What is Trap Music? A Comprehensive Guide

What is Trap Music? A Comprehensive Guide
9 min read

Trap music has had a significant impact on the ever-changing landscape of modern music. This guide goes beyond the basics, delving into the intricacies of creating your own trap masterpiece and highlighting chart-topping hits.  Join us as we trace the evolution of what is trap music, from its humble beginnings to the grand stages of the world's most prestigious festivals, resounding with pulsating beats.

What is trap music?

Trap music first appeared in the late 1990s in the United States' southern states, primarily in Atlanta. Trap beats are distinguished by heavy bass, quick hi-hats, and synthesizers. Artists such as OutKast and Underground Kingz (UGK) pioneered trap music.

At its core, trap music is more than just beats and lyrics. The term "trap" refers to a notorious drug-dealing location, and the music frequently discusses hustling, street life, and overcoming adversity. Over the years, trap house music has evolved into a prominent subgenre of hip-hop, influencing a wide range of artists and styles in the music industry.

Historical context of trap music (evolution)

Trap electronic dance music

Trap music rose to prominence in the early 2010s as a result of the influence of producers such as Lex Luger. Trap, a subgenre of electronic dance music (EDM), incorporated EDM elements such as high-energy drops and synthesizers. This fusion broadened trap music's appeal and propelled it into the global dance music scene.

The Latin trap

Latin trap emerged as a significant subgenre, combining trap beats with Latin music influences. Bad Bunny and Ozuna rose to prominence by fusing trap music with reggaeton, salsa, and other Latin rhythms. Latin trap rose to popularity and international acclaim in Spanish-speaking countries, helping to propel the genre's global expansion.

Trap becomes popular

Because trap songs dominated the charts, pop artists began incorporating trap elements into their songs, spawning the subgenre "trap pop." Trap's distinct sound grew in popularity as trap beats were incorporated into hits by artists such as Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Ariana Grande.

Trap music rose to prominence in the early 2010s as a result of the influence of producers such as Lex Luger. Trap, a subgenre of electronic dance music (EDM), incorporated EDM elements such as high-energy drops and synthesizers. This fusion broadened trap music's appeal and propelled it into the global dance music scene.

K-pop's Trap

Trap elements were embraced by K-pop, which is known for its versatility and willingness to experiment with different genres. Many K-pop groups and artists used trap beats in their music, resulting in a hugely popular fusion that demonstrated the genre's adaptability and resonance with diverse musical cultures.

Types of trap music

Atlanta trap

  • Origin:Developed in Atlanta, Georgia, during the 1990s.
  • Characteristics
    • Heavy bass and aggressive beats.
    • Gritty lyrics depicting urban life.
    • Distinctive hi-hats and 808 drum patterns.
  • Pioneering artists:OutKast, T.I., Gucci Mane.

Tropical trap                

  • Origin:Influenced by the Caribbean, tropical trap incorporating Calypso beats and synth pop music elements gained global popularity.
  • Characteristics:
    • Danceable rhythms with a summery vibe.
    • Fusion of trap with reggae, dancehall, and tropical house.
  • Global appeal:The appeal of tropical trap often extends beyond traditional hip-hop audiences.

SoundCloud trap

  • Origin:This subgenre was developed on the SoundCloud platform in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
  • Characteristics:
    • Do-it-yourself (DIY) ethos and experimental production.
    • Unconventional sounds and sampling.
    • Lo-fi aesthetics and unique production techniques.
  • Platform influence:SoundCloud became a crucial space for independent artists to showcase their work.

Trap soul

  • Origin:Popularized in the 2010s, this subgenre blended trap with contemporary R&B elements.
  • Characteristics:
    • Soulful vocals over trap-influenced production.
    • Exploration of themes such as love, relationships, and personal struggles.
    • Introspective and emotionally resonant lyrics.
  • Key artist:Bryson Tiller played a significant role in the rise of trap soul.

Characteristics of trap music


Trap music moves at a moderate to slow pace, with BPMs ranging from 70 to 110. The slower tempo adds to the genre's distinct and deliberate atmosphere.


The emphasis on heavy bass distinguishes trap music. Basslines, which are frequently created with deep 808 kick drums, provide a powerful and resonant foundation for the music.

Hi-hat patterns that are fast and complex stand out, adding energy and a sense of urgency. Snare rolls, often in quick bursts, add to the beats' dynamic and intense nature.

