Where does trap music come from?
The word trap is a slang term long associated with alcohol, drugs, and other illicit goods. In the 1930s, a trap was a hiding place for liquor, and this sense was extended to drugs by the 1960s. In hip-hop since at least the mid-1990s, the trap has referred to a place where drugs are sold or made, the immediate source of trap in trap music.
Trap music originates in the 1990s in Southern rap. Its lyrics concern the gritty, hardscrabble lives of urban poverty and violence, often focused on selling drugs in the trap and giving early artists the name trap rappers. Musically, trap music features harsh, rattling beats and dark, synthesized, and orchestral instrumentation, mirroring its grim lyrics with its sound. Influential trap rapper T.I. claims to have coined the hip-hop genre name with his 2003 album, Trap Muzik.
Early influencers of trap music include Houston-based DJ Screw, who innovated a trippy, “chopped-and-screwed” style that helped shape the aesthetic of trap music. T.I. released, as noted, his influential Trap Muzik in 2003, and rapper Gucci Mane started producing Trap-A-Holics mixtapes in 2007 on the label 1017 Brick Squad Records,.
Other notable rappers who produced early trap music include Waka Flocka Flame and Three 6 Mafia. Producer Lex Luger is a major figure in the rise of trap music as well. He worked with Waka Flocka Flame in 2009, and continued to collaborate with artists who helped grow the genre and mainstream popularity of trap music.
Trap music has undergone further innovations in the 2010s, with some trap artists incorporating elements of electronic dance music (EDM) and creating a hybrid genre called EDM trap.
Who uses trap music?
Trap music is sometimes just called trap, as in, “I’ve been listening to a lot of trap lately.”
Rapper Fetty Wap, whose sound shows trap music influences, released a popular 2015 song called Trap Queen which, according to an interview, is inspired by a woman he cooked drugs with in a trap.
“2000 R&B music makes me wanna be in a relationship but 2017 trap music puts me in the mood of being single is nice”
Levi Wilkens @wilkens445 Twitter (May 1, 2017)
“depends what type of trap music you're talking about. on the hip hop side you gotta go ugk, lil flip, slim thug, most of rick ross's catalogue, t.i., gucci mane, chief keef.”
JPM1983 Reddit (December 13, 2013)
“Having grown up listening to similar artists, I found this LP very suited and refreshing to my tastebuds amongst all the heavy modern trap music crammed into Spotify playlists.”
Vivienne Lumley, “Album Review: Sons of Volt – Notes of Blue (2017 LP),” The AU Review (February 28, 2017)