Atlanta is home of hip-hop's most exciting sub-genre: Trap.
Set the bar, raise the bar. It’s something Atlanta has done for years. For nearly two decades, ATL has kept their finger on the pulse of rap music. Hip-Hop’s southern capital has continuously flooded the industry with new artists and nightclub anthems, so it should be to no one’s amazement that Atlanta has once again struck gold. Trap music is winning. Forty “Versace” remixes and a Wiz Khalifa mixtape later, it’s safe to say we can all admit that. But what makes trap so special? How have rap songs about “the bottom” risen their way to the top? Well, it ain’t hard to tell. Trap music is fun, flashy, and downright amusing.
Although much of trap is catchy and swaggering, a lot of the genre’s material wouldn’t normally be considered “playful.” Selling cocaine is practically celebrated in the genre, and water whippin’ has transformed into a popular dance move amongst the youth. The Migos make boatloads of money off their plug, and boatloads more rapping about it. Trap stock is on the rise. It’s the reason why singles like Snootie Wild’s “Yayo” and Future’s “Move That Dope” have steadily climbed the charts. It’s odd, because trap was once predominantly an underground genre. Veterans like Jeezy and T.I. have been servin’ up trap mixtapes for nearly a decade. In fact, T.I.’s 2003 studio album was indeed titled Trap Muzik. So, why has the genre suddenly re-erupted over the past couple years? Much of the reason has to do with production, and the new wave of Atlanta beat suppliers.
Some of hip-hop’s most notable producers hail from ATL. Household names like Mike Will Made-It, Zaytoven and the production crew 808 Mafia are all responsible for shaping the distinct trap sound. These producers mold addictive rhythms, thick snare drums, and thundering 808-stabs to construct the perfect trap beat. Dun Deal, creator of Young Thug’s “Stoner” and Migos’ “Hannah Montana,” is a prime example of these characteristics. Another must-mention trap producer is Metro Boomin. Born in St. Louis, the young beatsmith relocated to Atlanta where he has become a major force in the genre, producing tracks for Young Thug, Gucci Mane, Future, and of course Trap Wiz. These producers deserve a lot of credit for the genre’s recent popularity, but the main reason of success comes because of the trappers themselves.
Out of all the trap artists who call Atlanta home, there are three that should immediately come to mind: T.I., Jeezy, and Gucci Mane. These ATLiens were among the first to feed the streets with pure trap content, and they’re longevity in the game is undeniable. Early hits like Jeezy’s “Soul Survivor” and Tip’s “Rubber Band Man” are still considered trap classics. Part of the reason why these artists are still so relevant today is due to their close ties with the younger generation, and upcoming Atlanta rappers. A go-to example of this is Young Thug, and the numerous co-signs he’s received from trap veterans in the past few months.
Young Thug is one of the many new faces taking over hip-hop. Coming up under the wing of Gucci Mane, Thugga x2 has since collaborated with Meek Mill, T.I., and Birdman. His wildly eccentric delivery was not too long ago hated on by the masses, but alike Migos, many rappers are now trying to reciprocate his uniqueness. Alongside Young Thug, other rising Atlanta artists have received help from industry heavyweights. Peeway Longway has came up under Gucci Mane’s 1017 Brick Squad, and both Gucci and Future have helped pave the way for fellow trapper Young Scooter. A handful of ATL rappers, however, have reached stardom without the help of a co-sign. Rich Homie Quan, Que, Trinidad James, and Cash Out blew up off their hit singles “Type of Way,” OG Bobby Johnson,” “All Gold Everything,” and “Cashin’ Out,” respectively. Though the vast majority of trap comes from home-bred ATL rappers, there are the select few trap artists that were born elsewhere. Migos-sidekick Rich The Kid was born in Queens, NY, and Soulja Boy was actually born in Chicago. Though these artists were born in different cities, they both spent some of their childhood in Atlanta, and the influence is obvious. Atlanta is one big mixing pot of talent.
Trap music has been evolving for a decade, and its full potential has yet to be reached. Each month it seems a new ATL artist blows up from nowhere, and takes the game by storm. Already in 2014 we’ve seen Atlanta native K Camp rise to fame with his smash single “Cut Her Off” featuring 2 Chainz, as well as the Two-9 crew continue to grow their campaign. Several more trap albums are expected this year, from Trinidad James' Def Jam debut, to 2 Chainz B.O.A.T.S. III, to possibly another Future album to close the fourth quarter. The bando might be closed, but best believe trappin’ ain’t dead- and it won’t be for a while.