The Emergence Of Trap Soul

‘Trap Soul’ is the budding new star to emerge from contemporary R&B. First gaining notable success and prominence around 2016 with breakout stars Fetty Wap and Bryson Tiller achieving Top Ten albums in The Billboard 200 (Tiller’s album being titled after the genre itself ‘T R A P S O U L’). The name itself simply being an amalgamation of its two key components – Trap beats and soulful melodies.



The Roots


These rising stars have been at the forefront of pushing this new sound; in a similar way to which the Neo-Soul movement exploded onto the scene in the late 90’s, taking the core values of R&B and adding elements from popular genres of their time. In Neo-Soul's case, it was a Hip-Hop aesthetic running through the sounds, with artists such as Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo and Raphael Saadiq spearheading the movement, amongst others.

In Trap Soul’s case, it’s taking the modern production values of today; Trap-style percussion, booming 808’s and bass-driven elements plus explicit lyrics alongside versatile and distinctive singing styles and marrying that with the soulful vibes of latter-day R&B. Artists such as Tory Lanez, T-Pain, Fivio Foreign, Ty Dolla $ign and Rich the Kid continue to exemplify this style and push the boundaries of the Trap Soul foundations.





The movement is spreading far beyond the USA however, and each nation that gets a foothold in the sound is adding their own style to it. Artists such as Octavian in the UK, for example, adds a distinctly British twist to his tracks or lesser-known artists, such as Refi Sings, out of South Africa, bringing a slight Dancehall-style to her productions.



Time To Get Creative!


From a producer’s standpoint, producing Trap Soul is a lot of fun and there are just a few key elements to focus in on with relatively minimal but powerful layers to the genre; allowing a lot of room for creativity and expression.

The core of this genre rests on the Trap-style drums; with their distinctive and intricate hi-hat rhythms, regularly changing pace between 1/8th, 1/16th and 1/32nd note rolls to enhance the flow and add dynamic interest to the patterns. This will be anchored with a solid kick pattern and a half-time, pitched snare (with the occasional snare roll) that will instill that laidback and nodding groove.

Next up, and an essential component, is the low-end. A thunderous 808 will give you the power needed; this can either be processed with some light compression and saturation, or, layered up with a synth; this will help bring out some of the tops in the sound and help it cut through the mix and sound bigger overall.

With the drums and bottom-end taken care of, it’s time to add some harmonics and atmospheres. A smooth and soulful chord pattern layered with a basic melody that bounces around the beat will add to the rhythm and maintain interest in the track, or a sample from a classic R&B record that will fill out the space and give a vintage edge to your production. Vocal atmospheres, or heavily reverbed vocal chops will also add melodic textures and deliver the smoothness that this genre needs! This will still leave you a good amount of space in the mix for the vocal line, either sung by yourself of found from one of the many quality vocal sample packs available.


Some Inspiration


If you’re struggling for melodic inspiration or simply want some smooth and fresh sounds to add to your vaults, Prime Loops have got your back:




'Purple Soul' delivers 135MB of the Smoothest and most Soulful selections of melodic key loops yet. These transcendental loops will deliver a flourish of Soulful vibes to your productions; containing warm and uplifting pads, blissful Rhodes licks, mesmerizing Synth leads, refreshing bells and more! As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also included the MIDI files for all the loops, giving you greater creative control over the chords and melodies and allowing you to add your own aesthetics.




Inspired by artists such as Summer Walker, H.E.R, Syd, 6Black, Nao, Ravyn Lenae, SZA and more! 'Dark Matter' delivers you a selection of 44 lo-fi and saturated guitar loops that lend themselves perfectly to Trapsoul, Lo-Fi, Rnb, Hip Hop, or Atmospheric Trap vibes... alongside 43 smooth Key Loops that provide a solid foundation to the guitar loops. These allow you to build up some serious depth to your tracks!





NIGHTISM is packed with soulful grooves, glistening Rhodes, funky Wah guitars, blissful flutes, jazz-tinged chords, organic drum loops and much more! Funky basslines and solid grooves tie the pack together for a solid rhythm section, allowing the dreamy melodic instruments to sit on top and bring those Neo-Soul vibes. The perfect springboard to get your Trap Soul tracks started!


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