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Hi, bored music nerd here who did a short 101 write-up on the evolution of rap through the last decade. Hope someone enjoys it!

The mainstream in the really early 10’s (2010-2012) was great for pop-rap: both that ”epic” style with a lot of march beats and big singers on the hook (Revival-Eminem, B.o.B) and EDM/club rap (Flo Rida, BEP, LMFAO...).

The trap sound was bubbling in the underground since the very beginning of the decade, but only started to really take over the mainstream around 2013. Future, Waka Flocka, Migos, Rick Ross, Mike-Will producing almost everything for a while. The West Coast also had an interesting moment round 2013-14 when Mustard broke through, and many hits suddenly got that minimalist hyphy-twerk bounce to them.

2015-17, trap made clear that it was here to stay. Desiigner and Fetty Wap, though one hit wonders, broke chart records. Migos, Rae Sremmurd, Travis Scott and Cardi B all became proper superstars. The SoundCloud scene also blows up, testing rap’s limits in every direction - XXXTentacion for acceptable lyrical content and maximum punk energy, Lil Pump for social media ignantness & repetition in a chorus, and Ronny J for just how much you can distort an 808.

The later years (17-20) I feel like the trap sound changed quite a bit: the shift from Ronny J bangers and Mike Will-type trap to the Pi’erre Bourne/“TikTok sound”. Tempos got a bit faster, different bounce, all hi-hat patterns got boring as fuck (I will die on this hill lol, Pierre ruined trap hi-hats), less horn stabs and dark synths, more piano & happy bleep-bloop melodies. For early influences on this specific sound, I’d say Carti, Yachty and Uzi all pushed different forms of this minimal “bubblegum trap” which currently rules the stage.

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