2016 is only halfway through, and we’ve already seen the release of some of the most incredible work out of several trap producers’ respective careers. The evolution of trap music over the last few years, in our opinion, has been one of the most exhilarating and substantial movements in all of dance music, and has left the lovers of the genre with endless and ever-broadening avenues to explore. From the hardest and most commercial festival trap meant to demolish crowds of thousands, to intimate and soulful rhythms that breach almost entirely into hip hop or R&B while retaining the swagger and drive that defines the genre, trap music is truly experiencing a time of renaissance.
This year, the boundaries of bass music were pushed further than they ever have been before, resulting in a golden season of releases and exciting developments. Even though we could make a list of hundreds and hundreds of worthy producers, we at Your EDM have decided to filter all of this year’s amazing talent into a list of five worthy holders of the title, “Best Trap Artist of 2016.”
Factoring in their recent releases, presence on some of the world’s largest event lineups, prominence in media and in mentions from other artists, and general reception from the genre’s most dedicated fan bases, we feel that the list serves as an accurate look into what it means to be a listener of trap at this present moment. Below, you’ll find an ascending roster of the cream of the crop, and an example of our favorite (and recent) tracks.
But first we want to know who you think, of our top 4, will be the best trap artist of 2016. Let us know via the Twitter poll below:
Who will be the top trap artist of 2016?
— Your EDM (@YourEDM) May 21, 2016
There’s no need to beat around the bush with our first choice. Herobust has been absolutely killing it this year. His I’m Aloud EP was released through Mad Decent three months ago, and has remained one of the most fluid, well produced records of the year. Each track represents a unique blend of styles and influences, all beautifully woven together to form hard hitting and bombastic heaters that have brought festivals and clubs alike to their knees. Below, you’ll find the first off of the EP: a hybrid trap song with elements of hip hop, dubstep, future bass and more. What a f**king banger.
4. DJ Snake
Ever since his debut into the scene with originals “Bird Machine” and “You Know You Like It,” alongside his now-classic remix of Kanye’s “New Slaves” and others, DJ Snake has been on a continual rise to the highest echelons of bass music stardom. His collaborations with Diplo and Dillon Francis rocketed him toward international recognition, giving his presence the caliber now worthy of an Ultra headlining slot. Despite his size as an artist, we feel that DJ Snake’s inclusion on this list is a necessary one, especially when you remember releases like “Propagana,” linked below.
What a year it’s been for NGHTMRE. On top of his major collaboration with Dillon Francis, he’s received the chance to tour the world and unload official remixes of RL Grime, Tommy Trash and many more. His NGHTMRE EP, released earlier this year, contains some of the most explosive and memorable tracks of the era. Hearing his work played out at events both trap-oriented and otherwise is a good sign that his reach and influence will extend long past the careers of those like him.
2. Mr. Carmack
This one’s a no-brainer, guys. Mr. Carmack has treated 2016, like every year, with a shroud of mystique and anticipation. From removing all of his material off of his Soundcloud (not like most of it was on there anyway) to uploading a more than 50-track EP through physical USBs handed out to and uploaded by patrons at a pop-up Soulection clothing shop, Carmack’s unconventional and often anxiety-inducing methods have developed his listeners into a kind of cult following. We clamor on Reddit threads for any new sign of potential IDs, we trade sketchy downloads and rips of his best tracks like Pokemon cards, and we treat seeing him live as if it was a religious experience. All of it, however, stems from the truly unmatched and natural production that he puts into every song. Below, we’ve attached an oldie, but a serious goodie.
1. RL Grime
Finally, we come to the number 1: Dad himself, RL Grime. It says a lot, in the trap realm, when the most populated and recognized thread on Reddit, r/trap, dedicates their entire page and all of the subscribers’ uploads to you for days at a time. It says even more when you can step onto any festival stage, anywhere in the world, and expect the crowd to be filled to the absolute brim, anxious and ready to be thrown on a mind blowing joyride through what’s sure to be the most inclusive and blissful sectors of the trap circuit. RL Grime’s domination over the bass scene is rivaled by few, as he mimics the live show aura of people like Flume; each drop and snare is essential and accompanied by unique visuals, allowing the spectacle and scale of his performances to outshine almost anyone else in the scene. Despite his rather sparse collection of releases in 2016, his hold over the community and the genre hasn’t gone anywhere. Listen to a 2014 favorite below.