Shamanic Trap

A friend recently introduced me to the music of Trippie Redd, a rising star from Canton, Ohio whose emotional blend of melodic trap and hellish emo-punk vocals consumed me instantly. His inner beast set free, Redd is an unrestrained force of aggression, pain, power and fertility. His wild whine shifts between pure and gritty textures, soaring and ripping through the dark charged space of the music. The production effects play an enormous role in the overall mood — snarling auto-tuned reverb-soaked vocal layers makes him sound something like an insane robot warlock. And while the song structures are often rule-breaking and melodically adventurous, Redd also employs simple repetitive hooks that offer a grounding dimension to the trance state he engages.

Trance is something magicians use to cast spells. It is the supporting energy of creativity and love. It is the force which suspends disbelief. The hypnotic trance state opens us up to different dimensions within our consciousness, beyond the restraints of our analytical mind. Trippie Redd deliberately expresses his bizarre soul from a place of pure known self, embodied purpose, and liberated creative flow. This feels like “trance” because of the mind-altered, half-conscious state it produces through the connective textures of its dark dreamy sonic landscape. This is different from the techno “trance” genre of electronic music born in Europe in the 1990s — it’s a brand new trance that you could call “trap trance” or how about “shamanic rap”. Honestly, a lot of these new artists sound like shamans or dark wizards to me. I can hear a triumphant call of freedom and a demonstration of deeper levels of truth and understanding coming strong. The energy is so broken free from tradition that a lot of these rappers, (Desiigner, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug…), have introduced a style of rap that involves mumbling incoherently.  I understand that some people consider this new style of urban music a disturbed diversion from traditional hip hop that represents a new era of ignorance and crass mindlessness. However, tracing back to the roots of our ancestry, the original purpose of music involves these same elements: nonverbal communication through direct feeling, tribal unity and inter-tribal connection, and shamanic ritual through entrancing rhythms and melodic chants. So when I fall under Trippie’s spell cast by pure emotion, I’m feeling human origins and the magic of the human spirit. There is no need to be “refined”, only a need to express from a mind-altered state of creative freedom and pure inspiration.**

Evolution is happening and we can hear it through the music of humanity as she marches. We are approaching an advanced form of our natural state. We have struggled through centuries of restrained autonomy, and now as we re-discover and re-apply our unique personal power, we become more confident, wiser, less attached to tradition, more creative, more connected, and more free. I am hearing this in the music of the people rising.

**(See El Duende & Organized Insanity)



Photo by Roger Kidd [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]