Sounds of my life


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graphic by Caryn Corliss

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How an underground genre has shaped my appreciation for cultures

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“Today is the day I create my masterpiece.” 

I keep that thought in my mind as an eerie thump of a metronome marks an auspicious beginning. Chords blend in, smoothly emanating from the synthesizer as the volume begins to rise.  Headphone cups fill with sparkling emotion. Rapid hi-hats enter the fray, and the speed increases to 150 beats per minute; then, a brief silence. No movement. Suddenly a horn blares, breaking the spell, dropping the bass below audible frequency. Gripping, the song will not let go. Five hours later, revisions complete, awe fills my mind.

Being “trapped” is a term the underground music community has coined to express the feeling of this particular kind of music. Far from limiting, ‘trap’ is a creative hybrid that melds rhythmic dance house and smooth hip-hop. This emerging style contains both a vibe of relaxation and a groove that inspires dancing. Sampling an array of genres and popular songs, the power of trap is in its ever-expanding range of creative possibilities.

Music has the power to evoke images, and the listener will often create his own cinematic vision to complement the music. Growing up in Tennessee’s rustic Appalachia, I listened to music that seemed to create a void without imagery. Far from inspiring me, the bluegrass and country that dominated this culture simply fell flat for me. Lazy banjo strums, formulaic lyrics and tiresome country voices always left me wanting more.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjIxMDAlMjUlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIxNjYlMjIlMjBzY3JvbGxpbmclM0QlMjJubyUyMiUyMGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyJTNEJTIybm8lMjIlMjBzcmMlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRncuc291bmRjbG91ZC5jb20lMkZwbGF5ZXIlMkYlM0Z1cmwlM0RodHRwcyUyNTNBJTJGJTJGYXBpLnNvdW5kY2xvdWQuY29tJTJGdHJhY2tzJTJGMTQ5MTg1OTQ1JTI2YW1wJTNCY29sb3IlM0RmZjU1MDAlMjZhbXAlM0JhdXRvX3BsYXklM0RmYWxzZSUyNmFtcCUzQmhpZGVfcmVsYXRlZCUzRGZhbHNlJTI2YW1wJTNCc2hvd19hcnR3b3JrJTNEdHJ1ZSUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRQ==[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]When my uncle introduced me to Eminem, he had no idea how it would transform the mind of an impressionable 9-year-old.  Like wildfire, classic ‘90s rap and hip-hop spread fast and quickly became my all-encompassing genre. From Snoop Dogg to Wu-Tang Clan, my mind was aflame with melodic stories from places I’d never been. Books that described East vs. West gun violence became an obsession, leading up to the eventual murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. These lyrics had passion like I’d never known, and I learned that the genre was actually less about drugs and violence and more about the emotions of a disgruntled people.

By age 14, listening had morphed into creating, and I realized that my strength lay not in rapping, but in producing beats. This was my stress-relief and emotional release.  Fruity Loops is what started it all; after convincing my dad to buy me this special production program, music has become a form of personal expression.

Trap has become popular through hits such as “Harlem Shake,” but like gang-rivalry rap, trap will inevitably run its course. Producing trap for the last five years has taught me to explore different ideas. Exploring and expanding its creative influences is part of my fascination with trap. It is a genre that encompasses the globe, from country samples, to Middle Eastern pitch sweeps and Japanese vocals often in the same song.

Trap has taught me to appreciate culture in all forms. This mindset has become a crux of my life, as I am eager to absorb what people enjoy – be it music, cuisine or language. Meanwhile, letting go of old prejudices and producing solid music gives me hope that producers like myself can have a positive influence on the future direction of music.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]