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Ever since Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” track went viral on YouTube, it seems like more and more major EDM artists are incorporating trap samples into their sets.
But what is trap music? The trap sound — that grimy, snappy 808 sound you hear at the drop of a hard EDM song — was first cultivated by Southern rappers in the early 2000s. Acts like Waka Flocka Flame, Gucci Mane and T.I. utilized those beats first while rhyming about the drug trade of the South. The word “trap” originally referred to that drug trade — if someone was “in the trap,” they were typically dealing or doing cocaine.
Within the last few years, EDM heavyweights like RL Grime, Flosstradamus and Diplo started meshing the trap beat with electro and dub sounds. Trap is now being called “the new dubstep,” though that title clearly hints that trap might be just another “brostep” fad.
In response to those critiques, the trap/EDM marriage seems to be sticking around. Not only does trap have the already-established longevity many fad genres do not, but many artists and producers from the hip hop world have embraced the trap and EDM crossover. Kanye West, for example, hand-picked Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” to produce an official remix.
Now that trap has been adopted into the songs by Top 40 artists like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, I have a feeling this subgenre is not going to be one that fades away quickly. Because, hey — EDM producers must be doing something right if the big time record labels have taken note (so that the big wigs can steal it and ruin it for the rest of us).
Contact CU Independent Entertainment Editor Sarah Elsea at Sarah.firstname.lastname@example.org.