of the ‘Harlem Shake,’ a worldwide sensation that took the internet by storm. Arguably Baauer‘s most famous production, ‘Harlem Shake’ brought trap music to the mainstream world through the viral meme which sees participants doing crazy dances and shenanigans once the drop hits. The track was the first trap record to hit number one on the Billboard Top 100, officially bringing the genre to the masses and introducing a whole new playing field for producers to explore.
Since becoming an internet sensation, trap music has grown into a mainstage favourite, with electronic music fans around the world gathering for shows and festivals that center around the genre.
As trap music is derived from hip-hop, a lot of emphasis is placed on crisp percussion shining at the forefront with deep sub basses lurking in the background. Trap music producers then started adding build-ups and drops around the hip-hop foundation to make these tracks appeal to the electronic music realm. The origins of the genre are rooted in crisp, rolling hi-hats, loud kicks, snares and brass, and the famous 808 sub.
Check out the video below for the ins and outs of the trap percussion basics:
Added elements of dub, house and techno give the track an electronic vibe, making it a versatile genre that one can both dance and mosh to.
Early pioneers in the trap music scene include the aforementioned Baauer, as well as RL Grime, DJ Snake, Heroes x Villains (HxV), CRNKN, Mayhem, UZ and Flosstradamus. Check out some old favourites from these artists and more below!
This concludes Trap 101! See you in two weeks for our next installment of the series: HOUSE 101 ⚡
And if you’re looking for the best electronic music events and festivals, Electric Soul got you covered!