In 2020 the genre trap music has a debatable definition. To some, itâs a subgenre of EDM that fuses dubstep and techno beats with Roland TR-808 drum samples, but to others, itâs a style of hip hop music that originated in the south during the late 1990s. The term trap itself is used to describe a place where drugs are sold, otherwise known as a trap house. Combining chopped and screwed instrumentals over 808s and synthesizers-infused beats with lyrics about slanging drugs, living in the hood, and attaining wealth, trap music was born. From Ghetto Mafia and Dungeon Family to T.I. and Gucci Mane, trap music is indisputably southern. Below weâve gathered 20 of our favorite trap artists and the songs that put them on top of the trap game.
Breakthrough songs: 24âs and Letâs Get AwayÂ
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, arguably the home of original trap music, T.I. is often referred to as The King of Trap in the music world. His top-selling 2003 album, Trap Muzik, sold 10,000 copies in its first week and debuted at number fourÂ on the US Billboard 200.
Breakthrough songs: Freaky Gurl and IcyÂ
Gucci Mane is another rapper from Atlanta whoâalong with T.I. and Jeezyâis widely known for coining trap music.Â His notable mixtape releases and album drops have earned him respect and legendary presence in the Atlanta music scene often noted as an influence by several younger Atlanta rappers.Â
Breakthrough song: Soul Survivor and I Luv ItÂ
The final member of âthe trap trioâ is Jeezy, also hailing from Atlanta. Jeezy has been a major name in trap music since the release of his 2005 debut album Letâs Get It: Thug Motivation 101 â arguably one of the greatest trap albums of all time.
Breakthrough song: HustlinÂ
From Clarksdale, Mississippi and growing up in Carol City, Florida, Rick Ross has gone from topping the charts of Billboard to running his own record label, Maybach Music Group. His chart-topping track âHustlinâ perfectly exemplifies what it means to be a trapper, or in Rossâ words, a hustler.Â
Breakthrough songs: I Donât Like and Love SosaÂ
Generating over 30 million views on YouTube, âI Donât Likeâ and âLove Sosaâ not only made aÂ name for Chief Keef, but also made a name for drill, a Chicago subgenre within trap music. The Chi-town rapperâs debut song caught the likes of Kanye West who then remixed âI Donât Like,â landing it a spot on Billboardâs Rap Top 20 in 2012.Â Â
Breakthrough songs: One NightÂ
Also known as Lil Boat, Yachty grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and is considered one of Young Thugâs many prodigies. His ATLien southern twang and use of slang words is a more upbeat and lighthearted form of trap music that has become popular during the last few years.
Breakthrough song: WorkÂ
A member of ASAP Mob, Ferg may originate from the east coast but still has trap roots infused in his musical spread. In a 2013 interview with GQ, the art student-turned-rapper said, âA trap lord is basically the lord of the trap, and my trap is rap.â
Breakthrough songs: Red Opps and X
Born in London but raised in Atlanta, 21 Savage rose to fame with his 2015 mixtape âThe Slaughter Tape.â With themes of struggle and street life, 21 started rapping after he was shot six times on his 21st birthday, nearly losing his life from the attack.
Breakthrough song: Drip Too Hard and Yes Indeed
One of Young Thugâs proteges, Lil Baby is the epitome of modern Atlanta trap music. In just two short years, the 25-year-old rapper grew to fame after the debut of his studio album, âHarder Than Ever,â which ranked at number 3 on the US Billboard 200 charts in 2018.
Breakthrough songs: Magnolia and Woke Up Like This.
Signed to ASAP Mob’s AWGE Label and Interscope Records, Playboi Carti has been described as the perfect mix between Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty. Often labeled as a mumble rapper, his playful and melodic music has earned him collabs with Solange, Tyler The Creator, and Young Nudy.
Breakthrough song: MagicÂ
Another trap artist emerging from Atlanta is Future. Popularly known for his legendary song âMarch Madness,â Future centers his auto-tuned vocals around stories of drug use, lavish living, and female companions. It doesnât get more trap than that.
Breakthrough song: No Lie
The artist behind the 2017 album âPretty Girls Like Trap Music,â 2 Chainz is no stranger to the sub-genre. In an interview with The View, the rapper said â…trap music is kinda defined as low socioeconomic background music where you have to hustle to get out,â further proving his firsthand knowledge of the history of trap.
Breakthrough song: Money LongerÂ
Lil Uzi Vert falls under many categories: alternative hip hop, emo rap, punk rap, and of course, trap. While his beats are less similar than your traditional trap beat, Uziâs lyrical content places many of his releases under the sub-genre. Even more, his sound is paving the way for the EDM trap sub-genre mostly composed of rapping flow, dubstep beats, and a hip hop instrumental.
Breakthrough song: Hard In The PaintÂ
The rapper behind “O Let’s Do It”, “Hard in da Paint”, and “No Hands”, Waka Flaka is, of course, from Atlanta. Just as he raps in “O Let’s Do It”, Waka makes âdrug dealin’ musicâ with topics ranging from the types of drugs he whips up to women loving him for his money and flashy lifestyle. His music has gained popularity as nostalgic and notable songs in the trap music world, resulting in fans of all different backgrounds.
Breakthrough song: Trap QueenÂ
From Paterson, New Jersey, Fetty Wap rose to trap fame after the release of his song âTrap Queen.â The single reached number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and started a crossover of trap music in the pop music scene with its vibrant and animated beat and catchy lyrics.
Breakthrough song: StonerÂ
Making his way onto the list of trap legends, Thugger has been coined as a leader of young trap rappers like Gunna, Lil Keed, Lil Baby, and more. Growing up in Atlanta, Young Thug developed a unique rapping style made of blending southern vernacular, slurred words, and whiny tones.
Breakthrough song: VersaceÂ
The rap trio from Atlanta who successfully broke through into mainstream music is none other than Migos. Composed of Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset, and managed by Coach K, the former manager of Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, Migos has contributed top hits to the trap scene like âHandsome and Wealthy,â âMotorsport,â âBad and Boujee,â and more.
Breakthrough song: YSLÂ
Another rapper from Georgia, Gunna is signed to YSL Records and mentored by the labelâs owner, Young Thug himself. Featured on several songs with Young Thug, itâs no surprise the young rapperâs music style is highly compared to Thuggerâs, instantly landing him in the trap sub-genre.
Breakthrough songs: Wipe Me Down and Set It Off
One of a kind Boosie Badazz, formerly known as Lil Boosie, has a sound like no other. Hailing from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the rapperâs music surrounds life in the hood, violence, flashy purchases, and pulling women, while still following some pretty emotional and vulnerable themes. Incomparable to many, Boosie has earned a legendary spot in the world of trap music.
Breakthrough songs: Tell Me Something GoodÂ
You canât mention trap music without paying homage to UGK. The iconic duo made up of Bun B and Pimp C is one of the most legendary southern rap groups that highly influence what trap music is in 2020. Their story-telling tracks were gritty, chopped, and screwed; a sound that hadnât been heard before. Furthermore, they created a raw and vivid picture for listeners to fully imagine what it was like to live, survive and hustle in the streets.Â