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Trap is a sub-genre originating in the '90s from Southern hip-hop. It is characterized by its ominous lyrics and beats with sub-divided hi-hats, Roland TR-808 kicks, layered synths and “cinematic” strings. This sub genre may have originated from Southern hip-hop in the '90s—its name “trap” coming from “trap dealings”—but it rose to fame in 2012 when EDM producers such as Diplo, RL Grime, and Baauer used elements of trap in their work.

Many trap songs were popularized Internet memes. Remember Baauer's “Harlem Shake”? That was a song turned YouTube fad in 2013, whose trending videos pushed the song to become the first trap song to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. That same year, Lady Gaga would incorporate trap styles in her song “Jewels 'n' Drugs” and Katy Perry would do the same with “Dark Horse.”

A well-known trap song is 2014's “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Li'l Jon, which Rolling Stone named the second best song of the year. Trap recently sunk its way back into hip-hop as well as EDM, in 2015 with Fetty Wap's “Trap Queen,” then in 2016 with Desiigner's “Panda.” Internet memes would assist in the popularity of some trap singles such as Gucci Mane's “Black Beatles,” thanks to the Mannequin Challenge. In a June 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, rapper 2 Chains said, “We're the pop stars. Trap rap is pop now. People's ears have adjusted to what we have to say and how we say it.”

 

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