Why “trap” as a genre is as relevant as you make it

Last night a friend of mine, someone whose musical taste – although primarily indie rock based – I’ve never questioned, asked me for “my take on trap.”

He intended the question to be a compliment, knowing personally my history and hobby of writing about current music over the years. I took it as such, but realized, my answer wasn’t all that insightful. Without thinking much about it, I said something along the lines of: think of the phenomenon of brostep these days but apply it within the context of featuring southern rap tastes. That’s that. He said “ok.”

Trap can be aggressive lyrically, with booming 808’s and cutting snares, as well as a negotiable tempo and rhythm. The kick is in the bass, in that it’s often quite dramatic with the kick drum acting as the bass instrument. To simplify, think banging beats with an ignorant vocal glaze.

My first introduction to the term came during a college radio set my friend did about six months ago, during which, someone (whose musical taste I also respect) asked me for a track ID. The track in question had “trap instrumental” in the title. That’s as much as I can remember – besides also enjoying the track – but from there, I started noticing more and more the term being tossed around and people fixating on it as the ‘next thing.’

A couple of my best friends for example, have been sampling rap in their bass-driven DJing since the very beginning of their time as a DJ, because that’s what they’ve known best coming into the craft. Do I call either one a trap DJ? Definitely not.

Hearing people bastardize the sounds as the ‘it-genre’ of the moment is quite annoying and repetitive, all without gaining much new insight.

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Let’s talk about Snoop Lion

When I first heard about Snoop Dogg’s recent announcement that he’d be changing his name to Snoop Lion and pursuing down the path towards a reggae album, my first reaction was admittedly a bit negative.

I kind of found the whole thing funny for some reason. Thinking that the dude doesn’t really need to give us any more evidence that he smokes a lot of weed and that Snoop Lion as a name just didn’t roll off the tongue just showcased my initial ignorance towards what Snoop is doing, embarrassingly enough.

In actuality, this career choice is about moving forward, moving away from his established role in rap and starting fresh towards a new (re)discovered passion. It’s not just a genre swap for one album; it’s a whole commitment towards a new persona and life path. We’ll learn to like the name change, because it’s not going anywhere. Snoop is as Snoop does. I’ve always respected that.

Vice Media has produced a feature-length film that share’s the aptly-titled album’s name, Reincarnated, which will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The trailer for the film is what opened my eyes to what Snoop actually is doing and I absolutely can’t wait for the opportunity to see the film in full.

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