There are few genres as enigmatic yet divisive as electronic trap music. What is it? When/where did it start? And why are people still pining over the sound that skyrocketed into mainstream EDM at a ridiculous rate in the early 2010s? Those are good questions, and admittedly, we don’t have the answers to all of them in this article. But what we do have is a list of musicians that helped pioneer what we know and love as “EDM” trap music.
It goes without saying, but trap would be nothing without the styles that came before it. With hip-hop DJing and dubstep production being some of the main contributing influences, we wouldn’t even have trap without forward thinking artists like Rustie and S-Type.
There’s nothing better than a trip down memory lane, but this nostalgic odyssey won’t be the least bit tranquil. Start stretching and get ready to extend your trap arms for 30 Soundcloud producers that defined the golden era of trap.
TNGHT’s legacy in trap music can’t be dwindled down in a few sentences, but they’ve earned the top spot on this list by being the two most influential artists of the era, opening the door to a more forward-thinking approach to a genre that served as more of an inside-joke during its birth. Things got real for the TNGHT project when Kanye West enlisted their track “R U READY” for his iconic Yeezus track, “Blood on the Leaves.”
Where are they now: Hudson Mohawke and Lunice reunited back in 2019 and blessed us with TNGHT II. They still release music separately as well and have just minted their horn sound to sell as an NFT.
2. RL Grime
If trap had to vote for their own leader, it would most likely end up being RL Grime. Henry’s staple halloween mixes and booming bootlegs were so successful that he abandoned his main big room house project, Clockwork, to focus on RL Grime. With all-time tracks such as “Core” and “Tell Me,” there are few who have embraced (and evolved) the sound as much as RL.
Where are they now: You might have heard a little label called Sable Valley. So not only does RL Grime stay making heaters, but he also gives a platform to some of the best rising trap artists today.
Perhaps the producer that had the cleanest crossover sound between electronic music and hip-hop, UZ was also one of the leading pioneers of the boom. He turned heads with his mysterious identity and the 20+ Trap Shit EPs that he dropped over his prolific career. His Ball Trap Music Vol. 1 album deserves its own plaque in the trap hall of fame.
Where are they now: UZ said that Trinity (2020) would be his last trap album, so we’re unsure of which direction he’ll be headed in after. But he still curates some of the most innovative music today with his label, Quality Goods Records.
Credited with producing the first “trap” tune that most of us had ever heard. Their remix of Major Lazer’s “Original Don” can be traced back to trap’s infancy, and still bangs today. Their BANNED! mixes on SoundCloud were essential to showcasing artists who were also helping debut a brand new sound that nobody had heard before.
Where they are now: As is the case with many duos, Curt Cameruci and Josh Young split up back in 2016. Curt continues to carry the Flosstradamus torch solo, while Josh has started his own project, YehMe2. That being said, it’s still HDYNATION forever.
Almost single-handedly responsible for bringing the trap genre into the spotlight when “Harlem Shake” went viral back in 2012. Baauer then used this as a launchpad for his meteoric rise to EDM stardom in the following years, working with artists like Just Blaze, Rae Sremmurd, and more.
Where are they now: Baauer continues to be the cutting edge of sound design in this realm. He’s even been officially recognized by the Recording Academy, earning a GRAMMY nomination for his 2020 album, Planet’s Mad.
6. Mr. Carmack
Groundbreaking and innovative are just a few adjectives to describe Mr. Carmack’s imprint on trap music. The San Francisco-based beatsmith paved the way for experimental trap music and all of its subgenres, carving out a spot for producers who didn’t necessarily identify with the EDM aspect of the genre.
Where are they now: Mr. Carmack still keeps it low key in the underground, randomly uploading bangers to his SoundCloud and embarking on side projects here and there. He still remains one of the most respected producers in electronic music.
Get ready for some trap history, because if you love the genre, you have to get familiar with the name HXV (fka Heroes x Villains). In an interview with FUXWITHIT, he said, “The first inception of ‘EDM trap’ really came from me and Mayhem DJing at this place in East Atlanta called The Graveyard. I had started a night called, HEAVY that was blending and mixing early pre-Skrillex dubstep songs with Atlanta rap music and rap instrumentals.”
Where are they now: While HXV doesn’t release as much on Soundcloud like he used to, the Atlanta native stays dropping hip-hop beats and educating us all on the rise and fall of trap music (specifically festival trap) on Twitter. If you’re curious for more fun facts on the roots of the genre, you should definitely keep up with him there.
Hailing from the UK, the producer’s heavy-hitting, atmospheric, and emotional bangers helped bring balance to the bouncier trap that was being popularized at the time. Anytime you heard his famous “HUCCI” sample, you knew you were in for it.
Where are they now: HUCCI still sparsely releases music. He dropped a couple of tracks in 2020. His sound still retains a dreamy vibe, but sounds a bit more polished and low key compared to his heavier tracks in the mid 2010s.
