Once a subgenre of hip hop, trap music is now certifiably mainstream, and has been for quite some time. Trap sounds can now be heard in the songs of artists as diverse as Drake, Justin Bieber, and Caroline Polacheck, just to name a few. And trap music is also a ubiquitous sound in everything from commercials to YouTubers’ videos.
It’s a cultural phenomenon that just doesn’t quit but instead evolves. So, it’s fair to say that trap is here to stay.
A brief history of trap
While there’s still a debate raging as to who invented trap, it’s generally agreed that the subgenre started in Atlanta, Georgia. The word itself is derived from the term “trap house,” which is an abandoned house where they sell contraband and drugs, but it was first used in music in the mid 1990s by Atlanta hip hop group Goodie Mob on their song “Thought Process”, featuring Outkast’s Andre 3000.
While the trap sound was conceived and developed in the ATL by DJs like Shawty Redd and DJ Toomp, its influences come from EDM (Electronic Dance Music), dubstep, crunk and some New Orleans flavor with guys like Mannie Fresh, Juvenile and Lil’ Wayne.
Generally, the trap sound has 3 common characteristics:
- Synth beat with 808 hi-hats up front in the mix
- A triplet flow that creates a rolling irregular rhythm
- Rolls and risers, creating abrupt shifts.
Among the main players responsible for the breakout of trap are T.I. with Trap Muzik (2003), Gucci Mane with Trap House (2005) and Young Jeezy with Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 (2005).
After trap’s breakout, the next step was going mainstream, and the guy who brought it to the mainstream was Lex Luger with his work for Rick Ross, Soulja Boy and others. And the genre really hit overdrive with the arrival of Migos when their track “Versace” was the breakout hit of 2013. The hip hop world has never been same, with superstars like Kanye West and Snoop Dogg using Lex Luger’s sound.
With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best royalty-free trap beats of 2022 on Artlist.
Eliantte by Ollie Joseph
If you’re looking for a contemporary royalty-free trap beat in its purest form, “Eliantte” by Ollie Joseph is the ticket. It’s slow and minimal, with deep but spare kick drums, subtle hi-hats and mumbling rhyming triplets. This is elemental trap music, folks.
Curious George by Nate Rose
FYI, in this track, Nate Rose isn’t rapping about a cartoon monkey. With a bit of Migos vibe, this track is notable for a sampled flute melody, creative kick drums and nice lyrical flow. More than the other royalty-free trap beats on this list, “Curious George” has a distinct cinematic air.
I Can Never Die by Baer
Baer’s track sets itself apart with a more experimental flair with its trap sounds. While grounded in the genre’s usual sonic framework, the Los Angeles-based musician gives the track some psychedelic and world music elements, making it a truly unique entry in this royalty-free trap music collection.
Big Leagues by Vic Sage
The tempo, 808 hi-hats, deep basslines, kicks and rapping make for a quintessential modern trap song. However, Vic Sage’s “Big Leagues” features great melodic and harmonic elements, marking it as something more than typical royalty-free trap music.
Elevate! by Frank Bentley
While many trap tunes stick to a formula, Frank Bentley’s “Elevate!” goes in another direction. With its more active beat, aggressive vocal delivery and alternately atmospheric and quasi-industrial synths, this track is far more akin to Kanye West’s trap excursions than the Migos formulaic tracks. So if you’re looking for top royalty-free hip hop music, this is it.
The Dark by WEARETHEGOOD
This tune opens with a duet of a female vocal and piano notes. When the rap vocal comes, the piano pivots into a lower octave with a distinctly ambient timbre. Like Nate Rose’s “Curious George”, WEARETHEGOOD’s “The Dark” is cinematic, making it great royalty-free trap music for YouTube content and other video productions.
Pluto by Dephiant
This track introduces itself with swirling synthesized musical notes, then quickly introduces a slow but deep and rumbling trap beat. “Pluto” is the type of trap sound that would be great coming out of car speakers or a soundsystem. Dephiant gives the song a nice full sound—a perfect fit for those looking for royalty-free hip hop music.
Hollyhood by Jasmine J Walker
Jasmine J Walker’s work on “Hollywood” is a highlight of this trap sound collection. While her song nods at “the trap” in its original definition, Walker takes a lot of liberties with the genre’s sound. It owes much more to the production work heard on classic hip hop albums from Wu-Tang Clan, Lauryn Hill and the jazz-influenced style of A Tribe Called Quest.
Kingpin (feat. Mr. Chantilly) by St. Society
This trap begins like a marching band number, but like Frank Bentley’s “Elevate!” it’s far more of an exploration of Kanye West’s musical and emcee style. This is royalty-free trap music designed for video creatives around the globe.
Tracphone by Latrell James
Rounding out the list of royalty-free trap music is Latrell James’ “Tracphone.” Much like Jasmine J Walker’s “Hollywood”, James is clearly inspired by old-school 1990s hip hop, but he quite easily fuses it with the 808 percussion sounds of trap. Want royalty-free trap beats? Well, this is one of the best in the collection.
Wrapping up the best royalty-free trap music
If you’d like to keep up with current music trends, trap tracks are a must for your videos. On Artlist’s royalty-free Trap music collection you will find a wide range of trap beats, from funky to dark, and with an Artlist unlimited license you can use these songs on any type of video you’re making for any video platform you’re using. Stay creative!