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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.

Get your Latin Trap ecstasy hit with FJP’s latest drop, Molly Party

FJP’s latest single, Molly Party, dropped (or should that be came up?) on the 14th of July to blur the boundaries between Latin Trap and the evolution from Jamaican dancehall, Dembow, and to generate a fierce party rocking with conviction and culture hit that could fill any Bronx dancefloor.

With a sound so hedonistically filthy that you’ll get a contact high from your speakers as the bass and harsh snares are blazing through them, there’s no better hit to get your party started – literally.

To create his galvanising distinctive sonic signature, the Dominican Bronx-born-and-raised artist fuses his Latin Caribbean roots with eclectic hip-hop influences to produce riddim-riding anthems that will safely secure his place on the Bronx hip-hop map.

Add Molly Party to your Spotify playlists.

Keep up to date with the latest releases from FJP on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Kilabear sang the blasé trap blues in his melodic hit, IDC

The 18-year-old Baltimore-born Gettysburg, PA-raised rap artist, Kilabear, has proven to be one of the most dynamic trap artists in the game since he started releasing his music in 2019. Whether he’s creating adrenalizing high-octane hook-filled hits or getting mellow with his euphonically polyphonic keys & synths, one thing remains a constant – his determination to make each of his projects visceral and emotion-driven.

His standout single, IDC, from his 2022 LP, 101, is an immersive synthesis of blissfully toned chiptune melodies and honeyed harmonies arranged in a sharp killer cadence. While Kilabear signs the blasé trap blues, he invites his listener into a world of escapism, which stems from his tendency to use music as an outlet and sanctuary.

After losing his dad when he was two years old and being passed from domestic pillar to post as his family contended with financial issues, he’s experienced the extreme lows that give him a razor-sharp sense of resonant empathy, which is just one of the reasons why his fans can’t get enough of his relatable, raw, and melancholic tracks.

Stream & purchase IDC on Apple Music or add the track to your Spotify playlists.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

MANTRABLU tripped out trap in his latest juggernaut of a track, NIPTUCK

Brooklyn-based singer, rapper, and producer MANTRABLU has dropped his juggernaut of an experimental trap hit, NIPTUCK; with the razor-sharp wit and equally as cutting trip-hop atmosphere, few urban originators have as much edge as the artist who takes his influence from everything from math rock to neo-soul to jazz-funk.

After a wavy chiptune prelude, MANTRABLU’s rolling-with-the-punches rap bars adrenalize the texturally complex soundscape that stands as a testament to his trailblazing authenticity. Get behind him or get out of the way, because if any contemporary artist has what it takes to make a fresh mark on the Brooklyn hip-hop landscape it is him – especially now he’s breaking away from his production-focused discography and going back to his origins as a songwriter.

Stream NIPTUCK which hit the airwaves in May 2023 on Spotify and Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

THE VISION blurred sonic boundaries beyond definition in his latest rocksteady with vibes production, WANNA KNOW

Sonic boundaries blurred beyond definition in the latest single, WANNA KNOW, from the London-based fusionist artist, engineer, and producer, THE VISION. Instead of pandering to arbitrary stylistic parameters, the alternative artist let rhythm and soul take the wheel and drive with the top down while painting a contemporary love story with more twists than a Shakespearean tragedy.

With so many lyrical layers to unpeel in WANNA KNOW, the trap pop hit spills a narrative that keeps giving with every listen; lock into the lyricism or lose yourself in the steamy synthetics of the hit, that provides the ultimate soundtrack to hazy summer nights with the Afrobeat rhythms, pop hooks, trap beats and deeply reverberant RnB vocal melodies.

WANNA KNOW hit the airwaves on the 14th of July; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lose yourself in the escapism of MUNBOI’s hyper pop hip-hop hit, Runaway

It has been almost a year since MUNBOI walked us down Memory Ln with his stellar slice of stoic hip-hop, but it only took his fiery flow in the first verse of his latest trap-pop-hip-hop amalgam, Runaway, to jog our memory and remind us of all the reasons he left us in awe.

By blending elements of hyper pop, chiptune, and grime-y hip-hop, the 24-year-old Bracknell, UK-hailing alternative artist, producer, and audio engineer enticed us into his sonic fantasy. For the two-and-a-half-minute duration of Runaway, you’re enveloped by the – quite literally – animated escapism of the hit. The sticky-sweet texture of the melodies contrasted against the blazingly rapid rap bars is enough to leave your senses in a tailspin, but the beats will always bring you back down to earth safely.

