14 Mar

What Can Marketers Learn from Trap Music?

By: Autumn Grace Peterson, Account Associate 

Trap music serves to remind us of the value of being authentic; that not everything has to be hyper-produced and photoshopped to perfection. Curious? Read on! 

Every young professional has their own way of preparing for the workday. Some people prefer yoga, maybe a peaceful cup of coffee, or even a mindfulness exercise. Me? I enjoy blaring trap music while driving to work… while still being completely mindful of my hearing health @HillHearBetter.  

What is trap music? Trap music is a subgenre of rap that is filled with slurred lyrics, synths and 808s. My mom refers to it as trash music—so there’s another definition. But, as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In this case: millennials. This genre of music stems from Atlanta, has existed for decades and has definitely reached the forefront of pop music.  

According to NPR:  

In the last two months alone, a steady stream of mainstream dominance has kept all eyes on the ATL: Migos popped the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Bad and Boujee” and the group’s album, C U L T U R E, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Future became the first solo artist in history to release two albums that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in back-to-back weeks. Lil Yachty added a major Target endorsement — and the longest commercial aired during the Grammy Awards’ February broadcast — to his portfolio. 

Like rock ‘n roll or other poopoo’d genres of the past, this music reveals something cooking in our culture. These lyrics laden in profanity and blatantly saturated in auto-tune frequently draw attention to the underbelly of society.    

Take a look at the nearly ironic design work on the cover of these albums: 


“The Life of Pablo” by Kanye West. Although Kanye West would not be considered a trap artist, “The Life of Pablo,” like most of his albums, was experimental and follows similar trends that trap album covers have followed recently.   


“Pretty Girls Like Trap Music” by 2 Chainz 


Culture by Migos 

“Culture” is a simple collage of images and “Life of Pablo” looks like it could be accomplished in an introductory computer class. These album covers don’t include glitz or glamour nor does the music itself. Trap music revels in grunginess, whether that be through the explicit lyrics, obvious autotune or the design work used on the album covers.  

What can we as marketers take from trap music? This style of music appears to be a reaction of a generation that is tired of facades. Our computers are capable of photoshopping a piece of pizza into a supermodel (no joke, check it out here). Millennials want an escape from all the lies. This is possibly a reason why they enjoy music that doesn’t try to hide anything, even the most socially rejected activities of our society. Not everything we distribute needs to be glamorous to be appreciated. For instance, a simple video taken on a mobile device can still be well-received on social media.  

Certainly, there is a time and place for everything, so use your discretion. But hopefully this alleviates the pressure to constantly have formal material.