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Tools of the Trade

A primer on trap music: what it's about and five great how-to tutorials

By Ken Taylor
tnght

Likely the most talked-about genre to really surface in 2012, trap seems to have dug its claws into every corner of electronic music—whether through its hip-hop proponents like Lex Luger, or its clubbier progenitors like TNGHT and Baauer. It’s been called “the new dubstep,” and even the biggest main-room electro tracks have been given a taste of its southern rap-tinged vibes via some huge remixes.

But what’s it all about? Technically, it’s about big basslines and skittering 808s set to a low-slung, head-nodding cadence. It still swings heavily towards southern-style rap beats, but, as this great piece from Resident Advisor indicates, there’s plenty brewing in trap’s dancier realms. So check out some choice jams from the genre here and here, and peep five helpful how-to tutorials below to get you started in the studio.

In the following few videos, Kev Willow outlines a pretty solid roadmap for making trap beats in FL Studio. Granted, these aren’t the types of beats you’ll hear Lex Luger making—this is more the clubby, TNGHT-style stuff. Part one will get you started with your initial melody, stabs, vocals, and other establishing elements.

Here in the second part, he examines the almighty drop.

Part three wraps up the basic trap tutorial, with how to get your breakdown and second drops going.

Of course, many producers might prefer working in Ableton. This nicely laid-out piece shows you a few tricks for getting the perfect 808 kick without having to search around through dodgy samples.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuAMFThN7wc

Not so much a tutorial as a chat about beatmaking, here Lex Luger gives you a little inside info on what’s up. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a better source on making trap beats than one of the pioneering producers himself.

**Need a few more tips? Check out this guide from TheProAudioFiles.