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#MusicMonday: The Definitive Trap Music Bible

Image of Gucci Mane courtesy of

All people fall into one of two camps: (1) people who use the term “trap music” without having any idea what it means; and (2) people who’ve never heard the term. Until recently, I fell into camp (1), ie, “it has something to do with Waka Flocka and crack.” My friend and Durham, North Carolina resident Liz recently described trap music as something enjoyed mainly by girls donning Air Max’s and boot cut jeans. “The true trap lords,” she continued, are the “rappers who are successful but not so successful that they are Illuminati.” Unlike Jay-Z, the king of the Illuminati, she extrapolated, “Gucci Mane puts grilled cheese crusts in strippers g strings.” But I was searching for a more precise definition.

Today I am here to dispel misconceptions and bring you all into a third camp: (3) the people who know everything there is to know about trap music. Brace yourselves for the Definitive Trap Bible. Leggo!

Much like feminism, trap music is a movement with three waves.

First Wave: Trap as a Place. From the 1990s to the 2000s, trap referred mainly to the trap house, the physical location where drug sales are made. Originating in Atlanta, the first wave was not about a sound, but rather lyrically described a cycle of drug dealing that was difficult to escape. Early players included UGK, Three 6 Mafia, and Master P. Yo Gotti’s 2009 video for “Standing in the Kitchen” embodies trap as a place – set in a trap house, the video depicts Yo Gotti the chemist multiplying the volume of cocaine into crack, and Yo Gotti the business man packaging it, selling it to junkies, and counting his earnings. “Did the original trap lords do crack?,” I ask Liz. “No,” she tells me, “it was purely commercial.” She pauses, “I mean maybe they’d sprinkle some crack on a blunt, but nothing more.” Trap as a place entered the mainstream with hits by Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, and T.I.

Key Tracks:

“24’s” – T.I.

“U Don’t Know Me” – T.I.

“Pillz” – Gucci Mane

“Standing in the Kitchen” – Yo Gotti

Key Albums:

Trap House – Gucci Mane

Thug Motivation 101 – Young Jeezy

Trap Muszik – T.I.

Key Producers:

Drumma Boy

Shawty Redd


Deep Cuts:

“Make Tha Trap Say Aye feat. Gucci Mane” – OJ tha Juiceman

“Waka Flocka” – OJ tha Juiceman

Second Wave: Trap as a Sound. Between 2010 and 2011, producer Lex Luger arguably invented trap as a sound, producing Rick Ross’s “B.M.F (Blowin’ Money Fast),” Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “H.A.M.,” and Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard in The Paint.” Trap as a sound involves heavy 808’s, snappy snares, and menacing orchestration. Waka Flocka’s 2010 album Flockaveli embodies this sound. Trap music remained popular into 2012 when Kanye West remixed Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like.” In 2013, singles by 2 Chainz and Juicy J kept the trap sound prevalent, and A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord lived up to its name. In 2014, DJ Mustard produced trap-inspired tracks for YG, 2 Chainz, and French Montana.

Key Tracks:

“O Let’s Do It” – Waka Flocka Flame

“Faded” – Tyga

“Work” – A$AP Ferg

“Hot N*gga” – Bobby Smurda

Key Albums:

Flockaveli – Waka Flocka Flame

Finally Rich – Chief Keef

Trap Lord – A$AP Ferg

Key Producers:

Lex Luger

Drumma Boy

Mannie Fresh

Young Chop

Deep Cuts:

“Dump Dump” – A$AP Ferg

“Hannah Montana” – Migos

“Fuck This Industry” – Waka Flocka

Third Wave: Trap as a Something to Listen to While You’re on Molly. Lucky for Electric Daisy Carnival goers but less fortunate for the hip hop world, trap has heavily influenced EDM. Anyone who has spent time in Miami or Boulder, Colorado or has experimented heavily with MDMA is familiar with EDM and its predilection for the *DROP*. Trap music has had a profound influence on this aforementioned drop by incorporating a more bass-heavy drum falling on the offbeats. While much of this music is patently terrible, Diplo, TNGHT, and RL Grime have all successfully melded trap and EDM in a danceable and adrenaline-producing manner. The third wave involves heavy remixing and is most frequently consumed by frat boys in tank tops and white women who Instagram pictures of themselves holding guns. See Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers.

Key Tracks:

“Love Sosa (RL Grime Remix)” – Chief Keef

“Harlem Shake” – Baauer

“New Slaves (DJ Snake Remix)” – Kanye West

“Where Dat Dank” – Fki

Key Producers:





RL Grime

DJ Sliink

DJ Snake

Deep Cuts:

“Goooo” - TNGHT

“Dum Dum” – Baauer

“Rooster in My Rari (TNGHT Remix)” – Waka Flocka Flame

I hope y’all learned something! Now listen to my playlist and throw some hundreds!

Written by Anna Dorn

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