In 2017 we constantly hear the millennial’s voice “that’s the old (insert rapper) shit” before they ever even digested the track they were playing. In a way, they remind me of internet vultures that fly in the form of a refresh logo circling over DatPiff.com, looking for their “new new”—while picking apart what they deem to be outdated in the comments section. Why did the gestation period for rap disappear?
Headlining SXSW at legendary Stubb's BBQ is a big job in itself. Possibly a much bigger job—Making Trap Great Again, which was also the title of the Atlantic Records’ showcase this past weekend. Before the three controversial words are blown wildly out of proportion and are found to be synonymous with supporting the current President elect, they don’t, at all, one bit.
There definitely is some fun to be had with the title—most of these Atlantic Records rappers are pioneers of the genre, responsible for bringing trap to mainstream media at a time where there was a definite drought. Currently, it’s important to notice the partition in the genre, created by EDM. To paraphrase and keep things simple, Trap Rap is derivative of Trap House—a house essentially used a pasta strainer, for non taxed income (pretty good right?). Which is why kitchen references come in abundance, when the rapper shares the difficult angles from their life, in an overall documentary-like narrative. EDM Trap in a nutshell—are remixes of the former, which extends back to the four roots of hip-hop, mostly citing sampling with embellishments and originality on top, and surprise—electronic music. The Making Trap Great Again showcase in a sense, brought the focal point and attention back to rap, a return to form.
Atlantic Records’ SXSW showcase was a celebration, announcing its record label titled 1633, a new home to the artist performing that night, reflective of the company’s Manhattan address. Though the umbrella over the show was Trap, each artists brought their own eclectic signature to the over capacity crowd. Re-looking at the line up, I’m not really sure how the order of performance was chosen, no one was truly “opening” for anyone. If anything, it was the symbiosis of 1633 at play—stemming from the core DNA of Trap Music, but not without a few pop polished corners on some rough edges.
There was an electricity in the air. Growing up in in South Florida it’s easy to be attuned to certain atmospheric events and the proceeding weather—hurricanes. Which is what it felt like throughout the night, knowing Gucci Mane was going to close. His story proceeds himself, literally there’s a story before his story—Mr. Zone 6, East Atlanta Santa, Guwop, La Flare, list goes on. SXSW would mark new history for Gucci, the first festival he’d perform at. Naturally, the anticipation would proceed itself. In the blink of an eye— the cheers from outside moved at the speed of light to my ears ... before the iPhone flashes got to my eyes, he was on stage. If you know Gucci, then you know he played All White Bricks and then moved into some of his later work, it was everything we were waiting for.
Backstage congrats were well in order. Every artist was surprised with an Opening Ceremony Varsity Jacket, embroidered by our resident in-house team as a thank you for performing, customized with each artist’s nickname and 1633’s logo. Making Trap Great Again, actually happened, and was a cohesive team effort by the artists, Atlantic, and Tidal staff. But to circle back ...Trap has always been great. It might’ve taken some new avenues, explored by new subgenres ... yadda yadda. But sometimes, making something great just means letting Gucci Mane pick up where he left off.