What is Trap Music? Trap Music Explained

Music sub-genres are always on the rise being discovered every other day. What is trap music? It is another music subgenre gaining momentum in the music-dance culture. It is a kind of hip-hop music, and the name ‘Trap’ is an Atlantic slang referring to a place where drugs are sold illegally. 

The hype about trap music has emerged and is picking up, but what is the history behind it? Trap music originated in the Southern United States in the 1990s. The music stands out with aggressive hip-hop content, combined with sound instruments and driven by kick drums in layered synthesizers. 

what is trap music

It is a genre full of attitude in brass sound, triangle, the triplet in hats, loud kicks, and snappy snares during composition. Trap music is composed and performed with the  Roland TR-808 Drum Machine. The pioneers of trap music are southern rappers like Waka Flocka Flame, Gucci Mane, and Young Jeezy, among others, and iconic producers like Lex Luger, Zaytoven, and the upcoming Young Chop.

Technology, dub, and dutch house all incorporated helped the trap music genre to evolve with vocal samples introduced by the inventors. In 2012 the music gained more popularity thanks to the development of stylistic offshoots. The music gained popularity and was noticed in the impact of dance music. 

What is Trap Music?

The original lyrical themes in trap music surrounded the ‘traps’ in public life like the narcotics in the south. Also, topics included street life, wealth acquisition, violence in America, and life experiences that artists have gone through, especially in the southern American region.

To sufficiently answer the question of what is trap music, you can describe it as follows. 

  • The tempo and song structure are the same with 1/3 being hip hop and most tracks are between 70-110bpm with the vocal pitches a bit lower.
  • Dutch sync with high pitches, hardstyle sampling, and a plethora of remixed trap songs taking a 1/3 in Dance Music.
  • The other ⅓ is dub with low-frequency focus and a strong emphasizing on repetition throughout a song.

A combination of the above and multilayered thin or thick-textured monophonic drones accompanied by synthesized melodies and kick drums make trap music. In the south, it was common to find drugs hidden in a car, and the deals made it quite difficult to escape this lifestyle. 

After songs were released about trap life, the rappers were referred to as “trap rappers’ by their fans. In early 2000, trap was not a genre when David Drake wrote that trap was a real place then the term was adopted to describe music that described the place. 

what is trap music

The areas of interest in the trap are Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, and Atlanta. Trap music is characterized by dark energy, gloom, a street culture of guns, drug houses, strippers, and a gigantic sound. First, the music was great in mixtapes, and local radio then later blew up in nightclubs.

Popularity and Acceptance of Trap Music

Trap music’s success in the 2000s for both albums and singles was imminent and undeniable. And, in 2003 it was at its peak with the T.I. release in the second studio’s album Trap Muzik. It was a great success with a sale of over 2.1 million copies, and the top track was “24’s”, which featured on Need for Speed. 

The music was a source of information for those who had no idea about that side of life. Also, it may be apparent that the people living in those areas act and behave differently because of their surroundings. The debut of Young Jeezy’s album Let’s get it: Thug Motivation 101 was at position two on the U.S. Billboard 200 and sold 172,000 copies in its first week before making it to a block of certified platinum.

Shawty Redd became popular with the success of the original trap music sound signature. When a new wage of electronic music producers and D.J.s began to incorporate trap music elements into their works, the music found more success. As a result, trap music was popularized among electronic fans. In 2013, there was a development of several stylistic offshoots of trap rise in viral popularity in electronic dance. 

what is trap music

Electronic music played a big part in spreading the trap music hype to Europe through D.Js like Hollertronix (Diplo and Low Bee), Hudson Mohawke, back in the day, and more recently Lunice, Jacques Greene. Recently, a trap has gained much hype in electronic music, and it has evolved into a different beast with a few opposing faces. 


In the quest to discover what is trap music, it has been accepted the world over. A good example is the South Korean duo G-Dragon and Taeyang in 2014 who sold 2M copies of a single, ‘Good Boy’ in under 24 hours and the following year 1M copies of another single, Bang Bang Bang.

The 11th Street studios in Atlanta are now the home of trap music by default. The studios have hosted recording sessions with the pioneer artists of trap music, hence the credit. 

READ MORE: Why is Music Important? Importance of Music in Society

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