Trap Music

It has recently come to my attention that my favorite genre of music is trap. By trap, I’m referring to a sub-genre of hip-hop that comes mostly from southern rappers. It is categorized by its use of “double or triple-time sub-divided hi-hats, heavy, sub-bass layered kick drums from the Roland TR-808 drum machine, layered synthesizers and an overall dark, ominous or bleak atmosphere and lyrical content”-Wikipedia. Thematically, the genre’s lyrics center around drug dealing at a ‘trap house’, the social status of African Americans in the U.S., sexual promiscuity and its superiority to romantic love, drug use (predominantly marijuana and codeine-promethazine), gang violence, and above all, money and what money can buy.

As a Jewish Indian from a middle-class background with no gang experience trying to avoid drug use and distribution, searching for a monogamous relationship, and who values fiscal responsibility, it seems like I would struggle to connect to trap music. After some thought, I realized what about trap music I love and connect to.

  • It’s all about “the come-up”. As a young person beginning the process of making a life for myself, it is inspiring to hear the stories of these rappers who “started from the bottom” and made something great of themselves. The message that success is available to those who dream big and work tirelessly is one that I really enjoy hearing at this point in my life.
  • The beats are technologically advanced. Trap music would not be the same without modern speakers and their bass capabilities. I have always been attracted to the newest most innovate forms of expression. Trap beats are certainly innovating the music industry.
  • It’s entertainment. Trap artists make their living off of being the biggest personalities that they can be. The more absurd they are, the better. Witnessing these individuals go to such great lengths to entertain an audience, one cannot help but be amused.
  • Admittedly, it’s a very masculine genre and as a male, keeping up with trap gets one “man points” as superficial and problematic as that may be. No one can call you a sissy for throwing 21 Savage on the aux.
    • This is an important point because I also greatly enjoy dance music; however, am too embarrassed to play it in front of many of my friends so I end up listening to much less of it
  • It’s popular; it’s a wave that’s currently sweeping the world.

Plato argued that moral vice is aesthetic virtue. Trap music may be the embodiment of that often contested claim. Any aesthetic evaluation is at least partially incomplete; however, the above are certainly some, but likely not all, of the reasons that trap music is so appealing to Coby Palivathukal in 2018. To follow my reviews of trap music (other music too but mostly trap), go to cobysmusicblog.wordpress.com.

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