Trap Eastern Cape

If anything, we can agree on one thing: that among other places, trap music has found a home in EC. As a sub-genre, it originated during the 1990’s from Southern hip hop in the Southern United States. An equivalent could be the revolutionary rise of Kwaito in South Africa – also a project of the late 80’s, early 90’s.

At an event last weekend, called Trap vs. Gqom – where Scoop Makhathini and Stilo Magolide made an appearance, it was clear that even more – Trap music has a home in Port Elizabeth. One might also assume that because trap as a sound is from the 90’s, it was meant for exactly that kind: 90’s babies – vibey and saucey!

To cut a short story shorter – the dance floor at Gondwana saw it all. Lol, the losing of morals, the carefree dance moves, the dancing at the same spot because you’re tired but the music’s too catchy. Everything, the floor felt and saw it all. But then again, it is exactly this kind of vibe and interaction with the sound (trap) that is also influencing hip hop artists in EC. Though the vibe is infused with Xhosa slang and mannerisms (naturally) – it pretty much still subscribes to Trap basics:

  1. 1/3 hip hop – tempo and song structure, with vocals sometimes pitched down.
  2. 1/3 dance music – high pitched dutch synth work, hard style sampling, as well as a plathora of trap remixes of popular music EDM songs (in our case – Kwaito and SA’s old skool rnb).
  3. 1/3 dub – low frequency focus and strong emphasis on repetitiveness throughout a song. Our dub step may as well be Maskandi music – which a lot of national artists like Okmalumkoolkat, are always keen to incorporate into their music.

The term ‘trap’ initially referred to places where drug deals take place. And interestingly enough, Kwaito is a contraction of an Isicamtho word, Amakwaaitosi, derived from Afrikaans word Kwaai. Okay so what I’m saying is this: Kwaito comes from Amakwaaitosi and amakwaaitosi means ‘gangster’. This may as well point to the clear fact that such music as trap and kwaito (to relate it to SA context) is not created for the faint-hearted. Gondwana proved this. However, there are instances when one (myself included) cannot help but fall in love with trap, especially when it has a kind twist to it. EC hip hop artists have adopted the ‘trap soul’ vibe which pays mind to Love, Lust, Trials, Tribulations and Desires – things we all can relate to. This is an element that allows artists (within the sound) to genuinely unravel behind the mic.

As well, national artists like Cassper Nyovest and AKA have solidified a market of trap music (AKA even incorporating Indie in some of his records) in South Africa. This has inherently allowed upcoming artists to trust themselves in trap music as well – pretty cool. As a personal opinion, I’d say that hip hop never died – it just took on another look, which is okay. And by the looks of things, 90’s babies are having the time of their lives.