Monday, July 30, 2012


Last summer was the summer of noise.   Skrillex ruled both the dubstep and electro worlds with legions of fans latching on to what was now being referred to as complextro.   Festivals highlighted acts that favored Massive basslines and maximal sounds.   And if you liked dirty, American style, rock infused dubstep, you were probably in heaven.   The sound that came to be known as brostep infected everything and every BPM in existence.  What's interesting is the sound that most challenges dubstep now isn't at a different BPM at all.  There is a sound that features tinny, rolling snares, big 808 bass drops and references to a variety of hood shit and it too occupies the 70/140bpm landscape.  It's called trap music and it's making it's way into your favorite DJ's sets as we speak.

To be clear, this article is not going to focus on the history of trap.   Those of you who are familiar with music history are probably familiar with DJ Screw, the Houston rap scene, sizzurp, New Orleans, Weezy and Waka, Lex Luger and all other things associated with the trap movement.  Indeed, trap has a very long "rap sheet", if you will.   It's definitely not new.   However, electro and dubstep DJ's producing hood music is a new phenomenon.  And while new school trapstars like Chief Keef from Chicago get and deserve press, this article is going to focus on the effect trap beats are having on the EDM scene.  Just know that if you like trap music a lot, eventually you are going to have to find out about Riff Raff.  The intent of this article though is to talk trap from the standpoint of Skrillex and others like him.  Lezzz go!

So why are we listening to trap music at EDM events anyway?  Simple answer: Flosstradamus.  And by way of shameless promotion, you can see them September 26th at Majestic Theatre (I'm opening) and they will sonically verify much of this article.   For many in the "future trap" scene: Flosstradamuss is Alpha and Omega (the beginning and the end...also a sly reference to ASCII) :)

So you might be thinking, I liked Flosstradamus when they played house music and toured with Kid Sister.  I know they can kill a dancefloor.  But do people really listen to this beat for hours? How do they dance? Well, first off.....trap is usually just part of EDM set, especially if you aren't masters like Flossy.  But there is a guy who's universally known for making people shake their assses.   His name is Baauer and he's the author of "Harlem Shake".  It's a big time track that shows how much dance appeal this "future trap" has.

Something you will quickly notice is a lot of this trap movement is intimately tied with Mad Decent.  Perhaps no single trap producer has made as much noise or laid down more of the "trap motif" than the Mad Decent recording artist, UZ.  He has an air of mystery surrounding him like so many of the modern trap producers.  Very few people know who UZ is, if he's another big producer or even where he is from.  Now that UZ has made a few appearances, that may be changing but the secrecy is now a part of trap lore.   Many producers take new names and go to great lengths to stay secret, coding their names in ASCII to be unsearchable.   People want to sound like UZ and they definitely have copied some of his other career choices.  Check out some UZ TRAP SHIT!!!

What about moombahton? Is anyone still making moombahton?  Some of the biggest and most promising names in the moombahton scene have been making some trap beats.   One of the best and brightest stars is Big Makk, who has been putting out high quality trap longer than most and still continues to make his mark on moombahton.   Another huge name that has released a trap EP as of late is our big haired hero, Munchi.   Munchi put a lot of thought about including sounds from the European hardcore scene he was involved in and it worked.  LeDoom is another moombah/dub producer infusing his trap beats with hardcore.  And lastly, Craze and Codes both had monster moombahton anthems earlier this year and now have a huge trap anthem "Trapped In Sydney" doing the rounds.

So what happened to Dubstep again? Skrillex? Hulk? Where ya at these days?  They are on the corner.

And what about the people who really love trap and have been down since day one? Many of them as I've mentioned earlier have taken aliases and code their names in ASCII.  Here are a few examples.

So if you've read and listened to everything in this post, you have a pretty good idea that "trap" is a lot of things but "new" isn't one of them.  If you like the sounds, get down to them now.  Who knows what's going to be "new" next summer? :)