Why I Love Trap: An Exploration Into the Underground

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There hasn’t been a lot of trap on Generation Bass lately and the stuff that we do post is either from already favourite artists of ours, or has a special global flavour about it. I can’t read other people’s minds but I guess the main reason is the EDM-ification that made ‘trap music’ synonymous with bigroom house with 808 drums, like it made moombahton synonymous with 115 BPM brostep. It may be a matter of taste but for me it feels like a missed opportunity. More than time for a post to show why I love trap so much and think it should be brought back into the underground bass music family.

There is more than one reason why trap is good company for the other global bass genres (and vice-versa) and why it’s good to keep more than one eye on the great things that do happen in corners of the trap scene. It’s a bit tricky to state it like this, not to misrepresent things, but a unified global bass scene doesn’t exist yet. Instead, many of the original genres supported global bass blogs like kuduro, baile funk and much of cumbia, are scenes on their own which often seem to see themselves as close to ‘urban music’. This means that combinations with hiphop, RnB and dancehall are common. Trap then seems a very logical choice and indeed the combination of trap with global genres does happen a lot in mixtapes, on events and in producers’ personal choices.

Also, there is a trap scene emerging these days that is rapidly moving away from EDM, producing music that sounds closer to hiphop and underground bass music than to the festival stuff we’ve all heard, truly erasing the boundaries between electronic music and sophisticated instrumental hiphop.

But enough said now, for all of you who aren’t convinced yet, I made a quick selection of absolutely fantastic recently released that will make you instantly forget that festival trap has ever existed. Be prepared for a massive list of trap without encountering anyting that comes even close to popping molly, turnup, “damn son” or “realtrapshit”!

Just listen to the music and be blown away..

Who else could I start with than with the Dutch halfgod GAMEFACE, one of the most talented producers I’ve ever come across in all scenes and genres of music I’ve been exploring so far. Personally, I even dare to state that this oriental flavoured, mind-altering and breathtakingly dark tune is one of the best pieces of music ever produced!

And just as I am writing this post I realised he released a new masterpiece.. Be ready for an even rougher, again Indian inspired, occult flavoured banger!

The 18 year old, upcoming talent BLVCK is another excellent Dutch trap producer with a heavy, apocalyptic style. I talked to him a couple of weeks ago and he told me how in the Netherlands, like in most places, commercial EDM-trap is killing the scene, pushing away the really passionate, groundbreaking quality stuff  into the obscure corners of internet and its online micro-scenes. Here some massive love for his two newest releases, both amazingly powerful dark bangers.

Together with GAMEFACE, BLVCK owns the visionary label & collective Pyramyth that focuses on dark, mystical trap as a whole new movement of dark future-music.. an idea that blows my mind and that I’d be eager to see growing! Check out the collective’s most recent label releases!

BLVCK teamed up with the American duo BVNDITS for this supernaturally powerful trapstep banger with enough occult energy to pierce through the no-man’s-land that separates the living from the dead..

https://soundcloud.com/pyramyths/bvndits-x-blvck-afterlife

Their previous release delivers another dose of chillingly brutal ritualism!

Here is the Belgian promising talent U$IK killing it with similar pitchblack magic!

https://soundcloud.com/pyramyths/uik-scylla

And this bomb from the Derby based producer Sampul is equally powerful and ominous but now spiced up with experimental synth work and absolutely thrilling vocal distortion!

https://soundcloud.com/pyramyths/sampul-her-nose-pyramyth

A while before I started blogging for Generation Bass, I met Apex Rise at a party. I’ve always been a big time fan of everything he has been releasing and ever since I got more into blogging I’ve been looking forward to support it. But trap wasn’t my core business and with so little time left, it had to wait until a special post like this one.. Prepare for one of the sickest 808s you’ve probably ever come across. This banger will absolutely blow your speakers.. along with your mind!

..want more? Here another round of thumping madness!

