Comparing US Trap Rap To UK Grime

By Patrick Gottlieb.

A few months ago now, I happily traded the City of Angels for Warrington to study Journalism and enjoy the amazing scenery and weather the north has to offer. As a huge hip-hop fan, I quickly noticed that I also, unconsciously traded my beloved trap rap for grime. In America, and especially in the LA area, trap artists have blown up. Over this last year, rappers like Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, and trap pairing Rae Sremmurd have taken over radio waves and have appeared on the top charts with new albums or hit singles. Since I arrived, I have had the chance to dive into the rap culture, listening to popular releases, such as Skepta’s latest album Konnichiwa, as well as rappers Stormzy and Kano. I have come across plenty of differences between the two urban styles.

Grime beats are more hard hitting, with lots of snare and bass drum. Almost overwhelming for me at times, as someone who is used to the more; layed-back, spacious beats from the trap rappers back in LA. Young Thug is a good example of this. His most recent project, Jeffrey, is filed with slow, spacey, and almost empty trap beats. This sonically encapsulates what the lyrics behind trap music is trying to portray. Through reference of drug and alcohol use, Trap music attempts to create an environment in which is sympathetic to this culture. While grime artist JME fills his backing track up with fast, aggressive snares, which resembles the street culture and lifestyle of where it originates. Trap rappers can usually be identified by their extremely heavy slang and barely enunciated syllables. While grime lyrics are much easier to understand, I personally have had trouble translating some the slang that I wasn’t really familiar with.

It all comes down to what you are used to and what culture you grew up in. Which is why I am more comfortable with the trap style of production. However, although the two genres come from the same musical background, they are both culturally very different. There is something comforting in the fact that two different countries can create two different genres that are so popular within their own country, and yet the other country just doesn’t seem to understand. It is good to see that even with the internet and the ability share music all over the planet, that music can still remain authentic to its location.

March 21, 2017

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