Trap music was established in the early 2000s in Atlanta. The vision for trap music at the time was to be a platform for young people who were living in the city’s streets to express their struggles and come up. While simultaneously flexing about women, cars and jewelry. T.I. coined the term “trap music” when he released his sophomore album Trap Muzik. In 2005, producer Shawty Redd and Young Jeezy took a more preacher route to trap music. They started to make trap music more flashy. Gucci Mane and Zaytoven started banging out trap records over piano tracks that changed the tone of the genre that is still prevalent today and across the world. Fast forward to today, trap is not only extremely popular, it has given artists the blueprint to become rappers. Trap music gives artists the opportunity to express their life from what they think are ignored environments in society. Listeners are attracted to this gutter, flashy perspective.
In Africa, between 2010 and 2015 trap music reached international status and had its effect on South Africa. Africans maintain trap music’s main themes of flossing women, money and materialistic items. However, Africans put their own creative spin on trap music that incorporates new sounds and listeners can still hear the traditional local music in Afro trap. Artists mix English, French, Zulu, Swahili and other African languages into the music. For example, MHD, a 21 year old french rapper of Se shakir’s Na Guinean descent, dropped a vital trap song in 2015 called “Champions league”. He rapped over 808’s and Afro beats and had similar adlib styles as trap music from America. The Champions league reached 35 million views on the youtube. Another rising Afro-trap rapper is Nasty C, a 19-year-old from Durban, South Africa. On songs like“Juice Back”and “Hell Naw”, he uses American style of trap beats. Rapper Emtee, on “Roll up” raps over American trap beats but puts an African perspective on it when he switches between English and Zulu rhymes. “Roll up” is similar to Wiz Khalifa’s “We dem boyz”. However, in the song he connects back to his home country by rapping in South African indigenous languages, like IsiZulu. South African rapper eMTee (born Mthembeni Ndevu) was 11 when Trap music began to emerge from the deep south. However growing up in South Johannesburg, eMTee could connect to the same environment TI was rapping about. “I didn’t have a trap, I had a shack.” Emtee does a great job connecting what he witnesses in Soweto to the world depicted in the popular trap scene in the states. Emtee’s song, “Plug,” is as American trap as it gets with big bass lines, high time hi-hats and 808s. “Plug” is a real gutter song that lets the listeners in to Emtee’s street come up and the respect he has in his community.Emtee is apart of the “African Trap movement” (ATM) who are pioneers in the African trap scene. ATM mixes trap with South African music like Afropop, maskandi, mbaqanga and kwaito. The blend between the two sounds engages the South African audience with the American trap bass but familiarizes them with their local music. ATMs credit themselves for the blow up of African trap music. Emtee especially claims that he’s the king in the African trap music scene compared to MHD from France, who’s blow the sound to a more international level.Co founder of Book of Swag Hulane Twiice describes “Afro-Trap” as “it sounds America-centric, the stories are very local and relatable, hence the addition of native languages to sounds like trap.”The best rap artists in South Africa right now imitate America with the origin of trap sound but don’t receive backlash for it because the languages they rap in and the throwbacks to genres like kwaito. There is a lot more fusion of the South African and American worlds in these songs. Most Afro trap songs don’t contain strong political messages. Afro Trap allows Afro-descendants to feel represented in international pop culture. Similar to American trap music the music is accompanied with dance moves which makes it easier to learn the songs.