The Rise of “Traplanta”


Nethra Pillai

21 Savage Concert at the Tabernacle on August 21.

Atlanta is the birthplace of trap music. “Trap could be a block outside…Trap music is the reflection of the trap. [People] getting shoot outs in the trap. [People] die in the trap… Trap is your hustle,” explained 21 Savage, a rapper from Decatur.

21 Savage has been one of the many trap artists that have unexpectedly risen to the likes of mainstream hip hop. Last month, he held his first concert in Atlanta. His hit singles, “X” and “No Heart,” released in 2016 as a part of his album Savage Mode, and began solidifying his fan base. His music reflects his rough and humble beginnings in Atlanta.

At a young age, he became involved in gang violence, which was ultimately the cause of the death of his brother, and a few months later, his best friend. He narrowly escaped the gunfight with six gunshot wounds. It was after this incidence that 21 Savage began focusing on rapping.  

His rise to fame began with the release of mixtapes “The Slaughter Tape” and an EP “Free Guwop,” in which trap artist Gucci Mane was featured. 21 Savage’s work with rappers and producers including Gucci Mane, Sonny Digital, and more recently, Metro Boomin, helped establish him under the hip hop subgenre of trap music.

The subgenre originating in the early 90’s, especially with groups such as Outkast and Ghetto Mafia. What tied these artists together was often the subject of inner city life, and finding ways to make money, most commonly drug dealing. But trap music was on the verge of widespread recognition only in the 2000’s.

T.I. and Young Jeezy, both from Atlanta, are considered pioneers of trap music, giving the subgenre rise to a greater outreach. T.I. views himself as the founder of trap music, as he has stated in a few interviews he had given this year.”There were people that came on and enforced it and kind of spread the genre out and gave it wings and life beyond its origins. But if you go back to who truly started it, I must humbly say myself.”

However, recent artists such as Migos, Future, and 21 Savage have topped the Billboard charts several times withtheir albums and singles. Migos, a rap group from Lawrenceville, rose to fame after featuring Drake in their single “Versace,” but their biggest success was last year, with their released single “Bad and Boujee,” which resonated as number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

But it isn’t only trap artists from Atlanta who have been rising to fame. Producer Metro Boomin is one of, if not the, biggest producers in hip hop. He started making beats for many underground artists, until he began commuting to Atlanta to work with OJ da Juiceman. All the while aiming for honor roll grades, and even attending Morehouse College. He has great versatility, working with a variety of artists, from young talent Lil Uzi Vert to hip hop veteran Kanye West.

The trap music scene distinguishes itself with its synthetic beats, dance rhythms, and lyricism. What brings it together is the cohesiveness and unity- there is always collaborations and room for featuring new talent.