New Album Stays Away From Trap Music’s Origins

The second volume of the massive compilation of Trap tracks, entitled All Trap Music, was released about a month ago, and for those who were exposed to the genre before it became popular among dancehall producers, it is a bit of a disappointment.

For those who aren’t familiar, Trap music finds its origins in the impoverished neighborhoods of southeastern American cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, Memphis and Houston, where young rappers crafted it out of elements of older genres like Crunk and Dirty South. From the start, the lyrical content of this new sub-genre glorified the impoverished life in the “ghetto” that many of the rappers had experienced, encompassing things like sex, crime, and more specifically, drug dealing. The slang term for a place where drug deals are made is “the Trap”, which gave the style of music it’s name.

Recently, the interest of big name DJs like Diplo and Baauer in the genre has pulled the genre far into the realm of instrumental electronica, and while Trap songs with hip hop lyrics have been called the most popular rap songs of the 2010’s, many of the most talented and creative producers have stuck to mostly or completely instrumental tracks. The first volume of All Trap Music mostly featured this instrumental, beat-focused (rather than lyric-focused) style of Trap, which has been dubbed EDM Trap. This was entertaining for a while, but the more I listened to it, the more I felt that something was missing. It was lyrics. The heavy bass, the dramatic synthesizers, the 808 drum beats, the exciting but not overwhelming drops, all scream for loud, profane rhymes, spat in a southern drawl onto those exquisitely produced beats.

That style of lyrics are often supplied by rappers like Chief Keef and Waka Flocka Flame, but on top of beats that are lackluster and far inferior to those produced by the artists who specialize in EDM trap. I was hoping that the second installment of All Trap Music would feature more music that combined the two styles, but it did not. Although the compilation features more emotional tracks with less aggressive melodies, the absence of lyrics is still unsatisfying.

It’s not like that style of music, with gangster rap on top of well produced, modern rhythms doesn’t exist. Many artists, in particular the Chicago duo Flosstradamus, have crafted originals and remixes that feature that combination I described, and I was hoping that All Trap Music Vol. 2 would be a study in that style of production, but instead all that was included were those songs that beg for lyrics.

It’s doubly disappointing since if these songs included lyrics, I’m sure they would be exponentially more popular than they are now. It’s unfortunate that a compilation as influential as All Trap Music hasn’t yet caught on.

This is the typical song found on All Trap Music Vol. 2. UZ’s “Trap S*** V13” has a heavy bass line, distorted vocals, and a typical hip hop beat that builds to an entertaining drop. Unfortunately no vocals though.

This is one of the two songs on the album with vocals that satisfy my desires (the other being Flosstradamus’s remix of the rap song P*** Test, originally by A-Trak.) Those lyrics come from up and coming UK rapper Riko Dan, whose latest mixtape, Rise of the Farda, was released last August.

Flosstradamus’s brand new release, called “Mosh Pit”, features Casino and is the type of song which I had hoped to hear on All Trap Music’s second volume. It incorporates all the new elements of EDM Trap which has become so popular in recent years, but does not abandon the gangsta rap that once defined Trap.