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Trap God: 6 Rappers & Producers Who Were Instrumental In The Rise Of Trap Music

We highlight six trappers who played just as vital a role in the rise of trap music as Tip did.

Many fans can remember a time when the South was counted out and discarded as “not real hip-hop." For the past 20 years, however, one would be hard pressed to find a song on the radio or at the club that’s neither from or influenced by the South—especially in the context of the dark, grimy, electric, heavy bass-filled sub-genre known as trap music.

The earliest inceptions of trap music, long before it was known as such, came from some of the early, and culturally important rap groups of the South, who were inspired by the pivotal figures of Los Angeles' gangster rap, such as N.W.A and Above The Law, as well as many legendary soul and funk artists from the southern region. Groups and solo artists like UGK, Three 6 Mafia, Kingpin Skinny Pimp, Eightball & MJG, Project Pat, Yo Gotti, DJ Screw and the S.U.C., Goodie Mob and, OutKast paved the way for all of the trap catalogues we enjoy today. But according to one man, the exact origin – like Africa is to mankind – of what we know as trap music is traced back to the King of the South himself, Atlanta rapper T.I.

In a recent interview with Angie Martinez on Power 105.1, Tip, while addressing the current state-of-affairs (no pun intended) with Tiny, he spoke about his legacy in hip-hop, dubbing himself the originator of trap music.

“There was no such thing as trap music prior to [T.I.]. No such thing. It didn’t exist,” said Tip. “It was OutKast and crunk, like that’s what it was. Organized Noize and crunk.”

And in a lot of ways, T.I. has a strong point. Although the street element was always present in southern hip-hop, his 2004 classic sophomore album Trap Muzik helped name the beast – so to speak – spreading "trap" across the United States. And with the help of his longtime collaborator DJ Toomp, Tip also helped usher in the slang, terminology and sound of trap for global consumption. However, it's all the more important to know that he wasn’t the only one involved in making trap music the cultural mainstay it is today.

Below, VIBE gathered some of the most important rappers who not only helped cultivate and innovate the sound and style of trap music, but also helped spread its influence across the country and lay down the foundation for the new crop of trappers: Young Thug, Migos, DJ Mustard, French Montana YG, Future, Lil Bibby and G-Herbo, among many others.

* * *

Gucci Mane
The infamous Guwop may have not been the inventor of trap music, but he is without a doubt, one of the most influential rappers to come from the sub-genre of all time. In 2000, Gucci Mane and the equally important producer Zaytoven, emerged from the Atlanta underground to give us some of the greatest trap anthems including, “Bricks," “Lemonade," and the grimy video that gave the world its first look at the former Brick Squad member Waka Flocka Flame, “My Kitchen." And after maintaining his relevance and making a huge comeback while completing multiple stints in prison, it’s hard to imagine what the game would be like without Big Gooch after the many contributions he’s given to the culture—like Nicki Minaj, MikeWillMadeIt, Metro Boomin’ Young Thug, Oj Da Juicemane, Future, and a score of other artists who grew under him.

The legendary duo of Bun B and Pimp C is one of the many southern rap groups who helped lay the foundation for what trap music is today, as their predecessors The Geto Boys and N.W.A. did for them and their contemporaries. One of their most notable qualities were their unique ability to tell vivid stories that shows listeners a complete spectrum of the dope game, both good and bad, without entirely focusing on the lavish riches and beautiful women. It’s an important quantity that artists like T.I., Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy would carry with them into today.

As one of the descendants of Atlanta’s notorious Black Mafia Family, Jeezy has been helped bring trap music to the national forefront since his legendary Trap or Die series and the infamous “Snowman” t-shirts. His 2005 debut Thug Motivation 101 gave fans an explosive look into the trap and garnered many significant hits including, “Sole Survivor” featuring Akon and “And Then What." Over the years, he has evolved into a more matured and conscious rapper, but to this day, he hasn’t forgotten the trap that made him who he is.