Their LOUDPVCK EP in 2012 had a sample-based sound that had heavy hip-hop influences, but still managed to deliver mainstage energy. These two really embraced the tongue-in-cheek vibe of the genre early on, and were very active in the buzzing online community.
Where they are now: Kenny Beats and Ryan Marks split back in 2015. Kenny is one of the most coveted hip-hop producers in the game, and Ryan has recently started producing his own tracks again.
10. Keys N Krates
One of the most unique acts in the trap scene at the time, given their composition. Keys N Krates were comprised of a DJ, drummer, and keyboard player. The group’s SOLOW and Every Nite EPs paved the way for what trap music would sound like for the next few years, full of tracks that hit hard but also allowed you to sing along.
Where are they now: KNK have kept it lowkey the last few years. You’ll still be able to hear some of their signature trap sound in songs like “Double Dutch” and “Flute Loop”, but they’ve also diversified into making funkier and groovier beats. Their most recent project, A Beat Tape For Your Friends, is a must-listen.
11. Stööki Sound
The London duo made some of the grittiest grime-inspired tracks on Soundcloud. The prolific producers never gave us a second to catch our breath—continuously dropping remixes, originals, and mixes during this era of trap.
Where are they now: Stööki Sound officially broke up 2 years ago. However, jELACEE and DJ Lukey are still making music separately.
12. DJ Snake
DJ Snake took the EDM world by storm when he debuted “Bird Machine” on Mad Decent. A few spot-on remixes later, he would drop “Turn Down For What,” sealing his meteoric ascent into a hit-maker. He
Where are they now: DJ Snake remains one of dance music’s biggest acts while boasting handfuls of records that have gone platinum several times over.
13. Bro Safari
A pioneer that truly transformed the wonky sounds of dubstep and blended them into the heavier sounds of trap. It’s impossible to forget his iconic releases like “Scumbag” and “The Drop.” Bro Safari helped usher in a wave of dubstep producers who wanted to dip their toes into trap, even if just for a track or two.
Where are they now: Bro Safari still releases something every now and then, but has taken a step back from the spotlight. He’s most recently put out a lofi trap EP with Binks titled Blissful Patterns back in October 2020.
14. Mura Masa
Alex Crossan, famously known as Mura Masa, is a real life SoundCloud success story. In 2013, he released the Muramasa EP, which had one of the most innovative sounds at the time, shattering the mold that many were sticking to. He was just 16 years old at the time.
Where are they now: One of the most revered producers in electronic music today. While he doesn’t make trap anymore, his ethereal and unique style of pop allowed him to work with major artists like Clairo, slowthai, and A$AP Rocky.
Twerk music found its captain with booty-bouncing beatmaker Brillz. Juxtaposing the more serious and aggressive trap during this epoch, Brillz created “twonk”, which he described as the movement of World Wide Weirdos. Even trap elitists couldn’t resist Brillz’s fun interpretation of the genre, and that’s how you know he absolutely earned a spot on this list.
Where are they now: Fresh-faced electronic music lovers now know the beloved Brillz as bass producer LSDream. But don’t worry—we still remember and are proudly members of the Twonk Team.
16. Good Times Ahead
You knew you were in for a treat when you’d hear a set start with ‘GTA up in the club!’ After all, the acronyms didn’t reference the popular video game (much to everyone’s surprise), but instead meant Good Times Ahead… which is exactly what you’d experience listening to the duo’s tunes. Inspired by music from every style, these two stayed true to their motto of “death to genres.” This is probably why their take on trap music was so fresh compared to what festival trap newcomers were bringing to the scene.
Where are they now: In 2019, the group officially ditched the GTA nickname and began going by their full name, Good Times Ahead. The Miami-based musicians continue to put us onto new music, with no limitation, in their Good Times Ahead Radio series.
17. Djemba Djemba
During the earlier days, Djemba Djemba was frequently mentioned alongside fellow beatsmith Mr. Carmack in terms of innovation and style. Djemba was making his biggest moves under the hood, helping launch the career of Alison Wonderland while producing tracks for Justin Bieber and Britney Spears.
Where are they now: Honestly, we’re not sure. He’s dropped only a couple tracks over the past few years, and his production credits stopped in 2019. Where are you, Djemba Djemba???
If there’s one producer who took the trap sound and made it his own, it’s TroyBoi. Appropriately tagging his tunes as #My Style on Soundcloud, the London legend has been bestowing us with banger upon banger for the last 7 years, at least.
Where are they now: TroyBoi emerged from the underground and is now one of the biggest names in electronic trap music. He continues to drop heat regularly and we’re happy he’s getting the recognition he rightly deserves.
19. Yellow Claw
The Blood For Mercy regime is gone, but will never be forgotten. Yellow (Muthafuckin) Claw created some of the most iconic and abundantly-sampled beats of all time. ‘IT’S A TRAAAAP’ from their track “Kaolo” always signified a good time.