But if you’re looking for some more mellow vibes, Apex Rise ‘s got them on offer too. This stunningly dreamy, Japanese flavoured track perhaps moves more into the direction of future-beats than trap per se, but is too beautiful not to share!

In terms of style, this two-track EP from a deliberately secret artist that came out on Werk Records in May this year is one of my current favourites. There are few trap productions that are so deliciously rich in polyrhythmic tribal-Latin percussion as these ones, especially the first. These vibes make me long back to the times of our legendary transnational and (post-) apocalyptic mixtape series. We never made such one with trap but if we did, this is a great example of what it would sound like!

If you’re digging this percussive, transnational-flavoured trap with an apocalyptic edge, you really should check out this absolutely fantastic, Arabic-flavoured EP from the London based producer ZAGOR that came out last month via the forward-looking music label and collective Eighth Supply!

https://soundcloud.com/eighth-supply/sets/zagor-suspense-ep

Eighth Supply is a storehouse full of absolutely golden music.. Here just two more examples of what they released over the last weeks only!

A breathtaking, post-apocalyptic ‘Golden Triangle EP ‘, containing the original masterpiece from the Auckland based producer Wayvee and an equally fantastic remix by DVNGLEz .

https://soundcloud.com/eighth-supply/sets/wayvee-golden-triangle

And just a little more than a week ago, DVNGLEzfrom Edmonton Canada, killing it again with this mindblowingly dark preview!

https://soundcloud.com/danglez/voodoosclip

In the third edition of my grand moombahton series I already introduced the Colombian-Dutch hiphop producer Rolito. Next to being one of the most promising hiphop producers I know, he also showed interest in bass music, infusing it with his hiphop background. This huge, hardstyle-inspired trap banger which he made a while ago shows how well he is able to cose the gap between hiphop and underground electronic music. He showed me a couple more phenomenal beats, produced for several rappers, which unfortunately aren’t on his soundcloud for that reason, but which would be equally amazing as trap tunes on their own!

https://soundcloud.com/rolito-1/imakethebeatsaygoboom

Common knowledge for trap-fans but probably not for all Generation Bass readers: one of the most important sources for both vanguardistic underground and more mainstream leaning trap is the Canadian label Defco Records. They’re releasing too much to share everything I’d like to, but make sure you check out this fantastic, experimental EP from the Dutch-Belgian producer LEOPVRD, where trap is a starting point for exploring a great variety of vibes and flavours. Teaser.. there is even a delicious a moombahton track on this EP!

Get it here!

I don’t know what it is but I just can’t get enough of dystopian vibes.. ∆ZTEK, from Chicago, delivers this intensely ominous track that instantly invokes images of an abandoned, industrial mega-city with a heavy, toxic atmosphere!

https://soundcloud.com/aztekbeats/dreary

But when it comes to trap, it can’t get any more dystopian and rough that what the 16 year old producer YUИG ΣIDYZ is doing. His thrillingly intense combination of suicidal death metal vocals with 808 drums and raw bass sounds are one of the most exciting underground music experiments I’ve heard in a while!

https://soundcloud.com/yungeidyz/god-how-can-you-let-this-happen-free-download

https://soundcloud.com/yungeidyz/you-never-said-goodbye

Also dystopian but in a very different way is the vaporwave inspired trap that I’ve been totally in love with over the last months. I could do a whole separate post on vaporwave and I most probably will do that soon but I like it too much to leave it out altogether from an underground-trap post like this one.

Like with witch-house, the relation between vaporwave and trap is all but straightforward. Sure, it often does combine 808 drums and BPM ranges of southern hiphop with electronic sounds, but does that make it trap? Musically, vaporwave can vary between slowed down 80s and 90s late-night commercial and mellow mall music to ‘deep trap’, and originally, the use of trap elements was very symbolical. As Jesse Brinkerhof, whom we will meet below, explained to me.. trap vibes in vaporwave symbolise the excessive luxury portrayed in commercial hiphop as a mirror of our consumerist society. Thence ‘vapor’-wave: the seductive, too-perfect things around us are nothing more than thin air, headed for collapse.. What made it all even more confusing is that the style & aesthetics developed in vaporwave have found their way into hiphop itself in the form of cloudrap and sadboy rap, now commonly associated with hip hop acts like Yung Lean, edited sad selfies in late-90’s internet style and Arizona Green Tea.

But no matter all the history and philosophical stuff, it has created an impressive musical sound that combines deep, lush synth pads, cheesy 80s and 90s commercial samples, trap drums and Japanese anime and kawaii elements in an impressive way. The little selection I made is not even a fraction of everything that’s out there and I haven’t researched it thoroughly enough to be sure that these are the most important names.. but just that you have an impression of the stuff that has been captivating me on soundcloud lately and which I would definitely love to see fusing with other global bass flavours!

3lll is a Japanese-American futurist who produces hyper-futuristic music, inspired by games and Japanese culture. Check out the preview for his upcoming EP, called ‘Holographic Pillar’. The title sharply captures the EP’s cyberdelic atmosphere, where the boundaries between the real and the virtual completely disappear.

https://soundcloud.com/3lll/sets/hall-of-primes-ep-coming-soon

But his most recent preview, a collab with the Las Vegas based producer FALCO, shows how close vaporwave can come to trap.. Check out this pumping banger that is totally cyberpunk and totally very swag at the same time!

Jesse Brinkerhof is a Dutch vaporwave-art specialist who coined the term ‘alter-trap’ as a new generation of trap music that blends the harsh reality of modern life as expressed in hip-hop with the experience of the internet, empty consumerism and teenage nostalgia. Musically this results in a kind of vaporwave that leans more heavily to the trap side, with a dark, dystopian edge. Just check out this playlist with six mindblowing examples of this exciting, vanguardistic sound!

https://soundcloud.com/jessebrinkerhof/sets/schouw

KillahMantis is a vaporwaver about whom I couldn’t find out any more information, but this cyberpunk-styled banger ‘Corrupted Data’ perfectly suits Jesse Brinkerhof’s idea of ‘alter trap’ and just had to be included!

https://soundcloud.com/killahmantis/corrupted-data

The London based producer HVRXLD pushes his music under the tag ‘artwave’. I haven’t researched a definition yet but it seems to be a less dystopian form of vaporwave that regards the hyper-perfect cyberworld with a stunning almost helpless type of awe..

https://soundcloud.com/savanh-phaophanit/neogene-hvrxld-rentaroexe

idle ≟, like HVRXLD another member of the 1NF1N1T1 Corp. collective, is again more dystopian in style.. the wonderful, subtly apocalyptic atmosphere of this tune feels like an approaching thunderstorm after a drowzy summer day..

BLACKVOODOO is a collective consisting of both producers and rappers that leans a bit more to the hiphop side and usually it’s hard to tell whether what you’re listening to should be classified as cloudrap, vaporwave or trap. One of the co-owners of the collective as well as one of my personal favourites GreyscaleSound. No matter how much I love these hyper-futuristic sounds, one of the problems with some vaporwave trap is that it starts sounding all the same after a while, but GreyscaleSound knows very well how to keep it diverse. Check out this sweet tune that is equally futuristic but now infused with a more vivid, deephouse flavoured groove!

https://soundcloud.com/greyscalesoundmassive/aqwav

I’ll finish with Ritchie Muir, a young, upcoming talent from Aberdeen (Scotland) with a very unique style. It’s kindof in between future beats, vaporwave and chill-trap yet at the same time different from all those, making subtle use of delicious percussion and chimes while going for much softer 808 drums. He’s best known for his beautiful rework of radiohead’s ‘Bloom’, which was successfully promoted to reach 15K plays and already exceeds 17K plays by now. Here some extra love from Generation Bass!

His latest release from a couple of weeks back, a collab with Ylla, has a slightly darker, tribal-ambient touch to it, which totally takes my breath and makes me replay it over and over again!

https://soundcloud.com/ritchiemuir/bloodline

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