Boosie Badazz
Boosie Badazz has grown to become one of southern hip-hop’s most beloved icons after his release from prison in 2014. And he’s earned it after having such a long legacy of making hard, trap music that, like his early mentor Pimp C, tells the entire story of what it meant to live in the harsh streets of Baton Rouge. Most of his catalogue, starting with his 2000 debut at 17 Youngest of the Camp, contains some of the most lit and emotionally-vulnerable music to come from the sub-genre that still resonates with fans today.

Master P
One of the original hip-hop moguls of the south, it’s almost safe to say that had it not been for his contributions and his influence on the independent scene, hip-hop, let alone the south, would not be where it is today. Although his hard-hitting albums such as Ghetto D and Ice Cream Man were significant in their own right, especially with the help of producers KLC and Beats By The Pound, his strongest contribution was showing artists how to make millions without the help of a major label. With his branding, his fleet of lyricists that came out of No Limit and his unique style of telling the stories of the streets of New Orleans, Master P as proved time and again that he is one of the pivotal keys to why and how trap music became so successful.

DJ Paul & Juicy J
Though they have been rapping long before the term "trap music" was invented, most fans can hear the direct contributions legendary M-Town rappers and production duo have made within artists like Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, A$AP Rocky, and a score of other rappers across the country. Everything from their frantic, deep bass-filled horrorcore and soulful instrumentals to the rapid, double time flows of Juicy J and their late comrades Koopsta Knicca and Lord Infamous are prevalent in today’s trap music. From being imitations of N.W.A. in their earliest tapes as Triple Six Mafia, to evolving time and time again as grew bigger as the Hypnotize Camp Posse and Three 6 Mafia, the Oscar award-winning, DJ Paul & Juicy J are critically essential to everything that trap music looks and sounds like.


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Mac Miller performs during Behind The Scenes With Mac Miller Filming Music Choice's 'Take Back Your Music' Campaign at Music Choice on July 17, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Thundercat, Juicy J, Ariana Grande And More Pay Tribute To Mac Miller For 27th Birthday

It's not lost on many just how much Mac Miller's influence affects today's lovers of hip-hop. The rapper and songwriter's passing was a blow to the industry last year as he seemed to be hitting a special space in his creative journey.

With today (Jan. 19) being what would've been his 27th birthday, friends and musical partners are sharing stories and messages of love about their favorite Capricorn.

Frequent collaborator and friend Thundercat shared on Twitter a moment Mac helped create with the "Them Changes" artist and his family. "All three of us were in the same room, playing and creating and enjoying music with Mac," he tweeted about an impromptu session with his brothers and Mac.

"Mac was and always will be a special dude, he was definitely Lebowski to me. I will always remember a man I considered to be another one of my real brothers and best of friends in the short time we got to spend together. I miss him so much every day."

See more touching messages from Mac's friends below.

Mac was hands down one of thee freshest people I’ve met so far in life, never a dull moment. I’ll share one of my favorite moments with you guys on this most dope day. I always enjoyed getting a chance to work with him, we would spend days at a time...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

..Creating music, playing music and introducing each other to new music all the time. This is the day he met my brothers @drummaboiblue1 & @_K_I_N_T_A_R_O_ it was a bit of a whirlwind how it all happened because at separate times they both came flying...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...through the studio door at separate times of the late night. My older brother @drummaboiblue1 kicked the door in and starts rapping and making hip hop hands at Mac who was sitting at the computer and it was so intense he just turned and looked at me like..

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...”Holy shit, this is your brother?” I didn’t know what to expect next because it could have easily gone south, but I got a chance to see what made Mac so special. My brother is hands down the most amazing drummer in the world *dont at me* and what I saw...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...from Mac really stays in my heart because I watched him turn my older brothers energy into creative energy by challenging him about the title of best drummer in the world, and handing him pots & pans and things from around the studio and the house...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

..shortly after Mac turns to me & says “hey man your brother @_K_I_N_T_A_R_O_ is gonna come by, I immediately felt like there was a possibility that this would be overwhelming for Mac, as I have seen from past situations in life experience with people & us..