Where are they now: Yellow Claw, along with their label, Barong Family, are still going strong. If you’re missing the good old days of 2010s trap, but are craving new songs, the duo is here to satisfy them.
While much of the EDM trap boom was happening stateside, there was a duo in Brazil that was turning heads with every release. The best of the new school met the best of the old school with Laudz and DJ Zegon, who’s grandiose, booty-shaking sound influenced artists all over the globe.
Where are they now: Tropkillaz are still chugging along, perhaps at one of the best points of their careers thus far. They’re one of the biggest electronic acts of Brazil.
21. Antiserum & Mayhem
Two names that are as strong separately as they are together. Bringing the underground sounds of Atlanta and Los Angeles in one place, the producers were able to make some of the most timeless trap tracks. As mentioned previously, Mayhem is also known to be one of the pioneers of electronic trap music.
Where are they now: Antiserum has gone back to his roots and is currently dropping dubstep. In 2020, Mayhem made an appearance on FUXWITHIT’s takeover of Harmony Virtual Festival on Twitch. Suffice to say, Mayhem is continuing to carry the trap legacy.
22. Milo & Otis
Extend your “Trap Arms” because it’s Milo & Otis time. The LA duo embraced the climb of festival trap while seamlessly staying true to the classic trap sound. If you’re looking for the ultimate throwback session, Milo & Otis’ Triple J mix highlights the golden era of trap perfectly.
Where are they now: Nowhere to be found. If you’re reading this, Milo & Otis, we miss you.
Luminox had one of the cleanest and most identifiable sounds in the electronic trap scene’s early days. His music was easily up there with the likes of Baauer, RL Grime, GTA, and others, helping bridge the gap between electronic music and hip hop.
Where are they now: Another mysterious one. Nobody knows the cause of Luminox’s disappearance from the scene, but it’s rumored that his hard drive crashed and he never recovered from it.
This LA twosome is a perfect example of musicians who can evolve with the genre. Transitioning from the OG hard hip-hop-centric trap, to festival, to more of the experimental sound, gLAdiator doesn’t pander to what’s popular, but instead proves that you don’t have to make the same thing over and over again.
Where are they now: Although they’ve moved on to different careers, DJ Danl came out of retirement to share a mix for r/trap’s curated compilation, BOOST TAPE 02.
While Salva played a major role in serving up some of the finest, forward-thinking, instrumental trap bangers, he remained lurking in the underground as more of a hip-hop focused producer. He most famously appeared on RL Grime’s “Mercy” and “Skyfall” remixes, but any head will name “Drop That B” as one of the most iconic tracks of the era.
Where are they now: Salva’s talent didn’t go unnoticed, and his track “Old English” featuring hip-hop giants Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs, and A$AP Ferg just went gold in January. He also keeps his pulse on electronic music, recently remixing Chef Boyarbeatz’s “The Mandela Effect.”
Branchez bootlegs being immaculate is actually an understatement. Even though he gained notoriety through his frequent flip releases on Soundcloud, he quickly proved he was a producer to watch through his original tracks. During the height of trap-Branchez, he snagged the coveted spot for a guest mix on BBC Radio, Triple J, and Diplo & Friends.
Where are they now: Branchez has moved on from making the trap we know, love, and miss, and he’s now producing rap beats. Although we’re sad to see him go, we’re grateful he’ll still drop a Birthday Branch mix every year.
Y2K, like most, never took the genre too seriously, but still managed to push the envelope when it came to ideas. He was always uploading half-joking tracks that featured Miley Cyrus, RiFF RAFF, or some other memeable character.
Where are they now: Y2K really broke through once he teamed up with another up-and-coming artist, bbno$. They’ve put out several releases together, with their 2019 single “LaLaLa,” achieving gold certification by the RIAA recently.
During the height of festival trap, JACKAL secured a slot at the biggest festivals, including Coachella, EDC, and Electric Forest. Like many of his peers, the producer rose to trap stardom through his remixes, and gained the support of Skrillex, Zeds Dead, and even DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Where are they now: Although jackal—now in all lowercase—hasn’t released anything new on Soundcloud in two years, he tweeted back in January that he was working on a new EP. Until then, we’ll be waiting patiently for his return.
CRNKN’s “No Hands” Remix is one of the most iconic bootlegs of all time. The producer’s rendition of songs from pop music to EDM left a mark on trap that’ll never be forgotten.
Where are they now: CRNKN hasn’t dropped anything new on Soundcloud in 4 years and while he still has “musician” in the bio of all his social media handles, it seems he’s shifted his focus from sound design to visual design. His Instagram and website are aesthetic AF.
While he may be a very polarizing and controversial figure in the music scene, one thing will always remain true: Carnage popularized festival trap almost single-handedly. His Festival Trap Vol. 1 mix still lives on SoundCloud with millions of plays, and the tracks he released around this time were sounding like nothing anybody else was doing (besides maybe Flosstradamus).
Where are they now: Carnage recently just dropped a tech house song about ketamine.
Gent & Jawns