On August 11, 1973, hip-hop as we know it was born at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. Anybody who has ever taken a history course understands the importance of dates, especially those that mark important events and cultural milestones. For T.I., the invention of “Trap Music” as a musical genre is one deserving of note, and he made sure to offer clarification during a recent conversation with Talib Kweli. It’s no secret that Tip has long established himself as the inventor of Trap Music, a claim behind which he stands proudly. Yet he claims no ownership over the term “trap” itself, which he claims derived between the late eighties and the early nineties.
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Talib cites Big Rube’s contributions to Outkast’s albums as one of the earliest recorded uses of “Trap,” and T.I. makes sure to credit several of Goodie Mobb’s key players. “So many people before me have said trap in a record,” elaborates Tip. “But the words trap and music have never been combined to describe a sound before August 19th, 2003, when my album Trap Muzik was released.”
“People rapped about drug dealing before,” says Tip, citing Master P and NWA as examples. “But the word Trap and the word Music had never been combined to describe a sound. Not to discredit or diminish any of the contributions from any of the other founding forefathers or any of the other contributors. I think everybody should get their just due, and they’ve earned they respect. I don’t think I by myself could have taken it from where it was when I conceived it to what it is today.”
Evidently, August is a fruitful time for hip-hop culture. Maybe it’s the heat. Do you think we should circle the 19th in the calendar, and begin acknowledging it as an official milestone in hip-hop history?