Lately I have been listening to and coming across a lot more trap music, and I thought I would dedicate a post to it because the genre is rapidly growing and because I have a curious perception of this genre that I want to share. In a thread I found elsewhere, trap was called the new brostep, derogatorily described essentially as “something brostep DJ’s through into a set to feel less white,” and generally referred to as just a new trendy genre to rage to.
I really disagree. It is of course not worth disputing that trap is great music to party hard to, but I think a lot of trap production is not geared toward partying hard, but produced with a very specific musical purpose in mind in a very specific genre context. I see trap producers treating it as one big musical joke. The production process of trap is not particularly complex and everyone is well aware of the simplicity of the patterns and the basic formula of arpeggiating snares or hats and pitch-shifting them for dramatic effect - and it sounds good of course, but it’s painfully obvious how much of a trope that is. Another glaring element of trap is the overuse of the Zaytoven type chant, and the really generic drum samples.
All of these things are great to rock out to, and using them naturally adds some sort of slightly ironic feel to whatever you add it to, because it is so derivative. I think trap producers are well aware of the derivative nature of the genre, as such use it often to ironic effect or as cross-genre allusions. Think of Burial using the deplorable airhorn sample specifically as an allusion to jungle and oldschool breakbeat. In this, I find trap to be flavor-wise, to be closely related to witch house. the genres are about the deconstruction of genre tropes and rearranging them in different ways to both ironic and referential effect. Of course witch house, which I absolutely love, and trap are very different mood wise, but production and intent wise, they are more closely related than they are at first glance.
I do not think the rise of brostep had the same vibe that the rise of trap has. Nowadays it can be - the addition of wobble bass is frequently used in totally different genres for ironic/referential effect. But I see this happening right now during the rise of trap music because producers are very well aware of what is happening: they are producing in a very ironic context and have intimate knowledge of genres and their tropes. I feel like this is in contrast to the rise of brostep, where this was mostly uncharted territory and it was a race to the top. we saw the development of a lot of completely new sounds and vibes. It was rise filled with a lot of exploration and development, as opposed to the rise of trap, which is about artistic re-arrangement, not necessarily the development of something completely new.
maybe I’m giving trap producers too much credit and just drank too much coffee myself.