There's something weird happening. It feels like, hidden underneath the grinding, explosive production that's dominated trap sounds this past summer, there's a cloudy layer of appropriation that's leaning on cadences, textures, and vocal deliveries akin to various strands of rock. Waka Flocka and Lex Luger's first wave was jokingly referred to as "heavy metal for black people," but the trend is sharpening in focus. OG Maco and Brandon Thomas have been open about rock influence on the dry-throated screams of "U Guessed It": "That Trap Rock feel was grunge, trap fused together," Thomas told us. "An acoustic aesthetic, fused together like it's a trap record." And I drunkenly remember someone telling me at the FADER Fort that Nick Catchdubs told them he thought Rae Sremmurd's "No Type" sounded like a hair metal ballad, which makes more sense the more you think about it.
After hearing SD's "Circles," I'm even more convinced. The Chicago rapper has released several tapes and singles since breaking out as part of Chief Keef's GBE set, but his latest is a stylistic highpoint. The bass line tears throughout like a dead-lifted guitar, and SD stretches through the chorus with all the limp anguish of grunge's most self-pitying frontmen: It's like this gwap done called on me, got me feeling I'm abnormal. I can't help but think of Chris Cornell or "Something In The Way"—heavy, slow songs with melodies that still stick. Maybe, as pop increasingly digs its fingers into trap, trap's most forward-thinking practitioners are reaching around through pop's backdoor, subconsciously riffing off another localized sub-genre that improbably stormed the charts twenty years ago. It wouldn't be the worst era to circle back to. SD's Truly Blessed drops November 18th.