Can romantic-themed pop be related to the harder trap style? The answer is “obviously yes”. The pursuit of economy of means and the constant reformulation of simplicity in pop are already defining features of the genre. Lately we’ve been hearing a lot of trap music everywhere, it seems like it’s been at the top of urban music for years, but this is not quite the case: trap has stabilised and is moving into a niche market that will take it out of the top of mainstream genres. Throughout this blog I will explain it to you.
As I say, this search for economy of means in pop is leading to a slow and no less experimental fusion with trap. Let’s look for a moment at some examples of current Anglo-Saxon music. Let’s look at Justin Bieber’s latest album, Changes, which mixes ryb with trap and that melismatic voice between pop and soul. Or Post Malone with Goodbies. Or Rita Ora with Let You Love Me. All pop; and all trap. Pop is always looking for the concept of fullness with the fewer elements the better. And what has this search ended in? Simple: a bass drum, a bass guitar, some mid-frequency ambient sounds and pop vocals. The result? The most absolute perfection ever seen in Anglo-Saxon pop, in that it achieves the extreme simplicity it has sought practically since its emergence.
In fact it’s not really pop that’s going the way of trap, the two have made a mutual rapprochement and are currently merging (although I’ll explain later how pop is much more permeable to change and how trap artists don’t want to sweeten their formulas). As I say, both genres are getting closer, but the defining features that will predominate are those of pop, so that in time trap will be encompassed within pop with tinges of different subcategories of hip hop (which in fact already exist outside the mix with trap specifically, highlighting artists such as Demi Lovato or Chris Brown in the case of rap). And the fact is that, if the singing traits and the type of harmony and melodic line of the voice are characteristic of pop – and despite the fact that the other elements belong to trap – the style is normally considered to be within the that the style falls into the pop category.
The themes of trap are also decisive when talking about a shift of the genre towards the “periphery of urban music”. The “gangster” theme of street life and drugs has never been popular, but in recent years it has become fashionable largely due to the counterculture given in the genre that brings us here. Also contributing to its enormous popularity has been trap’s excellent sound formula, which boasts the most bass-heavy sound that urban music genres have ever known, but it would be strange if it were mainstream forever, basically because all countercultural movements last a few years: we saw it with the beatniks and punk: youth are looking for ways to revolutionise or at least fantasise about the idea of revolution. These youth movements are also renewed and associated with different genres and types of mentality over the ages. So, when all this is over, trap will be in a good place, but Travis Scott will not be next to The Chainsmokers in the top 10, unless he changes his character and with it his style-lines towards something less obscure.that style falls into the pop category.
So, right now trap is on its way to stabilising in a recession as a genre after a small downturn. Trap is no longer at the peak of its popularity in Europe, and in the US it has been at that point for years, i.e. it is no longer at the top of its game in terms of popularity, but it is still very much present. And the future of trap as a strictly mainstream genre is very likely to be influenced by less obscure and more sweetened formulas, as in the case of mixing it with pop: songs with a pop format in the vocal parts, alternating some parts with trap base features, or pop vocals and trap rhythm-punch, as in the case of Justin Bieber.
As I said in the history section, this power in the bass of trap is something that the market has always been crying out for, and with the arrival of 808 everything has changed: unlike the lyrics or the characters of the genre,808 is here to stay. But it will stay, as I say, on condition that it remains inserted in formats whose themes are more sweetened and melodic (lyrics that exclude the dirty business of drugs, guns or money). In fact it is likely that if it continues in this vein it will find a way to apply it consistently to dancehall-808, zouk-808, etc. mixes at a mass level). Actually all this is already happening as I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, but over time it will become much more unilateral. It’s a natural process, practically Darwinian (?).
But then, will dark trap die? The fact that it’s going down in the mainstrem scene doesn’t mean it’s dying. If DaBaby doesn’t want to change his artistic product, he will continue to have an important place in the market, but he won’t be in the charts, unless in the boom era of pop with trap (which has not yet reached its zenith) he does a featuring with a big name artist in the genre.
Remember that you can buy a rap, trap, dembow, pop, r&b, dembow, reggaeton…instrumental! A la carte.
I hope you enjoyed this new blog, and as always I wish you the best music. I leave you also some blogs of similar topics below, see you next week!