Spoiler: Gucci Mane is one of the creators.
Ever Considered Gucci Mane as the King of Trap Music? Well, that’s what he’s been calling himself on social media lately. His social media posts about being the inventor and King of trap music has triggered arguments about who invented trap music. Clearly, not everyone agrees with Gucci Mane, that’s why it’s created such a buzz. However, the question remains, who invented trap music?
This is a conversation for real fans and no one else. Even though trap music is all over the radio, there are misperceptions about the qualities that define the genre and these misconceptions will create arguments bigger than the “who is the best rapper alive?” discussion in the future. Trap music isn’t mentioning the word “trap” in a couple of lyrics or mentioning drugs, guns, and money while rapping about life in the trap. No! Trap music goes beyond that. Trap music is a vibe, it is a wave that can only be identified by the flow in it’s current.
Trap music isn’t identified by lyrics neither is it identified by the beat. It is identified by it’s sound. Many Trap artists have talked about topics like: love, heartbreak, family, and the life-transforming process of going from being broke to being rich. Kodak Black said “I gotta thank God for everything. It’s a miracle how you’ll wake up and your dreams right in your face”. Yet, he also said “I keep a 30 Clip but this a Glock 23. Think it’s sweet then come and see, I’ma demonstrate. Drop two ounces of codeine in my Minute Maid”. Two separate lyrics on separate songs—yet the same trap sound. Although, drugs, guns, money, and stories about the trap are solid hints that a song can be described as trap music, it doesn’t quite seal the deal. There’s a thin line between trap and rap despite the beat or lyrics, that’s why trap music has a unique sound. 2 Chainz’ flow on ‘Big amount’ (Rap) is different from his flow on ‘Door swangin’ (Trap). Trap music is more than triplet hi-hats, loud kicks, snappy snares and low end 808 bass samples. I like to describe the trap sound as a combination of Trance and rap. The trap contains beats which are psychedelic and trippy with a touch of electronic music mixed with hip-hop beats. Can you imagine T.I in 2003 rapping over Travis Scott’s ‘Sweet Sweet’ or 21 Savage’ ‘Thug Life’ and presenting a vibe that stinks of the trap sound we know? Neither could Gucci Mane in 2005.
The difference between T.I and Gucci Mane is that, Gucci found a way to master the trap sound and that’s why he’s more of a trap artist than T.I is. Infact, T.I is no trap artist. He is a rapper. How bizarre does it sound, that the “Inventor” of trap music isn’t a trap artists. Respect will be given to T.I though, and his name will be mentioned in the history of trap music as the first to include the word “Trap ” in an album title. He also did talk about the trap a lot on that album. Yet, he doesn’t qualify to be called a rap artist.
Another misconception about Trap music is “mumble rap ”. Mumble rap is not a separate genre or category, it is trap music. In fact it is Trap music at its peak. Mumble rap is the Trap sound you get when your favorite Trap artists are high off the cup of lean or drugs they have with them in the studio. It’s also the sound you get when they’re still high on the previous day’s mixture. Now that those misconceptions have been addressed, let’s talk about the “Inventors” of trap music.
Many scream T.I and Gucci Mane, a few others mumble the name of Young Jeezy. Surprisingly none of those rappers invented the trap music we know. People didn’t start calling trap music ‘Trap music’ because of T.I’s ‘Trap Muzik’ or Gucci Mane’s ‘Trap House’. The word “Trap” in the album titles only explained their personal stories living in the trap and not defining an entire genre. Certainly, their names will never go unmentioned in the history of trap music but they didn’t invent trap music. Ever listened to T.I’s ‘Trap Muzik’ album, or Gucci Mane’s ‘Trap House’ and compared it to any of the trap sounds in 2011? You should. There is a huge difference. He’s like the architect in the history of trap music while Gucci Mane plays the roles of both the engineer (not pioneer) and surveyor. Gucci Mane has been a consistent figure in trap music because he was able to blend his lyrics easily with various trap sounds as they evolved. If you notice, Gucci Manes vibe on ‘Trap House‘ is different from the current vibe he presents. For example, his rap-like flow on ‘Hustle’ is substantially different from his solid trap rhythm on ‘I get the bag’. Until he became one of the best trap artists, he delivered great music as a rapper (which he still does). T.I and Gucci Mane have been put in their respective seats on the high table, but who invented trap music?
No one invented trap music! However, if we really want to pin the invention on someone, we’ll be pinning it on more than one person. The trap sound wasn’t invented until 2011. At different seasons in that year, certain artists separately presented what we know as Trap Music. Waka Flocka Flame, Future, Chief Keef, Rich Homie Quan and GUCCI MANE presented the trap sound on mixtapes they released that year. Future’s ‘True Story’ and Chief Keef’s ‘Bang’ were their first mixtapes in which they presented a raw version of trap music. Meanwhile, after several individual projects, Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame finally contributed a solid trap album ‘Ferrari Boyz’ to the music world. Gucci Mane might have failed to create the trap sound on his first album, but he was always made for the trap sound, especially with his lyrics. That is why, today he can easily flow with the new generation of trap artists. There is no new feature the trap sound or artists can present that Gucci Mane can’t adapt to. The Trap sound was formed in 2011 and became fully developed in 2012 with more artists like Young Thug, Travis Scott, Rich Homie Quan and 2 Chainz joining the team.
The Trap sound has since 2011 continued to evolve especially with the emergence of new artists, and producers. Trap music is a malleable art form that embraces all kinds of personalities and styles, connecting people who otherwise wouldn’t be connected. Arguing for the ownership of that is wrong. It would be mind-numbingly tedious if we had to perform the daunting task of finding out who invented every genre and sub-genre in music. T.I and Gucci Mane will always be acknowledged for their contributions to the sub-genre, but neither of them invented trap music.