There is a Lesson to be Learned From the Death of Trap

trap-funeral

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.

  • John Disgraceland Stanhope

    These are different times we live in. Look at DnB towards the end of the ’90′s. 2 step garage suddenly became ‘the thing’ and this could have killed it. I was working in a DnB record store at the time and I saw probably 80% of the DnB heads jump ship. So why didn’t DnB die? What was the difference between that scene and any of the ones you mentioned above?

    I think it comes down to solid foundations – House, DnB, Trance, Techno – all of these genres evolved in clubs, in record stores, etc for a long time before they ‘blew up’. It’s this slow, deliberate evolution that gives a genre the strength to weather any subsequent storms.

    Across many genres, grassroots followings developed back then – real people in real clubs who have met regularly for months / years in person. No internet, less initial hype – the hype does come, but later once the scene has time to mature.

    So, going back to DnB – suddenly the scene was decimated. Everyone was saying that it is dead (sound familiar?) and yet, 15 years on, it’s probably one of the strongest and most artistically credible scenes globally.

    Why? Solid foundations – tracks, clubs, and PEOPLE.

    • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

      The key, for dnb at least, is the foundation. You said it perfectly. Maybe that’s the problem; styles like moombahton and trap don’t have any real foundation. They come alive on the ‘Net and die when the next trend pops. And die in therms of the mainstream not following it b/c they’re on to the next one.

      • John Disgraceland Stanhope

        So true – the internet is great on many levels, but it creates hype far to quickly. Nothing gets a chance to grow.

        • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

          it can be tough. and frustrating.

    • Mads Bassline Andersen

      your right. Also I think dubstep will survive. I think Major Lazer marked the death of trap when they released watch out for this, its all about moombah/dutch now.

      • Plushie Cat

        Look, I’m just here to give props for the DJ Pon-3/Vinyl Scratch icon. :) /)(

    • caballo
    • juicemachine

      Great pionts. This is one reason I’m keeping a close watch on the Juke/Footwork scene. Even though many people from Chicago talk about it being under represented in Chicago itself these days, it’s got deep roots there and is currently going global with a vengeance. It’s one reason I find it funny when people write it off as a new ‘EDM’ flavor; it’s not, really. It’s an offspring of house with a real foundation and more cultural elements (highly developed dance culture for one thing) than many fly-by-night micro genre’s we’ve seen lately

      • John Disgraceland Stanhope

        The link with DnB I think is quite telling too – I’m intrigued with the rise of it in the UK at the moment.

        • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

          we’ll see. there seems to be only a certain demo of UK producers/fans who are riding for juke, and those are the same who ride of jungle. Will it rise big like some of these other genres?

          • John Disgraceland Stanhope

            They say Autonomic is the label to watch..

          • charlie marshall

            Hmmm I could think of a few Juke/UK combos that could work!

            Juke/Liquid (dnb)

            Juke/Jungle

            Juke/Garage (Would be hard due to the 2 distinctive rhythms required, but maybe possible!)

            Even Juke/Dub (No step) [Obviously not UK]

            I might have to experiment and come back to you two? :D

  • Guest

    Still didn’t get the answer to the question: is Trap dead or not?

  • http://www.davidbabijaev.com David Babijaev

    Still didn’t get answer to the question: is Trap dead or not?

    • caballo

      Look.. trap will be added to the always changing Global Bass scene and Dynamics. Eventually it will be a vibe, it has happened to baile funk, moombahton, reggaeton, cumbia, dubstep, kuduro, and soon to zouk bass. It will not die, but it will just fade in terms of hype. As someone here mentioned. history repeats itself http://maddecent.com/uk-dubstep/

  • cauliflower

    trappin’ ain’t dead

  • Swelta

    Whatever trap was is surely dead. The southern rap they ripped the style from will continue to wreck as they always have though. They did it better without the EDM marketing in the first place.

  • dupis

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2u48IdkED0

    yeah really looks like no one is moving in the set he used as a fuckin example. what a retard.

    • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

      compare them dancing in the beginning to them at the end.

  • bullshit

    you should be ashamed for writing this fucking drivel.

  • PaulSwytch

    DJ NAPPY – TRUTH SLAYER!!!!!

  • Guest

    Fuck you and your dollars. I am going to support myself in making the music I feel strongly about. There need not be any support from people who know about business but don’t have any passion for art. The real underground needs nothing from you, gentle listeners, because it simply is.
    When trap came out, I knew it was crummy trend that would soon fade. Stop jumping on bandwagons if you’re worried about genres “dying.”

  • lol

    k cool

  • Guest

    Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. Great article!

    • da Boss

      wishful thinking aint gonna get you nowhere

  • desafinado

    MOOMBAHTON ISNT DEAD MAYNE

  • Sean Neil

    You lost me at the “we were into trap before it was cool” bullshit.
    Fuck off. There are plenty of producers and listeners that are still very much into trap.

    • khal

      “before it was cool?” pretty sure it said “before it was called trap.”

