The Origins of Trap Music

Trap music is everywhere and its impact on pop music can’t be denied.
In fact, given how long it has played on the radio and its presence in so many
different recording artists’ albums, you can say that Trap is the new Pop. But
where did Trap Music come from and how did it become so popular?


Trap music is a sub-genre of Hip Hop that was born in the 1990s in
Atlanta, Georgia. The meaning of Trap is rooted in the streets, referring to the
struggles and poor living standards found in the hood. Artists like Dungeon
Family, Ghetto Mafia, and Outkast were one of the first to use “Trap” as a
subject matter in their music.


A key feature of Trap Music is the use of hi-hats (which are
programmed at a fast speed humans can’t play), kick drums, and gritty
synthesizers. However, there was one piece of equipment that was
fundamental to the growth of Trap, and that was the Roland TR-808 drum
machine. In 1982, the revolutionary song “Planet Rock,” by Afrika
Bambaataa and Arthur Baker, was produced using the 808 drum machine.
Interestingly, while this jam was hitting the dance floor hard, the 808 drum
machine was becoming a commercial failure due to its unrealistic drum
sound. As the 1980s progressed, the drum machine became a lot cheaper and
therefore, more accessible to underground musicians.


Trap music made its crossover into the mainstream Top Billboard
charts when producers like Lex Luger collaborated with the top names in Hip
Hop. Luger produced Waka Flocka Flame’s 2010 hit “Hard In Da Paint,”
which prompted Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Rick Ross, and Kanye West to
incorporate Luger’s Trap beats into their work.


Trap music’s influence on pop and electronic music can also be seen in
Drake’s collaboration with Future in 2015 with the album, What a Time to Be
Alive, and in Lorde’s 2017 album, Melodrama. In 2018, Migo’s album,
Culture II and Ariana Grande’s Trap-influenced album, Sweetener also
reached the No. 1 spot on the charts. From the 1990s to the present, Trap
Music has proved that it is here to stay. Trap clearly is the new Pop.