Flow of triplets

In trap music, triplets are frequently used in vocal delivery and lyrical elements. This triplet flow, which is defined by three evenly spaced notes or beats, contributes a great rhythmic pattern.

Transitions between rolls and risers

The dark and aggressive synthesizers that create an intense and edgy atmosphere define Trap's sonic identity. These heavily distorted and modulated synthesizers contribute to the distinct sound of the genre.

Rap vocals or trap vocals

Trap music has a distinct vocal delivery. Rap or trap vocals with a distinct rhythm and style are used by artists. The rhythmic flow of verses, catchy hooks, and improvised segments transform into storytelling devices, carrying the track's energy. When vocals and instrumental parts are combined, the genre becomes more lively and exciting.

Hi-hat patterns that move quickly

Trap music is known for its fast-paced and intricate hi-hat patterns known as "trap hats." The tempo and complex rhythms of the genre are set by these hi-hats. They add a layer of urgency and energy to the beats quickly and expertly, resulting in a distinct sound signature.

Massive basslines

To enhance the impact of the iconic 808 engine, additional heavy basslines are added to the soundtrack. These basslines, along with the basic beats, are responsible for the tracks' power. The rhythm is determined by how well the bass and drums complement each other. These basslines help to maintain the genre's reputation for strong, bass-heavy sounds.

Sampled hooks that are sparse but melodic

Simple but effective sampled hooks highlight the melodic side of trap music. These rhythmic elements from various genres of music help to balance out the beats' intensity. The composition benefits from the sparse use of melodies, which are often catchy and easy to remember, by creating a contrast that draws the listener in.

How to write a trap song?

The steps for writing a trap song are as follows:

  1. To achieve the typical trap feel, choose a moderate to slow tempo, typically between 70 and 110 BPM.
  2. Establish your tempo: To create a tight, punchy drumbeat, emphasize the kick, snare, and hi-hats. Experiment with different patterns to find your ideal rhythm.
  3. Compose and perform a melody: Create a memorable melody using synthesizers or other instruments. In a trap, repetition is essential, so consider writing a looped verse to anchor your song.
  4. Include some drums: Combine 808 drum patterns to improve your beat. The bassline should be deep and resonant, serving as the track's foundation.
  5. Adjust the snare: To achieve the desired effect, fine-tune the snare.
  6. Use distortion:Introduce distortion to certain elements, especially 808 basses, to create a gritty and edgy texture. This adds a raw and powerful quality to the overall sound.

Steps to make trap music

Step 1: Tight drums

  • Lay a solid foundation with tight, punchy drums.
  • Highlight crisp hi-hats, snappy snares, and a consistent kick drum.

Step 2: Banging 808 (the key to trap music)

  • Make a powerful and booming 808 bassline, which is a trap music staple.
  • Play around with slides, pitch changes, and depth and movement changes.

Step 3: Hype melodies and synths

  • Use synthesizers to create catchy and energetic tunes.
  • Layer different synths to add complexity and texture to the melodic elements.

Step 4: Sprinkle the FX in trap music

  • Strategically placed sound effects can improve the overall atmosphere.
  • Use risers, sweeps, and other transitional effects to create smooth transitions.

Step 5: Creating energy in trap music

  • Increase power throughout the track by introducing and removing elements strategically.
  • Use volume automation, filtering, and other techniques to shape the energy flow.

Step 6: Trap music magic moments

  • Combine standout moments to create memorable moments in the music track.
  • Use unexpected elements, drops, or unique sound design for maximum impact.

Step 7: Final polishes

  • Fine-tune the mix and arrangement in the final polishing stage.
  • Balance, equalizer, and compression are important for clarity and cohesion.
  • To add spatial depth, use reverb and delay.

Trap music festivals

  • Rolling Loud
  • Beat Patrol Festival
  • Trap Circus
  • Astroworld Festival

Top trap music songs

  • Trap Queen by Fetty Wap
  • XO Tour Llif3 by Lil Uzi Vert
  • Mask Off by Future
  • No Lie by 2 Chainz

Top trap music artists

  • Travis Scott
  • Chainz
  • Migos


Trap's legacy underscores the genre's ability to reflect societal narratives, push artistic boundaries, and shape musical landscapes across generations as it continues to resonate with listeners and influence contemporary music.


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Sayyed Ismail 0
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