On Thurs., Feb. 20, respected Atlanta journalist and author A.R. Shaw will release his book, “Trap History,” a compelling, thoroughly researched 300-page work that tells the story of the popular hip hop subgenre by describing the rise of the music as well as explaining the politics and sociology that fueled the sound. The book is supported by Shaw’s “Trap History” audio documentary that will be released simultaneously via Audible.
Trap is a term coined in Atlanta as a place where drugs are sold and bought. Trap music is a form of rap that reveals how the sell of illegal drugs, drug use, and America’s war on drugs affects poor and disenfranchised communities. Shaw takes readers on a journey that is informative, entertaining, poignant, and inspiring while delving into the origins and social climate that surrounds the music genre. “Trap History” stands as the first book that firmly details the birth and rise of Trap music.
The book and audio documentary feature Shaw’s curated interviews with dozens of history makers including pioneering Atlanta artists, producers, music executives, and experts who witnessed first-hand the origins and rise of Trap music. Rapper Kilo Ali recalls penning “Cocaine (American Has A Problem)” at the age of 16 in 1990 while serving time in the Fulton County Juvenile Detention Center. DJ Toomp recounts touring as the deejay for the 2 Live Crew in the late 1980s and producing early hits for Atlanta rappers Raheem The Dream and MC Shy D. Former Fulton County Assistant District Attorney John Turner explains how the Miami Boys drug gang began infiltrating the Techwood Homes housing projects in 1986 and Magic City strip club founder Michael Barney describes how the gentlemen’s club provided a viable platform for emerging rappers to promote their music. Shaw additionally interviews the likes of OutKast’s Big Boi, T.I., Khugo of Goodie Mob, Young Thug, Gucci Mane, Migos, Shawty Lo, Killer Mike, Zaytoven, Future and 21 Savage as well as veteran Atlanta music executives Antonio “LA” Reid, Kawan “KP” Prather and Shanti Das.
Shaw wanted to assure the genre’s history was properly documented. “I decided to write ‘Trap History’ because it is a book that has not been written,” he says. “It is an audio documentary/podcast that has not been produced. This is a project that delves into the origins of Trap music and Atlanta culture. It started with the idea of me wanting to tell the story of Atlanta. I believe Atlanta is this generation’s version of the Harlem Renaissance. For nearly four decades, Atlanta has stood as the cultural capital in terms of Black music. I predict that college professors and social scientists will study Atlanta’s music scene similar to how they have studied Harlem in the 1920s; Detroit and Motown Records in the 1960s; and New York’s rap, punk, and disco eras of the 1970s and 1980s.”
“Trap History” is more than just a music narrative. “I made it a point to shine light on the musicians who shaped Atlanta’s culture and the systemic failures which led to poverty, crime, and the war on drugs, all of which, inspired the foundation of the Trap and Trap music,” Shaw says. “The audio documentary/podcast is an extension of the book as it tells the story of Trap music and Atlanta in a docu-style format.”
A.R. Shaw is a journalist based in Atlanta with over 10 years of experience in the media industry. During his career, Shaw has extensively covered Atlanta’s vibrant music scene while also covering national stories in politics, sports, and culture.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Music
Welcome to Traplanta
How Strip Club Culture Influenced Bass Music and Gave Rise to an Industry
OutKast, the Era of Crunk, and Atlanta’s Epic Nightlife
From Snap to Trap: The Life and Times of Shawty Lo
Trap Becomes Music: The Journey of T.I.
The Rise of Trap Music: Jeezy, the BMF Takeover, and the era of Mixtapes
Gucci Mane: The Plug to Trap Music Stardom
How Migos’ Culture Album Changed the Culture of Trap Music
Part II: The Trap
Welcome to the Bluff – The World’s Most Notorious Trap
Trapped in Addition: Mental Health and Trap Music
Trapped by Circumstance: Rap’s Death Trap
Chapter XII: Gentrifying the Trap
Part III: Beyond the Trap
Trappin’ Around the World
Trap – American Music. American Problem. American Dream.