The Emergence of Trap Music:
Trap music is a genre that steamed from Southern Hip-Hop and ‘crunk’. The term epitomizes the lyrical content and trademark sound incorporating 808 sub-bass, kick drums, sped-up hi hats, layered synthesizers, and cinematic strings. The lyrics in trap music are prominently based on the struggles to becoming successful by drug dealing.
Some of the first rappers to introduce trap music were Three 6 Mafia and UGK. Artist such as T.I, Young Jezzy, and Gucci Mane (to name a few) helped enhance the notoriety of genre. As a result, the brewing phenomenon began to appear on local mixtapes and radio stations.
Trap music is more than just a musical genre. Trap music is a lifestyle, that focuses on the struggle within the streets of those who live in less ideal neighborhoods. The term “Trap” was originally used to describe a place where drug deals were made. The influence of the music is relatable to those who have experienced the struggle, and are looking to make money by any means necessary (typically by selling drugs) in order to rise above their uncomfortable situations.
Let’s face it- not everybody will graduate with a college degree and go off to becoming a doctor or a lawyer. Many people are raised in environments where their main everyday goal is to simply survive. Besides being the average nickel and dime drug dealer, trap music is the voice of the local community heavy weights who are viewed as the “Hood Stars”. The real OG heavy weights are considered more than just “trappers”. Though they aren’t society’s consideration of “elite”, they are indeed influential in the eyes of the young bucks that are coming up under them. It gives the youngsters a sense of hope that they too will one day accelerate past their poverty stricken communities.
This ideology commonly applies to young black men in low income communities. Although the idea of “trap” isn’t viewed in the most positive light, it is usually the only option for a young male who is seeking to accommodate his family with financial security – in conjunction to living a preferred lavish lifestyle. It’s never easy being raised in poverty. Society often enforces that one must excel in school in order to become successful- but how can one focus on going to school when they are faced with some major obstacles at such a young age? Another factor that comes into play, is that youngsters are categorized according to their materialistic appearance. “When you look good you feel good” and some children are not fortunate enough to be provided with the “extra” things, which often times discourages them from attending school.
Honestly, people who are raised in these communities do not have the leverage to focus on achieving dreams, some don’t even have the basic foundation that are usually set out by parents. Nine times out of ten their parents are also struggling, or maybe they live in a single parent home usually raised by a mother which (often times) forces the growing male to feel as though it is his duty to go out and provide in order to contribute to the household. So they try to break out of the cycle by making a vow to themselves to – GET THIS MONEY.
It is an unfortunate but understandable cycle. I’m not advocating that “It’s okay to go out and sell drugs…”, but what are the choices left for these young men when their backs are up against the wall? Instead of consistently criticizing and complaining about how our young black men in urban communities either end up “dead or in jail” more should be done to help save them. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of educated and successful “brotha’s” out there… but not enough of that is being displayed and promoted.
What do you think should be done in order to change the cycle?
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