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Friday, April 21 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Trap Rap’s Crossover Into Mainstream Pop

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Trap music started as a subgenre of Atlanta hip-hop that gained popularity in the early 2000s. Although rappers like Backbone and OutKast of the Dungeon Family rapped about the dangers of getting caught up in the dramatics and consequences of the trap as a form of drug culture, it wasn’t until rapper T.I. and his second album Trap Muzik that the trap was branded with a life and sound of its own. The southern hip-hop interpretation of the trap was a lyrically and sonically grimy space, consisting of stark bass lines, synthesizers, and low-pitched vocals. Trap rappers amplified if not celebrated the trap’s gritty reality as a reflection of the post-Civil Rights Black South, a far cry from the previous generation of Atlanta rappers’ rendering of the trap as a warning. This is significant, considering how Trap music served as an oppositional statement to Atlanta’s burgeoning position as an international hub. There are now generations of trap rappers, including ‘first generation’ artists like T.I.P., Young Jeezy, Yo Gotti, and Gucci Mane to newer Trap rappers like Pill, Future, Migos, and Fetty Wap.

Our roundtable panel is interested in how Trap Music has crossed over from its southern hip-hop roots into other areas of popular culture like EDM and Pop Music. From fleeting references to the Trap a la Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap” or giving street cred to pop artists i.e. Katy Perry for “Dark Horse,” the Trap has become mobile and decentered from its original intentions. What are the requirements to define a piece of music or culture as ‘trap?’ How does region and musical preference influence how one listens to and defines trap music? Ultimately, our panel seeks to trace Trap’s transition from a musical and cultural statement of southern hip-hop into its current state as a frivolous accessory/moment in popular music and culture.

avatar for Regina N. Bradley

Regina N. Bradley

Twitter | | Regina N. Bradley is Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. She writes about race and sound, hip-hop, and the post-Civil Rights Black American South. Her first book, Chronicling Stankonia: OutKast and the Rise of the Hip-hop South, is forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press. She can be reached at redclayscholar.com or via Twitter @redclayscholar. | | Roundtable: Trap... Read More →

avatar for Fredara Mareva Hadley

Fredara Mareva Hadley

Fredara Mareva Hadley is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology at Oberlin College specializing in African American music and popular music. Hadley has presented work at numerous major conferences and been published in the Encyclopedia of African American Music, Okayplayer, and Urb magazine. In addition to her research, Hadley founded Jooksi, a company that provides music education classes for the public, and music-based walking tours of New York City. | | Roundtable: Trap... Read More →
avatar for Jack Hamilton

Jack Hamilton

Twitter | | Jack Hamilton teaches in the departments of American Studies and Media Studies at the University of Virginia and is the author of Just around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination (Harvard University Press, 2016). He is also the pop critic for Slate magazine, where he writes about music, sports, and other areas of culture. He is currently working on a cultural history of inhuman musical instruments since 1970... Read More →

Marco Pavé

Twitter | | Marco Pavé is Project Pat meets KRS-ONE. Spitting an urban country consciousness with a confidence that could only emerge from coming of age as a Muslim Milllennial in North Memphis. As a rapper and songwriter, Marco Pavé appeals to a diversity of rap enthusiasts, from purists to radio lovers to hipsters, with a soulful style of hip-hop storytelling and community engagement that appeals to racial and geographically diverse millennial audiences... Read More →
avatar for Zandria F. Robinson

Zandria F. Robinson

Zandria F. Robinson writes on Southern hip-hop, the urban South, and Black feminist themes in the work of Black women popular culture artists. Her book, This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South is an ethnographic and pop examination of the intersections of race, class, gender, and region in Black identity. Robinson teaches sociology at Rhodes College, blogs at... Read More →

Friday April 21, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Learning Labs MoPOP, 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109