Everybody has heard of trap music. The voice of the self-proclaimed Kingpin, that repeatedly reminds us of their success and how they display it round their necks. Some critics (mainly religious) have shown concern for the popularity of this genre of music, saying that it glorifies drug culture and a criminal lifestyle, intoxicating young minds with crack vapour and dreams of gun violence. While this is partially true, it is hard to agree with such a classically White-Christian-Soccer mom point of view, especially when regarding the creativity that they fail to notice.
In my opinion, I think it is a statement in itself that trap music exists, as the filter between thought and expression seems to be gone. Whereas that might sound like a lack of artistic licensing, it is entirely the opposite as rappers choose to present the lives that they lead as they see them, offering the most real escapism possible. This is almost definitely why the genre has gained the popularity that it can boast today, with artists like Lil Uzi Vert and 21 Savage starting to dominate the mainstream and packing out the venues of North America.
Songs that could potentially paint an abstract image of metaphorical money and poetic prostitutes, quite simply show the listeners the trap in photographic quality, as they glide lazily over hard hitting kick drums and rolling hi-hats. The appeal of this seems strange yet so many find it so attractive, with the concepts of isolation, serious criminal activity and violence completely lost on them in a sea of appreciation. Is it fair to assume that most of a trap artist’s fan base will never truly understand the lyrical realism that comes as part of their product? Is it fair to assume that most of a trap artist’s fan base are in fact the exact opposite of the characters that they repeat the actions of? Yes. I think it is, as I have experienced much of the same when observing the UK’s Grime scene. Rappers who add a strange romance to the life of a lawbreaker bring their musical commentary to the world as a distraction and artistic impression on the choices they have made as an individual and seem to be left with a contrived feeling of success that is only sweetened by the 36 inch chains and fast cars that they can now afford.
This has become a huge theme amongst artists that identify as part of a vague sad trap movement that highlights the helpfulness of big money when struggling with suicidal tendencies. These rappers subsequently add an extra layer of harshness to the trap composition, surrounding it in authentic depression, only to have their deepest and most honest personal problems deflated by extroverted college teens. The outsider personality of the trap artist will therefore continue to struggle with its favourite drug-pushing problems whilst it faces the very new and very unavoidable issue of the trap trap. The place where their music unfortunately goes to eventually be washed up amongst the many who have tried to keep their integrity and still capture the true attention of the rest of the world.
Guest Blogger: Charlie Ellis