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Even though there are plenty of hip hop purists that want to separate trap from rap, they will always be connected as trap is a sub-genre of rap. Trap music started to gain traction in the early 90s in Southern America; the signifiers of the trap style became an aggressive sound, and equally as aggressive lyrics which primarily focused on drug dealing and drug use.

Instrumentally, trap separated itself from hip hop with heavier basslines, faster time signatures, prominent 808s, layered synths, and for the more experimental trap artists, cinematic strings. Lyrically, trap artists were even more visceral in their rap bars about the inescapable gang and drug lifestyles (hence, trap) than the original gangster rappers. Atlanta became the capital of trap, while Ghetto Mafia, Goodie Mob, Outkast, Dungeon Family and Cool Breeze became the pioneers.

A decade after the inception of trap, artists such as Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Triple 6 Mafia and Young Jeezy started pushing the genre even further and allowing it to branch out into the diverse scene that it is today. Producers also had a pivotal role in the evolution of trap; the likes of Drumma Boy, Shawty Redd and Mike WiLL contributed to the contemporary trap sound that incorporates a dark atmosphere, street culture and a hard-hitting high-octane sound. At the turn of the century, trap not only dominated the airwaves, but it also became commonplace in strip clubs in the south too.

The first wave of trap broke into the mainstream in 2003 with the release of T.I.’s second studio album; it sold over 2 million copies and T.I. received a sync deal with EA sports. After his success, T.I. explained the motivation behind his career; to help people understand the actions of people that come from a less privileged side of life. A similar ethos is carried by the new generation of trap artists who are often misbranded as brash or crass when really, their music is reflective of their lives. In 2005, Young Jeezy entered the US Billboard Charts at number 2 after selling 172,000 copies of his album, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, in the week after its release. It later became a platinum record.

Fast forward to 2012; the trap scene started to merge with the EDM scene as producers and DJs started to weave trap styles into their dance mixes. Many are under the false impression that this was the beginning for trap, and it came along as some new millennial trend, but this is far from the case. In 2021, there are multiple trap sub-genres, even ones as far-reaching as trap metal. The most promising trappers to watch include the likes of Rico Nasty, Nayana Iz, Lil Uzi Vert and Waka Flaka Flame.

Alt Electro Hip Hop Heavy Weight, Sol Nocte Has Made His Entrance with ‘Hallucinating;, featuring xS!r N3llyx

Breaking new wave hip hop artist Sol Nocte sent ingenuity rippling through the music industry with the drop of his debut single, Hallucinating, featuring xS!r N3llyx.

The trippy, 8-bit discord-dripping electro beats almost veer into industrial electronica, but they are pulled back into the realms of hip hop with the groove of the melodies that work your way into your synapses under the layered dual vocals, which throw reminiscence to everyone from Labrinth to Tech N9ne.

Hallucinating is a stellar track in its own right. Even more so when you consider that it was born on an iPhone as a result of Sol Nocte’s passion that ensured the track was staunch with visceralism.

Hallucinating is now available to purchase on Apple Music and available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

KingTay shared his infectious high energy in his Trap track, Feels GOOD

A new wave of hip hop just crashed in through KingTay’s high-vibing latest single, Feels GOOD. The Philadelphia-born up-and-coming artist broke through the dark cloud that overbears youth and communities in America to share his high inspiring energy. Feels GOOD is one of his most efficaciously uplifting tracks yet; over the cinematic beats, he runs his consistently dynamic bars through lyricism that takes introspection to the next level.

“It feels good to be finally living” is a powerful hook – a powerful hook that proves KingTay has endured a stagnant transition. It’s an infectious affirmation for anyone going through the same.

As an artist not just inspired by the hip hop greats but by songwriting visionaries such as the Beatles, every track from KingTay is charged with individual artistry. It’s not often hip hop artists break boundaries lyrically and sonically, but clearly, he is a force to be reckoned with.

The official music video for Feels GOOD premiered on September 7th. Check it out on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Clint Cash speaks for the financially disenfranchised in his latest dark trap single, Ballin

Jackson, Tennessee-hailing hip hop artist Clint Cash has allowed music to take him from rock bottom to a place of passion and creativity. His fourth self-produced album, Cold Heart, captures much of his struggle, especially the standout single, Ballin.

The dark and atmospheric trappy beats in Ballin reflect the extreme lows that he has endured as well as the lyrics which viscerally run through relatable struggles, with a focus on the difficulty of relationships with money when you’re contending with a scarcity of it. It’s a sombre single, but the overarching energy is nothing short of vindicating for anyone that could never relate to hip hop tracks that are braggadocios about lavish excess.

Ballin is now available to stream on YouTube.

Follow Clint Cash on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Hardstyle meets hip hop in the Battery remix of DFlexXx’s Mus B

Feel the bass viscerally slam in the Battery Remix of DFlexXx’s latest release, Mus B. After becoming one of the most luminary names in the UK rap scene following his 2020 debut, the Welsh artist, inspired by the likes of Lil Wayne, Travis Scott, Tyga, Drake and Chris Brown, took his sound to the next level with this monolithic remix that will push your speakers to the limits and get your body rocking to the ferociously magnetic hardstyle rhythms.

