Miguel Arias Sanchez
HAVANA TIMES — According to those who claim they know, trap music was born last century in the ‘90s in the US, although it has now spread to Latin America and other parts of the world.
It’s hard for me to get my head around the fact that these kinds of “sexualized songs” or calls to criminal activity are the outcome of a mix of rap, hip hop, electronic music and/or reggae, as it could, in reality, be considered a more outrageous form of reggaeton.
Its lyrics promote drugs and addictions, gender violence, a lot of sex, gun use, crimes and no-one bats an eyelid. According to a Spanish musician, these are “sounds made for people who consume certain drugs and get high off of certain kinds of sounds.” However, the majority of people like it.
In Cuba, like in the rest of the world, it’s the youngest who are most interested in this music. Especially because it goes around on USB drives, the Weekly Package or the internet. The messages of this negative music of questionable taste have made it unbelievably appealing to young people. Some people agree that its lyrics are rude, that it belittles the physical and moral integrity of women; there is a chorus that is 100% pornography.
The alarming thing about all of this is that our children are admitting to identifying with this marginal world that the creators of this trap music conjure. The same thing that happened with reggaeton is now happening with trap music; it’s the most listened to and has been taken on by singers, including Cubans, who see in it an opportunity to connect with a younger audience.
While it’s true that our country defends its culture, identity, popular and traditional customs, it has also been impossible to stop foreign influences and examples from entering. This new genre of music is setting standards with new generations of musicians and consumers and it can be heard on radio programs, at private and state-owned businesses, at clubs, etc. And it will multiply in the face of this national chaos we are experiencing.
Cell phones are the main way that trap followers listen to this music, which are used a lot of the time without headphones and so they become portable music playing devices with quite a bit of volume.
There are many opinions about trap music… some experts label it a very complex phenomenon that needs to be studied in great depth. It’s a trend and whatever is trendy, sells. This is something that the market is capitalizing on and is making it even more popular.
Cuba is still not as heavily influenced by trap music as other countries in the world. Exposure to this music could impact new generations’ mental health, as it preaches the philosophy of living in the here and now; inciting them to forget the past and to have casual sex, be violent and commit crimes. This music isolates, instead of encouraging a taste for the good things in life and everything that makes us better people and to do the best we can, which is the most beautiful thing about this world of ours.