It has been 2,036 days since Flosstradamus remixed Major Lazer’s “Original Don” and trap is almost already over. Dynasties don’t have to last a lifetime. No matter how brief, they still have the ability to define a generation, move a culture forward, and influence the future of pop.
Trap has spawned such international superstars as Diplo, RL Grime, the aforementioned Flosstradamus, and many more. In 2017, bass is currently owning the main stage at EDM festivals in North America.
The festival hierarchy is funny, yet defined.
You’ve got your grandfather headliners that aren’t really pushing the envelope but still command big slots and fees.
You’ve got your hard ticketed, mini-arena newcomers – mostly bass artists.
You’ve got the converted pop-Trap former 128 bpm arena guys.
You’ve got your tier 2 bass and trap guys taking all the old 128 spots from the fallout of big room “EDM.”
You’ve got the “up and comer” kids making the weird, new shit.
And then you’ve got everyone else. Littered through these frighteningly accurate archetypes are “Trap producers.” Some of them don’t know how close their run is to being over. Some of them are grandfathered in for life, have made it over the hump, and are here to stay.
But the Trapocalypse is here, and there is nothing you or I can do about it. I’m sorry you just got the hang of Abelton and you’ve got all the VSTs your idols use, you’re at the end of an era, and it may be too late to enter the realm of “Trap” as a producer and see success.
We’ve been here before. At least I have. It was 2014 and “big room house” was on its last dying legs after a half decade of bloated fees, and seas of fist pumping followings in multiple continents. “Big Room” was suddenly very nearly banished from (North American) EDM festivals, save a few pioneers who were able to cultivate cult-like followings and keep the music rolling.
128 had a problem though – Only Calvin and Guetta could really push it into the terrestrial radio space. And as I preach about the Trapocalypse, the end of festival trap as we know it…. Trap finds a way to stay alive in a way House always struggled to… through pop music.
Jack Ü changed the game in 2015 with their debut album. Trap music could be so much more. Would that extend its longevity? Absolutely, yes. Did it change the trajectory of the genre forever? Also yes. The Chainsmokers got the memo, made a hard copy of the formula and rode it to super pop stardom. Skrillex and Diplo of Jack Ü didn’t need their collab album to achieve the same status, but it did push them into the stratosphere.
And now this stratosphere is covered in pop-trap and it’s obvious that it’s the next thing to go… maybe. It’s still pop music after all, and regardless of its format, songs and albums live as long the populus and the charts keep them alive.
What we are seeing now, though, is the decline of festival trap, the peak of pop trap; and in typical cyclical music fashion, dubstep is replacing Trap as the new rage genre (it’s been here before) while trap music makes its cameo amongst the pop stars. With DJs being the new rock stars and trap music proving to be an easy conduit to Kiss FM and the like, maybe the Trapocalypse isn’t imminent after all. Still, the tides are changing, and the future of the “TRAP” genre in dance music is quite the mystery. Only time will tell.