Trap music is a form of hip hop

Trap Music - music made for your smartphone

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Hissing drums, alienating effects and a lot of emptiness: Trap is the soundtrack of the young generation.

If you are out and about in a break, you can hear it from many smartphone speakers: Trap Music.

Trap is not very clear as a genre name. In general, this means the synthesis between hip-hop and electronic club music.

More popular than the Beatles

It was recently announced that the Canadian rapper Drake, Link Opens in a new window, has set a new record with his R'n'B music, which is heavily influenced by Trap: seven songs from his current album "Scorpion" are simultaneously in the top Ten on the US charts. Even the Beatles never made it.

To compare Drake's music qualitatively with that of the Beatles is daring. But it cannot be denied: Trap music is particularly popular with young people - and that won't change anytime soon.

Caught in life on the street

The musical roots of today's trap music lie in the black ghettos of the US southern metropolises of the 1990s.

Atlanta, for example, is a major transportation hub on the east coast and is known as a drug hub. Numerous criminal gangs rule the streets there.

They deal in drugs and rap about their hard life from which they supposedly cannot escape. You are in a trap, hence «Trap».

One name, two genres

At the beginning of the 2010s, producers began to integrate elements of trap into electronic dance music and also to call this new form trap. This leads to confusion: do you mean the original rap form or electronic dance music?

The merger also has positive consequences. Trap is becoming more popular, and both genres are benefiting from it.

Well-known artists such as the singer Beyoncé also favor this by adding trap ingredients to their songs.

Recipe for a trap song

The ingredients: take it

  • bright, hissing drum sounds - best from the legendary Roland TR-808 drum computer,
  • bell-like keyboard sounds that repeat a catchy melody sequence,
  • sustained sub-bass tones,
  • alienating voice and sound effects, especially important the stuttering effect for the drums

and use it to produce a thumping, clumsy trap beat in a sequencer program.

Smartphone compatible sound

Many trap producers use sounds sparingly. They leave a lot of space for emptiness in their beats, which is also a big part of the gloomy atmosphere.

This transparency and the bright drum sounds have a side effect: Trap Music sounds amazingly present even on poor quality smartphone boxes because they do not have to reproduce a wide frequency spectrum.

And this is the kind of music that is often heard in the break areas. The kids play the songs for themselves on their smartphones.

If the sound sounds good under these conditions, it is very likely that it will spread. And with it even more popular.

Broadcast: Radio SRF 2 Kultur, 100 Seconds of Knowledge, July 18, 2018, 6:20 a.m.

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