1- “I Put On For My City”: The Atlanta Trap Scene and Conspicuous Consumption in the Music of Gucci Mane and (Young) Jeezy - Dilshan Weerasinghe, Dalhousie University

10:30 AM, Friday 24 May 2019 (2 hours)
Lunch   12:30 PM to 01:30 PM (1 hour)

With depictions of luxury cars, brand name clothes, and 24K jewelry, Atlanta trap music reeks of wealth and excess. Though its musical rhetoric is similar to the West Coast sound (heavy bass with showy horn and synth parts, creating an over the top sound) trap is distinctive for combining choppy phrasing by MCs over booming beats with sporadic high-hat patterns, with lyrical depictions of material wealth. In an interview with Noisey (Vice), Curtis Daniels (CEO of the legendary Atlanta studio Patchwerk Recording Studios) states that the musical rhetoric of trap comes from being designed to succeed in strip clubs, where women working in the clubs would be dancing to the music for wealthy patrons looking to spend obscene amounts of money. This provenance story strengthens trap’s connection to a lifestyle of extravagance and excess.

Trap is often dismissed for its vulgarity and celebration of greed, in contrast to socially conscious hip-hop, but the “strip club” musical rhetoric presents examples of conspicuous consumption. Through Atlanta trap, working class African-Americans claim symbols of an extravagant lifestyle: can this style be understood as both critique of the class system and as a bid for upper-class status? In this presentation I hope to examine the works of pioneering Atlanta trap artists Gucci Mane and (Young) Jeezy to discuss their sonic and visual depictions of extravagant lifestyle in songs “Icy” and “Put On”.
Dalhousie University
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