Clubbers' Decktionary: Trap
Trouble's DJ Hobbes gives us a guide to the myriad genres of clubbing
Trap proper noun 67–95/135–190bpm; fusion of hip hop and dubstep styles. The latter’s heavier bass, more complex drum programming and structure playing a key role and also introducing much higher tempos to the mix; the Roland 808 drum machine features heavily as do ‘chopped and screwed’ (slowed) rap vocals.
Origins Hip hop producers from the southern US states started making Trap in the early 00s, the name a reference to the ‘trap houses’ where many rappers bought and sold their drugs. Recently Trap has become affiliated with a more frenzied fusion of hip hop and dubstep, its lyrical motifs also amplified. As a result, commentators have suggested it’s ‘the new dubstep.’ Naturally, the style’s main practitioners are keen to avoid such labels, recognising that they potentially herald the sound’s death knell, not to mention their own espousal of a fleeting fad.
Key figures Cough syrup-quaffin’ Houston duo UGK and DJ Screw are credited as pioneers, while Atlanta rapper TI called his 2003 album Trap Muzik. 22-year-old Virginia producer Lex Luger has been broadly lauded for popularising the modern Trap sound, working with MCs such as Alabama’s Gucci Mane and Atlanta’s Young Jeezy and Waka Flocka Flame. 16-year-old Chicago rapper Chief Keef and his producer, Young Chop, found themselves with major label deals (Interscope and Warner), after their ‘I Don’t Like’ single went viral and was picked up by fellow Chicagoan Kanye West for a remix. New York’s RL Grime, Brooklyn’s Baauer, Montreal’s Lunice and his collaboration with our own Hudson Mohawke, TNGHT, are all cited at the more up-tempo end of the spectrum. Chicago duo Flosstradamus are also riding the wave, following their Jubilation 2.0 EP (Fools Gold) and 'Lana’s Theme' bootleg.