From Atlanta to Beijing the world is obsessed with trap music. Maybe it’s because of the infectious triplet based rhythms, maybe it’s because of America’s influence on popular culture world wide, but trap is here to stay across the globe. Back in 2015 Korean rapper Keith Ape took the world by storm with his track “잊지마 (It G Ma)”, amassing 55 million streams and even got a remix featuring A$AP Ferg, Father, Dumbfoundead and Waka Flocka Flame. Keith Ape and the rest of Cohort are the biggest trap stars in Korea, but they are not the only ones over there, and It G Ma was just the beginning of massive trap hits around the world. Here are just a few of the rappers that are bringing trap music world wide.
Higher Brothers (China)
When you’re the biggest stars of your genre in the biggest country in the world you’re bound to make a wave. Hailing from Chengdu, Higher Brothers are part of a bigger hip hop collective called 说唱会馆 (Chengdu Rap House, or CDC) and they started off their career with a mixtape in 2016 that took off. After that they dropped Black Cab in 2017 with hit tracks “WeChat” and “Made In China”. They have started to cross over into the international scene with features from Famous Dex and Keith Ape.
France has a pretty established rap scene, with older MC’s like Booba and MC Solaar having paved the way back in the 90s and early 2000s. But French rap has alway been a little behind America in their production and flow. Niska is an exception to that. Niska comes from Évry, a suburb outside of Paris that is one of the most violent towns in France. He originally came onto the scene as a solo artist in 2015 with his album Charo Life which charted at #3 in France, but his breakthrough album was last years Commando which featured tracks like “Salé” (117 million views on youtube) and “Tubalife” featuring Booba (38 million views) which brought the album to #1 in France, #3 in Belgium and #6 in Switzerland. His song “Réseaux” was re-issued with features from Quavo and Stefflon Don.
Farruko (Puerto Rico)
Farruko has been putting out music since 2009, but he didn’t really start rapping until more recently. Farruko is kind of the exception on this list because he had already achieved superstardom before he started making trap music, but his recent releases have been nothing to overlook. Last year he put out TrapXficante which had the single “Krippy Kush” (615 million streams on youtube) and with that he was able to change himself to more of a rapper than a singer, even though he is certainly both. “Krippy Kush” was remixed by Nicki Minaj and featured Travis Scott, and that remix is what crossed Farruko over to english speakers all around the world.
Australia doesn’t have much of a rap history. In 2003 Hilltop Hoods really brought rap to the island, but they had a unique style that wasn’t really like what was happening in the rest of the world. Sydney’s Manu Crook$ is the one of the first Australian rappers to make music that was on par with what is happening in America. While he may not have the same popularity as other artists on this list, Manu Crook$ is really an exception and his popularity shows how popular the trap sound is.
Cassper Nyovest (South Africa)
If you didn’t know that Cassper Nyovest was from South Africa you might never think that he isn’t American. Everything from his clothes, to his videos are on trend with what’s happening in the US. His debut album Tsholofelo went platinum in South Africa and was #1 on the charts for 2 months. His third album, Thuto, went double platinum with bangers on it like “Tito Mbweni” and “Ng’yekeleni” which featured The Roots’ Black Thought. Cassper Nyovest is the biggest rapper in South Africa because he continues to put out high quality tracks that sound like they could be from Atlanta.
Mashayabhuqe KaMamba (South Africa)
There are two South African rappers on this list to prove a point, trap isn’t limited by language because, unlike Cassper Nyovest, Mashayabhuqe KaMamba raps in Zulu. The Johannesburg native brings the heat on tracks like “Sun City Flow” and “Shandarabaa Ekhelemendeh” and just like all of the other songs on the list that aren’t in English, you don’t have to speak the language to see just how hard he goes on them. Mashayabhuqe hasn’t quite made it as big as everyone else on this list, but he is well on his way, and is the biggest Zulu rapper around.
When you think about it, it’s only natural that trap would be big in Brazil. The country is home to some of the most compelling rhythms in music, so it makes sense that the most rhythmically diverse subgenres of rap would work for them. Haikaiss has managed to cash in on trap in Brazil, with their track “Rap Lord” earning 106 million views on YouTube. Their career really kicked off back in 2012 when they opened for Wiz Khalifa in São Paulo and since then they have put out heavy track after heavy track.
There were actually a lot of Russian artists to choose from for this list, it turns out that trap is really popular over there. Face is a 21 year old rapper from Ufa, Russia. If you were to compare him to anyone in the American rap scene he’s probably most similar to Lil Pump, he even references him a few times in his songs. His tracks are full of adlibs straight from the US, and he’s just started to crossover to the international community. Last February he put out a video that Cole Bennet from Lyrical Lemonade directed, which helped to confirm his status. He put out his first project in 2015 when he was 18 years old and broke through with his track “Гоша Рубчинский” which has picked up 9 million views on youtube since the video was released in January 2016.
Yung Lean (Sweden)
Arguably the most popular rapper on this list (at least in America), Yung Lean comes from Stockholm, Sweden. Back in 2013 he released his first mixtape, Unknown Death 2002 and when two tracks from it went viral Yung Lean became the biggest Swedish rapper in the world. The fact that he raps in English made it easy for Lean to crossover into the American rap world, and in 2014 he did his first North American tour. Since then he has had features from A$ap Ferg, Travi$ Scott and more heavy hitters.
So what does it all mean? Trap is here to stay and “here” is everywhere.