The definitive guide to the underground music phenomenon that is steadily has racking up a high profile following
Bun B and the late Pimp C, also known as UGK, were two of the first people to bring that raw trap style to the forefront of hip-hop music – alongside groups like Three 6 Mafia. Early noughties-released tracks such as 'International Players Anthem' and 'Sippin' On Some Syrup' have become staple cuts, with some of today’s biggest remix masters finding creative ways to keep them alive.
Then you’ve got popular rhymers like T.I - whose Trap Muzik album made him an international star back in 2003, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, Rick Ross and Meek Mill, who still manage to keep a gritty trap vibe running through their mainstream raps.
Chief Keef, however, is the new face of trap. The 17 year-old rapper from Chicago released a track called 'I Don't Like' last year, which quickly became a hip-hop anthem – even more-so after he had Kanye West, Pusha T, Jadakiss, and Big Sean jump on the remix – and now he’s a much-blogged rap rookie. But there’s still a feeling that mainstream America doesn’t get this kid. Is his reality too real for people to handle? More than likely.
Lyrically, trap music deals with less of living the high life, more of what you have to do to get there – which usually contains talk of working all the hours God sends in the trap house, and the lifestyle that comes with the job. There's also a side where rappers pull at the heartstrings by sharing emotional stories of what it's like to live in their hood, and the lengths they have to go to "get it in" and give their loved ones a better way of life. Maybe the party-starting beats are just to cover up the pain in the lyrics? I digress.
The UK has its own trap movement going on, too. Giggs' 2008 mixtape, Walk In Da Park, was trap through and through. Who would’ve thought a label like XL Recordings would end up signing the Peckham-raised rapper a couple of years later? Other UK lyricists who have contributed are Joe Black, Young Spray, Youngs Teflon, and Krept & Konan. However, there’s one guy known as "the UK's king of trap." His name? Blade Brown (pictured above).
"When people listen to my songs, they can hear that the music is authentic," says the south London rapper. "The environment is something that I'm very familiar with, so it's a subject that's easy for me to speak on. I think people find trap music interesting because it’s a lifestyle that people fantasize about. It has good and bad sides, but both are exciting for the listener to listen to."
And that, my friends, was your quick lesson in trap. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s a style of music just for the clubs (see: TNGHT’s 'Higher Ground'), it runs way deeper than that. Guetta, fall back!