By: Adam Pasternak
This article was written on Friday, January 27th, 2017
It’s Friday, January 27, 2017 and trio of “trappers” from North Atlanta are being dubbed “this generation’s Beatles”, and I don’t disagree.
Music, in general, is fascinating for so many reasons – my favourite being that it is timeless. As the world evolves, so does music. It also seems that for every new generation, there is a new form of music (that the older generations usually refer to as garbage). When rock and roll first started out, it was rebellious and promoted all of the things parents didn’t. You know the saying, “Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll”. Rock was the youth’s music, and it was an art type that only the youth could relate to. After rock, the same thing happened with my generation and rap music. It promoted a lifestyle that as kids, we weren’t supposed to want, but we listened to it anyway. And now 20 years later, while the genre is more socially accepted then ever before, the latest youth generation is going through the same transition with trap music.
I’m not gonna lie, I used to hate trap music. I had no respect for artists who used auto-tune, even hating Yeezus because of Kanye’s over use of the voice effect. But over the last few years, I’ve realized that there really is more to trap music than being from Atlanta and using auto-tune. The trap movement has definitely caught on as of late, and I can’t help but see similarities to when I was a kid and how rap become socially accepted over the course of my 20 years in this world.
I developed a passion for music at an early age, being introduced to the music of my fathers generation (rock and roll), and even took up the guitar. When I was only 5 years old, my favourite DVD to watch in my dad’s car was The Last Waltz, and my favourite song was Crocodile Rock by Elton John. I was too young to really develop an opinion on music, let alone discover music on my own, and so my adopted favourite type of music was obviously rock. But as I got older, there became more and more ways to discover music, and that’s when I found out I was a rap fan.
Rap music was on its way up in the early 2000’s and thanks to MTV, I was introduced to 50-Cent at the ripe age of 9. My father never told me what I could or couldn’t like as a kid and I was lucky enough that he always would support and help me pursue my passions, regardless of what they were. At age 9, my passion was rap. Within a week of discovering 50-Cent, I was wearing G-Unit clothing and dragging my dad to HMV to by his latest album at the time, The Massacre. (Looking back on this now, my dad must have thought this was hilarious – a white, Jewish 9 year old kid, wearing a flat-brim Lakers hat, baggy sweatpants and Air Force 1’s, strolling into HMV to buy the latest 50-Cent album). Even though the gun-shots in the opening of the song “Many Men”, scared me shitless, I loved the album and decided right then and there that I was a fan of rap music. My mother was definitely not a fan of this, as I started to incorporate some of the rap slang into my every day speech. “Aiiii” was a big one for me. It definitely made saying “alright” or “ok” a lot more fun. She also hated the swearing and vulgar lyrics, and so I used to have to listen to my rap music almost secretly. In some shape or form, I think every kid who was fan of rap music back then was going through the same thing. But eventually, the rap movement caught on, and even my parents became fans. I’ll never forget the drive to Shabbat dinner when my parents belted out every word to Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg’s stoner anthem, “Young, Wild and Free,” or when my dad came home from work one day and told me his favourite song was “Mojo So Dope” by Kid Cudi. It took rock and roll time to become socially accepted, same with rap when I was young, and same with trap right now. I’m not saying my dad is going to come home one day and tell me he discovered Migos and that he loves them (though I hope he does), but there will be a day when trap music is socially accepted, and I think that day is coming sooner then you might think thanks to a little thing called the Internet.
Nowadays, we don’t go to stores to buy CD’s – shit, we don’t even have CD’s anymore. Instead of CD’s, we now have streaming services. As I mentioned, technology has evolved so much and has allowed us to discover much more music at a much faster rate, that we no longer really need things like MTV or VH1 to influence what music we listen to. Social media is essentially now where you go to both discover music, or to have your music discovered. If you make a catchy song with a stupid dance, you’ll probably be famous one day (Nae Nae, Dougie, Ju Ju – the list goes on). If you throw bricks of cocaine into crowds at your concerts and have AK-47’s tattooed on your face, you guessed it, you’ll probably be famous in some shape or form (shout-out to Stitches). My point is, trap music is a result of the time in which we live in, a time where social media rules the world.
Nothing in life can stay stagnant, not even music. Just like computers, cars, phones, etc., have evolved over the years, so has music. And just like those things will never cease to innovate, neither will music. There are only so many chord progressions you can play on any given instrument. As life goes on, it’s going to be harder and harder for artists to create “new” music. It takes creative geniuses to do this. It takes guys who use auto-tune to make their voices into instruments. I used to think the whole auto-tune thing was a bunch of bull-shit, but through the help of Future and Migos, I have come to realize how innovative and creative they really are. Yes, it corrects their pitch and makes them sound robotic, but you can’t just sing anything into the mic and make it sound good. Take this video of Travis Scott recording “Skyfall”, for example. We hear him singing into the mic (around 1:49) in his natural voice, and then we hear the end result with auto-tune later on. It really isn’t that different, but the effect on the voice gives it the spooky sound it needs to compliment the spooky-ness of the beat. Put me in that booth with auto-tune, and I bet you it sounds like shit. Point is, I was wrong. Not just anyone can use auto-tune and make good music – it actually takes talent and creativity.
When I first came across trap music three years ago, I thought it was a joke. “How could anyone actually like this garbage?” I sounded like my grandparents talking about Jay-Z. Fast forward to today: the first thing I did when I woke up was listen to the new Migos album, Culture.
What do you think about the evolution of music? Comment your thoughts below!
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