In 2020 the genre trap music has a debatable definition. To some, it’s a subgenre of EDM that fuses dubstep and techno beats with Roland TR-808 drum samples, but to others, it’s a style of hip hop music that originated in the south during the late 1990s. The term trap itself is used to describe a place where drugs are sold, otherwise known as a trap house. Combining chopped and screwed instrumentals over 808s and synthesizers-infused beats with lyrics about slanging drugs, living in the hood, and attaining wealth, trap music was born. From Ghetto Mafia and Dungeon Family to T.I. and Gucci Mane, trap music is indisputably southern. Below we’ve gathered 20 of our favorite trap artists and the songs that put them on top of the trap game.
The 20 Best Trap Music Artists, According to Somebody Who Listens to Them All Damn Day
The ever-evolving genre is here to stay
Breakthrough songs: 24’s and Let’s Get Away
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, arguably the home of original trap music, T.I. is often referred to as The King of Trap in the music world. His top-selling 2003 album, Trap Muzik, sold 10,000 copies in its first week and debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200.
2. Gucci Mane
Breakthrough songs: Freaky Gurl and Icy
Gucci Mane is another rapper from Atlanta who—along with T.I. and Jeezy—is widely known for coining trap music. His notable mixtape releases and album drops have earned him respect and legendary presence in the Atlanta music scene often noted as an influence by several younger Atlanta rappers.
Breakthrough song: Soul Survivor and I Luv It
The final member of ‘the trap trio’ is Jeezy, also hailing from Atlanta. Jeezy has been a major name in trap music since the release of his 2005 debut album Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 – arguably one of the greatest trap albums of all time.
4. Rick Ross
Breakthrough song: Hustlin
From Clarksdale, Mississippi and growing up in Carol City, Florida, Rick Ross has gone from topping the charts of Billboard to running his own record label, Maybach Music Group. His chart-topping track “Hustlin” perfectly exemplifies what it means to be a trapper, or in Ross’ words, a hustler.
5. Chief Keef
Breakthrough songs: I Don’t Like and Love Sosa
Generating over 30 million views on YouTube, “I Don’t Like” and “Love Sosa” not only made a name for Chief Keef, but also made a name for drill, a Chicago subgenre within trap music. The Chi-town rapper’s debut song caught the likes of Kanye West who then remixed “I Don’t Like,” landing it a spot on Billboard’s Rap Top 20 in 2012.
6. Lil Yachty
Breakthrough songs: One Night
Also known as Lil Boat, Yachty grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and is considered one of Young Thug’s many prodigies. His ATLien southern twang and use of slang words is a more upbeat and lighthearted form of trap music that has become popular during the last few years.
7. A$AP Ferg
Breakthrough song: Work
A member of ASAP Mob, Ferg may originate from the east coast but still has trap roots infused in his musical spread. In a 2013 interview with GQ, the art student-turned-rapper said, “A trap lord is basically the lord of the trap, and my trap is rap.”
8. 21 Savage
Breakthrough songs: Red Opps and X
Born in London but raised in Atlanta, 21 Savage rose to fame with his 2015 mixtape “The Slaughter Tape.” With themes of struggle and street life, 21 started rapping after he was shot six times on his 21st birthday, nearly losing his life from the attack.
9. Lil Baby
Breakthrough song: Drip Too Hard and Yes Indeed
One of Young Thug’s proteges, Lil Baby is the epitome of modern Atlanta trap music. In just two short years, the 25-year-old rapper grew to fame after the debut of his studio album, “Harder Than Ever,” which ranked at number 3 on the US Billboard 200 charts in 2018.
10. Playboi Carti
Breakthrough songs: Magnolia and Woke Up Like This.
Signed to ASAP Mob's AWGE Label and Interscope Records, Playboi Carti has been described as the perfect mix between Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty. Often labeled as a mumble rapper, his playful and melodic music has earned him collabs with Solange, Tyler The Creator, and Young Nudy.
Breakthrough song: Magic
Another trap artist emerging from Atlanta is Future. Popularly known for his legendary song “March Madness,” Future centers his auto-tuned vocals around stories of drug use, lavish living, and female companions. It doesn’t get more trap than that.
12. 2 Chainz
Breakthrough song: No Lie
The artist behind the 2017 album “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music,” 2 Chainz is no stranger to the sub-genre. In an interview with The View, the rapper said “...trap music is kinda defined as low socioeconomic background music where you have to hustle to get out,” further proving his firsthand knowledge of the history of trap.
13. Lil Uzi Vert
Breakthrough song: Money Longer
Lil Uzi Vert falls under many categories: alternative hip hop, emo rap, punk rap, and of course, trap. While his beats are less similar than your traditional trap beat, Uzi’s lyrical content places many of his releases under the sub-genre. Even more, his sound is paving the way for the EDM trap sub-genre mostly composed of rapping flow, dubstep beats, and a hip hop instrumental.
14. Waka Flaka Flame
Breakthrough song: Hard In The Paint
The rapper behind "O Let's Do It", "Hard in da Paint", and "No Hands", Waka Flaka is, of course, from Atlanta. Just as he raps in "O Let's Do It", Waka makes “drug dealin' music” with topics ranging from the types of drugs he whips up to women loving him for his money and flashy lifestyle. His music has gained popularity as nostalgic and notable songs in the trap music world, resulting in fans of all different backgrounds.
15. Fetty Wap
Breakthrough song: Trap Queen
From Paterson, New Jersey, Fetty Wap rose to trap fame after the release of his song “Trap Queen.” The single reached number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and started a crossover of trap music in the pop music scene with its vibrant and animated beat and catchy lyrics.
16. Young Thug
Breakthrough song: Stoner
Making his way onto the list of trap legends, Thugger has been coined as a leader of young trap rappers like Gunna, Lil Keed, Lil Baby, and more. Growing up in Atlanta, Young Thug developed a unique rapping style made of blending southern vernacular, slurred words, and whiny tones.
Breakthrough song: Versace
The rap trio from Atlanta who successfully broke through into mainstream music is none other than Migos. Composed of Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset, and managed by Coach K, the former manager of Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, Migos has contributed top hits to the trap scene like “Handsome and Wealthy,” “Motorsport,” “Bad and Boujee,” and more.
Breakthrough song: YSL
Another rapper from Georgia, Gunna is signed to YSL Records and mentored by the label’s owner, Young Thug himself. Featured on several songs with Young Thug, it’s no surprise the young rapper’s music style is highly compared to Thugger’s, instantly landing him in the trap sub-genre.
19. Boosie Badazz
Breakthrough songs: Wipe Me Down and Set It Off
One of a kind Boosie Badazz, formerly known as Lil Boosie, has a sound like no other. Hailing from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the rapper’s music surrounds life in the hood, violence, flashy purchases, and pulling women, while still following some pretty emotional and vulnerable themes. Incomparable to many, Boosie has earned a legendary spot in the world of trap music.
Breakthrough songs: Tell Me Something Good
You can’t mention trap music without paying homage to UGK. The iconic duo made up of Bun B and Pimp C is one of the most legendary southern rap groups that highly influence what trap music is in 2020. Their story-telling tracks were gritty, chopped, and screwed; a sound that hadn’t been heard before. Furthermore, they created a raw and vivid picture for listeners to fully imagine what it was like to live, survive and hustle in the streets.