TNGHT: “Trap crowds in EDM are emulating a culture they don’t understand”
Production duo TNGHT – Glasgow’s Hudson Mohawke and Montreal’s Lunice Pierre – are on fire right now. As two of the first producers to properly bridge the gap between hip hop culture and EDM, they’re out there making beats for the likes of Kanye West and Rick Ross, as well as destroying festivals like Hard Summer, Sonar and Australia’s Listen Out.
But in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the pair were quick to distance themselves from the genre of ‘trap’, which originally signified the grimy “dirty south” drug rap of Three 6 Mafia and Gucci Mane, but has lately become the catch-all term for the meeting point between hip hop and bass heavy electro bangers.
“Trap crowds in EDM seem to be emulating a culture they don’t understand,” Lunice Pierre said. “Trap music is about cutting bricks [dealing drugs]. It’s not about twerking, either! That’s a whole different culture. It’s a hood culture that’s not the same. Everyone is so confused and it’s a little annoying at times.”
“That’s not trap music!” added HudMo. This isn’t the first time that the duo have distanced themselves from the ‘trap’ label – in an interview with The Independent in July 2012, Pierre said, “What’s pretty interesting is that there’s no way that any of the songs on [our] EP sound anywhere near trap. That’s what I like though. I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to be one thing, I like to appreciate certain elements and then put it in my production and mix stuff. There are similarities in how hard it hits and just because of the 808s people assume it’s trap. Whilst everyone’s making trap, we’re just making something else.”
While TNGHT may be keen to semantically distance themselves from the Harlem Shake sound of ‘trap’, they needn’t be worried about their own place as two of the most hotly-tipped producers at the crowded intersection between hip hop and club music. Pierre is producing for Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group; HudMo is signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music. But it’s not the rap impresarios who have the pair star struck.
“The surrealist [sic] shit for me is working with Rubin,” HudMo said. “I went to his compound in Malibu where he works. He’s in what used to be Bob Dylan’s place. He has Bob Dylan’s tour bus set up as a secondary studio. Just seeing him walking around barefoot one morning and then having a casual chat. He’ll be wearing these old ass shorts and a tattered T-shirt and is barefoot and doesn’t give a fuck and is just sun-bathin’ or something. Then he comes in and has this acute ear and knows what to do with a song. He just figures it out purely from an aural perspective. It is ridiculous! And impressive.”
“I try not to get overwhelmed though it’s totally surreal,” added Pierre. “When I met 2 Chainz I needed to take a second but then it was go-time. If you don’t immediately go all-in, you doubt yourself and can set yourself up to fail. I’m not about to do that.”