The Beat with Kylea Pearson; What is Emo-Trap?


The surprising collaboration in a recent release between popular artists Brendon Urie and Benny Blanco and Juice WRLD have left fans and musicians wondering, what is emo-trap? This new genre of music has exploded in the rap and alternative music industry. Though Panic! At The Disco is not everyone’s favorite band, the collaborative song, “Roses”, has reached a new level for both Juice WRLD and Brendon Urie. Urie, the lead singer of Panic! At The Disco, is known for his emo music background and rapper Juice WRLD is a common name within the emo-trap genre; together the song was a hit.

Other emo-trap artists such as Lil Lotus, Lil Peep, 88GLAM, and Lil Uzi Vert have created their own platform by utilizing their skills as composers and lyricists.

For Example, Lil Peep’s song “Beamer Boy” delicately uses a mumbled and simple chord pattern from an acoustic guitar, which sounds like it has nylon strings, to emphasize the almost-dull feeling until the beat comes in to start the rap progression. The song’s lyricism is clearly in a more depressive state, but instead of the slow and emotional rhythm you would expect from a sad song, the passionate lyrics mesh with the continuous beat which is rather fast for this kind of emotive transparency. The song emits the artist’s faith in his dream and where he’d like to be and also, like most rap songs, it still displays the craving for fancy cars and drugs, but in contrast, he claims he has more important things to say than this.

Another song that displays this newly formed genre is “Bodybag ft. Cold Hart”, by Lil Lotus. Simlilar to Lil Peep’s song, it begins with a two chord acoustic rhythm and then progresses into a beat that forms into the guitar. The interesting aspect of the lyrics is that they are some of the most gentle words, but the flow makes the song come off as rap until the lyrics reveal that the artist is heartbroken. Like many rap songs, it does have a lot of repetition, but more importantly, it’s about what the artist is repeating: “Should’ve stayed inside like you told me to. Should’ve stayed inside like you told me to”. Also lyrics like, “Pull up to your house, now I’m tongue tied. Said that you don’t love me, now what’s up with that? Told me I was better in a bodybag.” By using language like this, the listeners are lead to the depths of the artist’s emotions and by using the term “bodybag”, a more symbolic side of the music’s indication is exposed.

When it comes to album art, emo-trap also has its own format. In emo music we often see blood, drawings, dark and sometimes even eerie album artwork. In rap we see different types of designer fashion, purple lights, blue lights, city lights, alcohol, drugs, money, tattoos, etc. Interestingly enough, emo-trap has both factors. Lil Skies’ album artwork for “Life Of A Dark Rose” showcases a black background that also fades into the artist’s face as the darkness engulfs his eyes. His tattoos are on display as well and the font used for the album title is a typography we can find on many rap albums.

Emo-trap has been newly introduced to the music industry as of a year and a half ago. This kind of genre allows those who love the beat mixes of rap and hip-hop music, but need more lyricism and vulnerability from the artist to be able to connect to a song. But as a listener’s warning, the music is indescribably sad and emotional, so listen with caution if you are looking for mood shifting music.