  • Rhythm Travels

    Trap wont die just because hipsters ain’t in to it anymore. @RhythmTravels

  • charlie marshall

    I believe there is a deadly combination of reasons for the death of genres.

    1-
    New genres seem to have very specific limitations. For example one of the major defining features of Trap is the TR-808. Without the classic 808 sound, many people would not consider Trap, Trap. As soon as you start to limit a genre to a specific instrument, there is huge restrictions as to where you can go whilst remaining in that genre. So why should this matter?

    2-
    These production restriction matter because, since circa 2009 onward there has been an increasing number of new producers. This is due to the obvious increased ease of access to equipment. But it is the music that inspires someone to become a producer. What has happened, since the Dubstep scene, and perhaps arguably before that, is that people have gone “wow that songs sounds insane! Imagine if I could RECREATE that sound!”, and that is what they’ve set out to do. That is when you get inexperienced producers stumbling around blindly trying to RECREATE sounds rather than trying to find their own. This means there are hundreds, if not thousands of new producers trying to recreate 1 specific sound, thus hindering the evolution, and creative input into a genre. The more people trying to this, the more it becomes excepted that a genre has to have these specific restrictions!

    3- The EDM circle of life (My own creation)

    >A new genre is brought to peoples attention.
    > In experienced producers join the ‘hype’.
    >The genres market becomes overly saturate with bad music.
    >The genres market gradually dies.
    >Producers find new genre to bring to the forefront of EDM music.

    4-
    With the power of new promotional tools, genres can be promoted VERY quickly. The likes of which would’ve made many 80′s & 90′s Electronic artists go insane with power! However, as the classic saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Promoting genres that have only just got off the ground is what is likely to cause the influx of new producers, and therefore causing the occurrence of points 2 & 3. This means that a market is being brought to attention before it has even had a chance to form properly, and as we all know, all too well, is that; where a genre has peoples attention, copycat producers will follow suit. This means a genre will be filled with too many songs that sound nigh on exactly the same. This means the audience will get bored easily, and stop listening.

    By reading this you’re all probably thinking that I’m just moaning about there being so many new producers. Well, you’d be wrong. I’m moaning about people trying to recreate other peoples sounds rather than their own. By copying other peoples sounds, surely you’re making it harder for yourselves to stand out? Create your own unique sound, and maybe you’ll get to the top of your own market, rather than fighting your way into someone else’s. That’s just a thought to other producers out there! :)

  • Pingback: Friday Time Machine: The Best of the Last Week

  • Joe

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Dubstep and trap aren’t dead. Who even let you write this blasphemy.

    • da Boss

      maybe dubstep is dead or dying, but trap is still good.

  • cornball

    a main problem that trap has is that – while some of the tracks are epic, incredibly well done, and will live on – it is the very worst and corniest of cultural appropriation. it quickly turned into the EDM kids being “gangsta”, posting stuff like “suwooop” in soundcloud comments (a Blood gang call or whatever..), and just being plain dweebish on multiple levels. still, some of the music is excellent and transcends all of that. while many forms of bass music lift their influence from other cultures, trap so directly lifts from the southern hip-hop (that is still an ongoing and separate genre) that bro’s getting down to trap – and it is the ultimate bro music – is never not going to be corny on a certain level.

  • FranchiseCoppo

    I disagree one show at a theme park doesn’t represent a burial. The trap sound has helped edm become enjoyable for those in the urban and ethnic areas. Twerkin crossed over to EDM from Hip Hop, Reggae, Soca and Booty Club communities. TRAP helped to bridge that gap and will be relevant in some places more than others. Music is timeless and subjective which is why our opinions and criticisms will die before the sound does. People declared Rock and Hip Hop dead yet its all around us. Dependence on trends for one’s choice in music is the mark of a zombie. Just because a few kids didn’t turn up for a DJ set doesn’t mean the whole US pulled the plug on Trap.

  • THEend

    Good. I cant wait for trap to die. It has no place in dance music. Leave that sound for the blacks. Now we have kids acting like they are black (even if ironically) and even some ghetto blacks coming to shows. Thats not a good thing. Most of them are just there to “sale dem molliez” and attempt to take advantage of (rape) girls. Crossing the dance music world and the rap “music” worlds is a dangerous road. Have any of you been to rap shows? Black people dont party. They stand around looking angrily at each other, until one inevitably shoots the place up. I’ve been a part of this scene for a long time and I dont want that black monkey business spilling into the electronic world.

  • Guest
  • FrankBurly
  • Ian Carillo Lara

    Three words buddy; Big Room House. It will be bigger than dubstep, moombathon and trap, mark my words

  • da Boss

    you’re dumb, traps still killing it. Migos, yung thug, cap1, future, etc. trap still alive and well, you dont know shit. and then we got the other type of trap like flostradamus and hucci. trap is good

  • Castle

    Trap would be better if it weren’t played so damned much, you can’t escape it… It’s annoying.. Lets hear some variety for god sakes

    • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

      Amen.