I saw the confusion on 12th Planet‘s face as he tried dropping trap numerous times in his set at Electric Adventure a few weeks ago. I’m not sure how many people recognized his look of “Really? It’s over? That quick?” There was no crowd response whatsoever. They moved around to dubstep and jumped to house, but trap evoked zero response.
I’m sure me calling the genre dead will evoke response. There will be those that jump to call it “post” or “future” (as if the genre actually stopped existing). There will be people that claim that I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about. And once people settle into the fact that trap is no longer the “hot” thing, there will be an immediate dismissal of everything it ever represented. Twerk is the new shit, and that will “die,” too; how are these genres rising and collapsing so easily?
Markets serve an audience. Genres are markets that give fresh producers a goal to aim for, and companies the ability to target new clientele. If it isn’t new and interesting, people that claim to support the underground aren’t going to fuck with it. The hidden humor is the fact that a genre needs to have a hint of popularity to gain underground support. The flood of producers that jump to whatever happens to be new is the definition of thirst. It’s almost as if the underdog steps up and says:
“I don’t want to sell out by making big room house, but I want my records to be popular.”
Trap is played out to anyone that goes out often. We heard it for the past year everywhere. It’s a genre that isn’t as innovative as it once was. Producers have used elements from trap and applied them to other genres. This is true of moombahton and dubstep as well. With all of these genres, there was a wave of innovation followed by so many shit tunes that it became painful to sort through. Our definition of “trendy” doesn’t translate to the big festivals or Beatport charts anyways. The vast majority of novice (read: probably not you) partygoers understand what’s handed to them. It’s not a stab; it’s truth.
The “death” of genres happened to dubstep and moombahton. It will happen to twerk, and whatever comes after that. Trends aren’t built to stay in style forever. I dig for tunes and speak with some next level players in the scene. In the 6 months Do Androids Dance has been alive, I’ve posted incredible heady dubstep and mind-blowing moombahton, though both are treated as if they’re going through a midlife crisis. I will be posting trap long after everyone decides that it’s time to move beyond it. We were into trap before it was called trap, though.
Genres that are self-sustainable are those curated and created by people that actually understand marketing… or don’t give a fuck about marketing. House isn’t going anywhere, ever; too many people with 20 years in the game have their hands in the pot to let bass music take over. But look at juke and Baltimore club; neither are considered genres on Beatport, nor do they have giant industry sites pulling their tunes. Neither have huge support from festivals, and both have been humming along quite consistently for a decade.
I’ve been screaming the solution since I had a voice. We have websites are being run by kind, enthusiastic, amazing people that want to make money without knowing what they’re talking about. All they need to do is reach out to the people that curate the underground sounds, so informed content providers are giving a proper education and representation of these underground cultures. We need advocates to help shape and curate underground sounds and records to be as big as those pushing things they are paid to post. A push for change is the only thing that will level out the playing field, and it’s going to take a major budget from someone that has no interest in the business of music to fund this.
The smartest move in the world would be to support dance music. Remove genres, remove play counts, and let the records speak for themselves. People that create platforms should bring in educated curators and pay them what they’re worth. Websites should be rewarded for pushing unconventional records. If we support the art before we support the market, our records, genres, and artists will live a longer and more fruitful life. I’ll be over here dreaming.