Since we last heard MUNBOI, he hasn’t failed to make major waves in the industry. With the help of his hardcore fans, he has sold out his hometown and London shows. Radio 1, BBC Introducing, and BBC Radio Berkshire also played their part in raising the artist up from the underground.

Runaway hit the airwaves on the 12th of July; lose yourself in it via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Azure Kai is intoxicating in their pseudo-trap hit, Fine Wine 

Azure Kai kicked off their latest single, Fine Wine, by riding the vaporwave trend and running through with pseudo-trap percussion before the RnB-spliced hit starts to lavish the single with soul.
Many experimental artists solely rely on genre fluidity to make a distinctive mark on the musical landscape, but that is only the start for Azure Kai; beyond their creative versatility is the core of Kai’s authenticity. Their infectiously playful approach to their witty wordplay works in parallel to their sense of humour, which would give most stand-up comedians a run for their money.
Fine Wine ripped up the rulebook of traditional love songs; the un-archetypal hit is infinitely more arrestive for it, all thanks to Kai’s uninhibited expressive style, which throws pretence to the wayside to expose the heart on their superlative sleeve.
Stream Fine Wine on YouTube.
Review by Amelia Vandergast

Get Caught on the Hooks of Im Ty’s Latest High-Vibe Trap Pop Hit, Baddie

The Washington-born, Maryland-raised independent trap artist Im Ty gave his steadily growing army of fans a new addictively rhythmic fix with his latest single, Baddie.

Since his debut, Im Ty has gone down as one of the most dynamic names in the trap scene with this captivatingly authentic music and heart-of-gold-in-spite-of-honest-bad-intentions persona. If there is any room for more marks on the Maryland map, there are few artists more deserving of going down in hip-hop history than Im Ty after dropping Baddie on the airwaves.

Staying true to form, Baddie was created through his relentless MO to deliver infectious beats and melodies that will tattoo themselves across your mind as fast as tear-drop tattoos manifest as soon as they’re earned in the hood.

With elements of hip-hop, RnB & pop worked into the vibe-steady and dance-worthy hit that paints a relatable portrait of a modern femme fatale and advocates confidence and self-expression, there are hooks and high-energy harmonic accordance by the smorgasbord.

Stream Baddie on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Drift away with WIN’s latest single, Goodnight, and see why he is the brightest Bronx trap luminary in 2023

Smooth out your playlists with the latest RnB-infused, pseudo-trap lullaby, Goodnight, from the up-and-coming urban trailblazer WIN.

With dreamy jazz nuances worked into the soporific mix, Goodnight is a soulfully musical exhibition of the Bronx-hailing recording artist’s talent and ingenuity, which has seen him performing at a series of high-profile music festivals, including Harlem Art Festival, SXSW, and Daze Summit.

With his melodic uptempo spoken-word bars dominating the hazy mix, there are few vibe-out tracks that succeed in spilling catharsis and feel-good energy simultaneously in this vein. With his infectiously enigmatic charisma paired with his cutting wordplay skills that paint vivid vignettes of life in the Bronx, you can consider WIN as the brightest trap luminary in. 2023.

Goodnight hit the airwaves on June 7th; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

0sb0rne – know me pt. 2: A Trap-Pop Production You Won’t Be Quick to Forget

You would be hard-pressed to find trap more trailblazing than what the Michigan-born, Berlin-based singer-songwriter, 0sb0rne, cooked up for his debut LP, Know me.

With moody electro-pop elements oscillating around the solid rattle of the 80s, the standout single, know me pt. 2, is two minutes of pure melancholic trap pop perfection. Stepping out from behind the shadow cast by the modernist hip-hop mould, 0sb0rne thrived in his candidly raw hit, which allows emotion to perpetuate the momentum.

His husky yet honeyed vocal lines swathe the instrumentals with soul, while the minor key melodies amplify the sting of the pensive introspection which made the release so intimately electrifying. His account of romantic digressions may be personal, but with his stellar songwriting, the experience resonates as universal.

know me pt. 2 is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Blaccstar Honcho contributed to the future of trap with his latest single, skirt

Blaccstar Honcho

Blaccstar Honcho, AKA Thearean Johnson, made his contribution to the future of the trap genre with his seminally salacious single, skirt.

The wavy, red-hot release doesn’t allow the excessive use of autotune to filter out any of the flavour in the smooth vibed-out vocal lines; it solely serves as cohesion between the trappy beats, elements of old-school atmosphere and lyricism that finds a gritty way to write a contemporary love letter, signed and sealed with seduction. Any fans of the Weeknd will undoubtedly want to drink in the dark soul of skirt, which perfectly balances light and dark to create an evocatively well-rounded release.

Check out skirt on BandLab and follow Blaccstar Honcho via Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast