What’s going on? Could it be that two worlds that, in principle, are as far away from each other as the Indie Rock scene and Trap have more in common than one might assume? Well, that remains to be seen. We don’t know if both scenes will continue to collide, but we have outlined some common points (along with a lot of expected differences) between the two genres. Check them out:
Everything Started Abroad
Almost every music genre ever to grace the ears of Americans, was inspired by music far far away from the mainland. In the 90s, hordes of indie bands yearned to possess the sound of the noise from Sonic Youth, the skill with the guitar from J Mascis and the self-confidence (and the bangs) of Stephen Malkmus. The Trap generation looks for its references elsewhere as well.
The references (musical and aesthetic) are Gucci Mane, Young Thug or Future, but (and with some exceptions) Trappers do the same as those Indie rockers: replicate a foreign sound. This point makes both genres collide into a great similarity.
Mass Produced Voices
This was one of the most discussed topics (and it is still regularly discussed on social media) in the 90s: the Indie singers didn’t shine because of their vocal ability. Obviously, Punk was invoked as a definitive moment in which the technical quality faded into the background, and DIY and personality were imposed over virtuosity and professionalization.
Sometimes other factors remain hidden, such as laziness, lack of ambition and a hidden fear of what they will say. In Trap that fear doesn’t exist, even with poor vocal capacity. Luckily for them, they have a definitive weapon to mask their shortcomings: the Auto-Tune. Without that software that modulates the voice, many Trap singers wouldn’t even exist.
Differences in Social class
Even at the risk of generalizing, it can be said that Indie rockers have always been from upper-middle class. All those boys (because there were many more boys than girls) who decided to pick up a guitar after having listened to Slanted & Enchanted were university students, and many of them had studied outside of their home country.
These students could afford indie records that were not always easy to find and unconsciously avoided associating themselves with peers from their social class. In Trap, it is easier to find references to the neighborhood, in fact they are proud to say where they came from.
The indie-generation of the 90s avoided talking about money like the plague. The idea of making music that could generate an economic benefit was almost shameful, like a betrayal of art itself. In trap there’s no taboo, the ostentation is a constant.
The expensive clothes, cars, parties, and drugs are things that are displayed as a sign of power, differentiation (“I have achieved this and you have not”) and social success. This might be related to the previous point, those who had money did not want to show it, while those who did not have money were more than willing to be photographed with bundles of bills.