For a music genre, trap metal is still a baby. That being said, hundreds of Bones-core, Ghostemane-core and Scarlxrd-core tracks were uploaded to SoundCloud by the time you finished reading this sentence. Is there any room for the latest fusion of metal and hip-hop to expand and evolve, or is it doomed to repeat and recycle itself into oblivion?
After checking out the artists below, tell us your answer in the comments!
Directly sampling and subtly referencing black-metal tropes (pause “CRUCIFIXION” above at its third second for a textbook example of ’90s black-metal visuals), Sematary’s Rainbow Bridge trilogy strikes with a similar type of chaotic, lo-fi intensity. Only instead of raging screams and shrieks layered into instrumentals, Sematary’s yawning, mumbling and howling vocals are almost detached from the rest of the mix. They feel uncomfortably, almost unbearably, close to the ear. In short, just like black metal, Sematary is a matter of acquired taste. Also, it’s black trap metal for the hyperpop and HexD generation, with guitar noises used as beats and glitches becoming the new blast beats.
They say screaming can ruin your singing voice, but Jasiah’s baritone technique seems fine. Apparently, it’s actually him singing on “Voices,” the intro track on his full-length debut, Jasiah I Am. And even though Jasiah sounds great as an emo-pop singer on “When I’m Gone” or a pop-punk singer on “Congratulations” by girlfriends, Jasiah is mainly a scream rapper. Who is great at making hardcore hip-hop, emo and pop-rap tracks but mainly does high-energy trap metal. Jasiah’s collabs so far include Travis Barker (“Heartbreak”), trap-metal OG Syringe (“You Can’t Take Me”) and Rico Nasty (“In N Out”). Speaking of the latter, hey ho, let’s go!
Rico Nasty’s Nightmare Vacation makes it obvious that riot grrrl and scream rap, harsh 100 gecs-y hyperpop and trap metal, industrial hip-hop and nü metal have more in common than you could think. Her debut album also gives a clue as to why she skyrocketed from underground rapper to viral superstardom. Rico Nasty is a genius of hooks! Each aspect of her songs is saturated with them, be it TikTok-famous rhymes (“I don’t really talk like this I know…”) or addictive AF beats (“Smack A Bitch”).
The “genderless monster” from the U.K. Jazmin Bean is an audiovisual all-rounder, whose aesthetics and visuals are an equally important part of the puzzle. Similarly to Ghostemane, Poppy and Melanie Martinez, they’re a postmodernist paradox whose releases, videos and style are constructed out of carefully coordinated and easily identifiable references, ultimately connecting into a unique result. Hello Kitty doom/trap/pop metal? It’s about time.
7xvn, Scarlxrd, Prxjek, outsiderX—seriously, an “X” in an artist name is a reliable indicator for an awesome trap-metal artist or scream rapper. And before you dismiss 7xvn as another Ghostemane-core artist (OK, “BOOGEYMAN” is Ghostemane-core but good Ghostemane-core), 7xvn is also among the best new artists taking trap metal into a death-trap direction (“God’s Touch”) and what one day may be called trap metalcore (“Not Everyone Deserves A Happy Ending”). And, in the good tradition of trap metal, 7xvn also has some emo-rap songs (try not to “cry”).
Collabs with Rico Nasty are a trusted way to discover artists worth SIMPing over. And so is a collab with Dorian Electra. When things turn hardcore on “Ram It Down,” the screaming vocals are by Lil Mariko. But Lil Mariko isn’t just all screams and no fun. There are two sides of Lil Mariko. One that sounds like the whole TikTok bimbo/thembo movement becoming rap-oriented or an infinitely extended Ashnikko’s “Oh, my God” on “STUPID.” As the ultimate contrast to it, there’s the manic screaming Lil Mariko. Combining the two, she opens up more space for color pink, glitter and themes raging from losing your Juul and slut shaming in trap metal. Pretty damn revolutionary.
Wondering who’s the other person in Dana Dentata’s “DO U LIKE ME NOW?” above? It’s actually the girl from the original DO U LIKE ME NOW?, a video that went viral on YouTube in 2011. Which is also about a woman doing everything to be liked, like smearing your face with lipstick or “making it bounce.” Distorted 808s and harsh industrial beats create a dark gothic atmosphere for Dentata’s rapping and screaming about extremely personal experiences, traumas and, according to her, purging the demons that she has as a result of abuse in her past.
Now, don’t let Lil Darkie’s “USA” trick you like Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” misled the #superstraights. Lil Darkie isn’t a country rapper, though he too makes country sound cool. Whether it’s ironically or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s a part of the package because his heavier and darker trap stuff, paired with crazy cartoons in his videos, also sounds like a big bloody smirk on Joker’s face.
Even though daine debuted in 2020, she’s an artist who has the potential to change what trap metal sounds like. Because she, like ericdoa (with whom daine already collabed) and other hyperpop-leaning new-gen emo rappers, is existing outside of genres. And if daine continues in the direction she’s taking in “Ascension” and “Picking Flowers,” trap metal could expand into a slow and airy drone-metal and doom-metal direction. Fingers crossed.
While Zheani’s collab with Jazmin Bean, “Monster Truck,” is trap metal at its most experimental (as well as its catchiest), it’s true to Zheani’s discography as a whole. Emo, electro-industrial, horrorcore and drum and bass are all a part of Zheani’s dystopian universe. Her more recent tracks such as “Brave New World” also have trap metal in the mix. This slowed-down and pitch-dropped version of heavy 808s brings ZillaKami and SosMula to mind. However, paired with Zheani’s high-pitched, piercing vocals, the mix has a totally different mood. Which isn’t as aggressive as “DIRTBIKE” but still as dark.
1 800 PAIN
Compared to both 100 gecs and Death Grips, the obscure duo 1 800 PAIN do have some qualities from both of those bands. In their extremely low-pitched and slowed tracks such as “SHELF,” they sound as disturbing as Death Grips. Meanwhile, “HURT” is as random as the hyperpop duo’s best work. But then there’s the rest of their debut LP. And it just sounds like a slasher movie, pixelated to the point where you can’t see anything but still brutal. And their mascot looks like a human-sized Hello Kitty that just got resurrected from Pet Sematary and is ready for revenge.