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'Trapping it out' is a hit in Cincinnati

Trap music events are selling out across town
Posted at 7:00 AM, Mar 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-18 08:55:46-04

CINCINNATI -- Walk into Jekyll on Fountain Square during Trap Bingo, and you'll find the walls almost shaking with trap music... even when it's not playing.

At times, the DJ will turn pre-recorded tracks down, letting members of the crowd carry the tune themselves.

Turn on the radio to drive home, and it's the same thing. Trap music, a once-niche genre of Southern hip hop focusing on heavy basslines, is everywhere.

For entrepreneurs in Cincinnati, it's a vehicle to inclusive events.

"It's about bringing more people together," said James Marable, a co-founder of the event series Trap Bingo. "Taking a simple game that everyone knows and kind of putting a spin on it to something that's more current or relevant."

Trap music's relevance continues to blossom, Marable said, as artists such as Cardi B. and Migos score infectious Top 40 hits. (Just try to get the filthy, funky "Bodak Yellow" out of your head.) Before them, artists like T.I. and Young Jeezy were rapping over trap beats.

Attendance is swelling too, with a few hundred people from all corners of Cincinnati showing up at the Trap Series events Marable hosts with local DJ HD.

"A lot of times when we have groups and things here in the city, we talk about diversity. Diversity is very important, because that means everyone is able to come and do something," Marable said. "We look at it more so from an inclusionary standpoint. Diversity is being able to come to the party; inclusion is being able to dance at the party."

For DJ HD, these trap events stand out because a professional is planning them.

"The DJ knows exactly what music is going to set the tone of the event at every given moment," he said. "It makes it a more fun experience, so for the whole event we pretty much have everything planned out as far as how the mood is going to feel."

During Trap Bingo, participants buy themed bingo cards and match the song playing to the artist on the card. At Trap-N-Paint events, an artist leads a canvas painting class while the music plays.

"All our trap events, they're based around this concept of just trapping it out," he said. "Most of these events have been around for a long time -- people been painting and sipping and listening to music for a while -- so we figured why not add a twist to it."

In some ways, trap music culture is response to the country's current divisive political climate, DJ HD said.

"It's like a silent yet loud revolt," he said. "It's easy to side with the revolution that's going on by just being more involved in hip-hop culture. Hip-hop culture is like a revolutionary culture as it stands."

The trap scene isn't only located Downtown. Roselawn Live, an events center located at 7617 Reading Road, also hosts popular Trap-N-Paint events.

"We have anywhere from 200 to 250 people who are able to paint and enjoy trap music from the era of the '90s to the early 2000s," event proprietor Gina Fasho said. "We have people from all social classes and demographics all coming together and coming together listening to music."

For $35, attendees get everything they need for the event, including canvas, smock and free wine tasting

Roselawn Live, the former site of nightclub Celebrities, is working to be a positive attribute to the community.

"We want to show Roselawn, Bond Hill, Avondale and Evanston, we have things for children, like our Easter ball," she said. "If a person is suffering or going through something, celebrate it here. We have people who are event coordinators that create a beautiful ballroom. This way, we have it for everyone from old and young alike."