On Flosstradamus and some opinions on the underground’s trap fascination…
The story of the rapidly zooming to mainstream success of Chicago DJ duo Flosstradamus isn’t totally the latest story of urban hipster appropriation of hip-hop style for mainstream success. Yes, that’s usually the tale we’d tell when you look at the facts of their rise, a story of taste-making hipster DJs turned producers seemingly aping the work of Lex Luger and the Trapaholics DJ crew for personal gain. However, there’s something deeper here, something honest that makes them, and not the literal thousands of other DJ/producers following in their wake that makes them worthy of superstar status.
Flosstradamus’ work with Diplo’s Mad Decent label in 2012 has been nothing short of stellar. January’s remix of hardstyle-meets-Dutch house-meets dancehall trackanthem “Original Don” brought the stylings of the Trapaholics crew, a long respected crunk hip-hop collaborative to the underground. An already standing underground love affair with trap music is obvious. Diplo built a career largely out of playing Lil Jon next to Bmore club, and hip DJs worldwide took note. So, when Waka Flocka Flame and Rick Ross burst into the mainstream on a bed of Lex Luger synthetics, 808s and hi-hats, an obvious space for rising producers to ascend to the mainstream surface was created.
Their Mad Decent subsidiary Jeffrees-released Total Recall EP and a remix of Diplo-produced Usher giant “Climax” later, and the duo are ready to blow up in a major way. It probably couldn’t happen to a more deserving and uniquely prepared duo. J2K is the brother of Kid Sister, the Kanye cosigned Chicago ingenue whose “Pro Nails” tickled the mainstream and with subsequent releases has become a dependable, perpetually entertaining independent stalwart. Autobot is Curt Camerucci, a local DJ supreme in the Windy City whose style has blended well with his partner’s to create a decade-long body of solid work that prepares them well for this moment.
When hard-working indie DJs latch onto urban styles, it creates a different resonance on a dance floor than the work of so many of the untested bedroom auteurs you can expect to hear this year. The best DJs are often students of life, often spending large amounts of time in urban locales observing people living their lives, themn ultimately being the people to cause them to detach from pain and bear the stresses of their lives. When it comes to trap music, a sound intrinsically related to drug dealers and hustlers of various stripes, understanding the psychology of music in this manner is undoubtedly important.
Bedroom producers lacking significant experience as live DJs making almost any style of music (and in this case especially trap music) create sounds that feel exquisite in the same way that classic art feels unique and priceless. It was created for individual viewing, disconnected from all reality, often made without significant thought placed into human interaction or nightclub acoustics. DJs who produce make music that connects in an entirely different manner. This is music that’s meant for long-term play, and when successful, are usually the type of jams that create the magical club moments that turn average DJs into legendary folklore.
There’s going to be a ton of “trap music” made by people who largely a) know phenomenally little about living life, and especially living life in “the trap” or b) are highly inexperienced at DJing invading the underground and fighting for mainstream ears this year. Flosstradamus’ work? Given that it’s made by two guys who get all of “it” that makes music, namely “trap music,” great and powerful, deserve respect and a place above all others.
“Damn son, where’d you find this!”
Well, Trapaholics crew, it turns out Flosstradamus had it all along.