Fall into Trap City. Plus: Andy Stott, Tiara Sensation Pageant, Catz 'N Dogz, Stereo, more parties
SUPER EGO First off, a woozy-recovery shoutout to the heroes of Folsom Street Fair, beyond the organizers themselves, who continue to bring a solid electro music festival vibe to the, er, packed fistful of proceedings. I think drag artist VivvyAnne Forevermore outdid all the torture enthusiasts by staying in full face for three whole days of performing, the mysterious entity known as Luther proved at its party that 400 shirtless, sex-reeking men on a dancefloor doesn't mean "circuit party," and DJ Carnita of Hard French valiantly kicked off the amazing Deviants party fresh from the hospital, his ankle broken in a tragic gay basketball accident. What we won't do for love!
Now, looking ahead (after all those behinds): is trap music a trap? The burgeoning microgenre has seized the Internet this summer after bubbling under for 10 years, begun as a low-budget, dirty-sounding Atlanta rap beats style meant to reflect the dark and paranoid feel of the drug game — the "trap" in question. What it's become is both a savvy marketing onslaught by hype-happy music producers, some of them of the douche variety (boo) and also a way for dubstep-weary general partiers to get deeper and sexier, by combining hip-hop's crunked 808 bass-snare swag with EDM's keyboard-driven energy and some classic booty-bass trimming (nice).
I'm digging it, even though I'm no fan of pop-EDM's LCD aspirations or contemporary hip-pop's zombie materialism and worn-out masculinity-crisis tropes — although all that's recently been changing a bit, and luckily the sophisticated techno and alternative hip-hop scenes have been thriving in reaction. SF finally has a regular club night devoted to the sound, Trap City (Sat/29 and last Saturdays, 9pm-4am, $7–$10. Icon, 1192 Folsom, SF.). And of course we're giving it some goofy irony and some serious underground connections.
The irony comes via witchy-Tumblr graphics, cartoonish "gold chainz swangin'" hype, and Net-savvy entities (producer Trill Murray and rapper Chippy Nonstop perform this month). The underground connects come from notorious DJ Ultraviolet, queen of the early, grimy dubstep and bass scenes here, who runs the Trap with partner Napsty.
"I think a lot of DJs are getting into this style of music because it is a lot less intense and 'ravetastic' then most of the brostep coming out these days, and that sort of vibe is easier for more people to grasp right now than electro and dubstep bangers — although I enjoy those, too," Ultraviolet told me over email.
"I've always injected a bit of hip-hop flavor into my sets and so a lot of the trap music coming out recently appealed to me: it sounds good on the big soundsystems and girls aren't afraid to dance to it. I really like the diverseness of the scene. At Trap City we get all types of people. You just see everyone going nuts and loving it so much, I kinda ask myself, as a bass music DJ how could I not get into this? LOL."