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...but none the less, all three of us were in the same room, playing and creating and enjoying music with Mac. For those that don’t see the significance, music and family can be a very intense experience in itself in life (if you know, you understand)....

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019’s not always so easy and lighthearted like everyone would like to imagine it is however as it may be, the night went on,and the moment passed. Since that moment me and my brothers never really would be in that same setting and satire for years...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...the reason that this story is so special is because while we were working on what’s the use, he started going through old music and came across that song, when he played it I began to tear up and I had to keep myself together because it was so special...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...that he captured it! Almost like a photo. he turned to me and reminded me of how wild that night was and we had a good laugh about it and continued working. No one really owns any recordings of us like that, so it was really special to me...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...Mac was and always will be a special dude, he was definitely Lebowski to me. I will always remember a man I considered to be another one of my real brothers and best of friends in the short time we got to spend together. I miss him so much every day...

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

...he changed my life in a real way. Thank you @MacMiller Happy Birthday!

— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 19, 2019

miss u.

— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) January 19, 2019

Happy birthday Mac Miller!

— Hi-Tek (@HiTek) January 19, 2019

Happy Birthday @MacMiller. Love You Always & Forever

— THE INTERNET (@intanetz) January 19, 2019

Smile today - Mac Miller ❤️

— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) January 19, 2019


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damn i miss this so much! i miss jamming with you and writing with you and talking about anything and everything. just watching you produce was my favorite. i miss the way you used to support me in everything that i did. i miss your smile and your tight ass hugs. i love you. happy birthday to a legend.

A post shared by NJOMZA (@notnjomza) on Jan 19, 2019 at 10:07am PST

Happy birthday to one of the purest artists I’ve ever known, Mac Miller 🙏🏾 RIP

— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) January 19, 2019

we miss you and love you Mac Miller happy birthday

— rex orange county (@rexorangecounty) January 19, 2019

Happy bday to my brother Mac Miller i miss my bro every day

— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) January 19, 2019

happy birthday Mac! 👼 tell your friends you love em twice as much.

— bear (@6LACK) January 19, 2019

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20 Hip-Hop And R&B Albums That Went Platinum With No Features

Once upon a time, successful artists considered receiving a gold or platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as a rite of passage to legendary status, especially if they did it on their own. Up until 2016, elite hip-hop and R&B artists were awarded plaques after one million units in album sales were sold. Now, any artist with music that goes viral overnight can join the platinum club.

After the RIAA modernized its rules for obtaining gold & platinum status in 2016, the music industry has been flooded with gold and platinum recipients, and it will only become more saturated over time. However, any rapper or R&B singer who sells over a million units without the help of outside artists should be heralded like the icons who came before them.

Since the 1980s, plenty of hip-hop and R&B artists have gone platinum with memorable music that will live on forever, but only a select few have made history by reaching platinum status without featured artists. Here are 19 albums (and mixtapes) that went platinum without other musical guests on the compilation.

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Genres Aside, Here Are Our 25 Favorite Songs Of 2018

Keeping up with all of the music from 2018 was a full-time job, with loads of songs releasing every week and not enough ears to keep track. But the volume of music comes with an advantage: there’s something for everybody. Fittingly, our list of the 25 Best Songs of 2018 represents the multi-genre mayhem that is in everyone’s playlists this year.

Some of the entries on our list, like cuts by Drake, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, were at the forefront of the conversation in 2018, dominating streaming services and radio around the country. Indie darling Saba made waves, and he’s included here as well. Jazz wizard Kamasi Washington dropped some of the best protest music of the year. But there are also some songs on this year’s list that spoke to the VIBE Tribe in a different way. Cardi B had hits all year, but an album cut impressed us most; Usher and Zaytoven’s new album didn’t make a huge splash commercially, but one of its songs appears here. And Beyonce appears on one of the best songs of the year that never even saw an official release–but that didn’t stop us from including it here.

Music broke the rules this year, and so did we. Read below, and tell us what surprise choices are making your songs of the year list.

READ MORE: Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

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