DFlexXx set out to be as memorable as possible while staying in his own lane, based on Mus B alone, which hits as hard as Showtek’s biggest hits, he achieved it. That’s without mentioning the rapper’s ability to command a crowd of over 10,000 while supporting the likes of Sugarhill Gang, DJ Ironik and Lady Leshurr.

Check out the Battery Remix of Mus B on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Texas trap crooner, brody, is back in motion with his latest single, RIDE WITH ME

Trap trailblazer brody is back in motion with his latest 2022 single, RIDE WITH ME. The vibe-driven track proves that soulful crooning hooks more than have a place within the genre, especially when they grind along to dance-worthy colourful melodies that will get serotonin spilling to their flow.

The Independent Fort Worth, Texas hailing artist has been turning up the heat even more in the South since his debut single, Roses, dropped in 2020. In addition to cooking up his own energetic hooks, he is the founder and owner of Good Intentions Entertainment, which is set to change the shape of hip hop in the South for the better.

RIDE WITH ME is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Steph Delz took urban Avant Garde to the extreme with ‘Lockjaw’

LA’s Steph Delz put the trip in trip-hop in his latest experimental track, Lockjaw; it isn’t music as we have known it before, but any fans of extreme urban Avant Garde will want to pay attention.

He’s a ghost in the machine in the hyper-warped 8-Bit production, which may be a little too out-there for most Trap fans, but the up and coming artist and producer has certainly carved himself an autonomous niche in the market; in 2022, that’s an achievement in itself.

Lockjaw was officially released on September 19th; it is now available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

RnB and Trap Intertwine in Ta’Sj Pure’s Seminal Single, Lies

Taken from his debut album, So Sincere, the up-and-coming RnB artist Ta’Sj Pure’s single, Lies, is one of the best introductions to his melodically soulful sonic signature.

After a wavey intro, the New Jersey native goes in heavy with the lyrical evocative weight in his effect-laden Trap-style harmonised vocal timbre while the single progresses into experimentalism scarcely seen in the RnB scene. His tendency to play with melody and swathes of off-kilter bass transforms Lies into a completely unique RnB aesthetic that any innovation seekers will easily be sated by.

Check out Ta’Sj Pure’s debut album, So Sincere, on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

So Strong: Massachusetts-based rapper Poppa King Oats urges us to join Together

After showing us his hustling Biggie Smalls mentality on his previous release from May 2022 called Throne, Poppa King Oats knows he just needs that one hit song so that he can live like Nas on Together.

Poppa King Oats aka Carlos Carela is a Massachusetts-based indie trap solo artist and is known for his catchy songs that will get the heart pumping.

With a huge smile, a positive mindset, and expertise in droves, Poppa King Oats returns to our consciousness with a terrific single that sets him apart from others in this oft-selfish game. Showing us he is ready for anything as he knows that talent isn’t an issue, as we are reminded of his smooth style that will make many nod their heads all night.

Together from Massachusetts-based indie trap artist Poppa King Oats is a faith-filled soundtrack to those who believe that without God, they don’t feel great at all. Rapped with his signature charm and skilled lyrical projection, this is a fine single from an artist who knows what is most important in life.

Oozing with underground quality and a message for all those who have perhaps forgotten to pray for a while, this is a song that leads the way to that guiding light.

See this new music video on YouTube and find out more on his Facebook page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Yoyo Sumz has released her addictively authentic pop-rap track, Red or Nah

Authenticity may be a rare commodity in the hip-hop scene in 2022. Yoyo Sumz still managed to bring it by the smorgasbord in her latest pop & trap-tinged single, Red or Nah, which has appeased critics as much as her international fanbase.

Between the strong melodies and equally as robust harmonic resonance from the soulfully unfuckwithable vocals, Red or Nah is a fierce urban earworm that demands repeat attention from the first hit. Any fans of XXX Tentacion, Lil Durk and Yung Bleu won’t want to let his artistically produced release slip them by.

Red or Nah is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

BLKY shared the secret to karmic vengeance with his latest trap track, Price

Here to prove that Trap hits just as hard on this side of the pond is the up-and-coming lyrical trailblazer, BLKY, with his latest single, Price.

The reprise of ‘I get revenge with success’ rips up the usual trap tropes to deliver a narrative that shows you how to bite back at everyone that has underestimated and undermined you without disturbing the karmic balance.

The rhythmic indie instrumentals, which carry hints of eastern flavour, are just as energised as BLKY’s bars, which he’s been perfecting since the age of 10. With every BLKY track, there’s the guarantee of visceral realism. Few artists pull together art and raw narratives with as much finesse as this artist, utterly unafraid to lay it all bare.

Check out Price for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast