Reviews

S-Type’s Beat EP Reinvigorates Trap Music

2012 was arguably the most exciting time in this decade for dance music.

With a style that dramatically turned away from the barrage of big room and blog house that dominated the late 2000s, a new crop of EDM superstars began to emerge. Baauer, TNGHT, RL Grime, Rustie, Flosstradamus, Sinjin Hawke, and Lunice were becoming synonymous with the birth of a wildly different EDM genre: trap music.

In an article on trap music I wrote in 2013, I questioned the genre’s sustainability—as it built toward its inevitable crescendo, how could trap music possibly continue to grow? As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Trap music’s commercial explosion was only just beginning, and with its evolution it launched a new sub-genre of popular EDM: future bass.

While most dance music fans are well aware of the cultural impact these aforementioned artists have, I find that the go-to list of trap music’s most influential producers is lacking. Producers like Araabmuzik, Lex Luger, Arnold, Branchez, or Salva are glossed over, and they shouldn’t be.

But perhaps the most quietly progressive artist of them all shares a label with some of trap’s most recognizable names. Bobby Perman, better known as S-Type, changed the path of trap music with his 2012 LuckyMe-released Billboard EP. Now, with his new Beat EP, he’s here to revitalize the genre.

Looking at his discography, one can see that S-Type is one of the most prolific producers to date. He’s been releasing a steady output of music for the past several years, and significantly increased that body of work in the past year. Before the release of his Beat EP, S-Type teased new work with throwaway “type-beats” available on his SoundCloud for 24 hours only, then dropped a video for his first single, “Waiting”.

Beat is a truly personal piece of work, and harkens back to the days of LuckyMe’s thrilling releases in the earlier part of the 2010s. Recorded in S-Type’s Glasgow studio, where he shares he’s “spent the last few years working with my LuckyMe family, writing soundtracks and mixing a tonne of records,” the energy of Scotland’s most innovative label shines through. The polished exuberance of tracks like “Fetch” and “Infinite Lives” immediately brought me back to the first time I heard “Higher Ground” or “Slasherr”. That’s not to say that Beat is a re-tread of old material—rather, S-Type infuses his years of expertise into an amalgamation of experimental and familiar sounds, making his music fresher than ever before.

In some ways, S-Type’s Beat EP is a masterclass in trap music and its background. The music is inventive, with each listen shedding a new layer within the songs, but there’s some historical influence from the LuckyMe trap releases that took the dance music world by storm nearly a decade ago. With that being said, “Waiting” seems to take a direction all its own. The final song on the EP, “Waiting” leans toward glitch-hop, but with a retro-infused wistfulness. It’s the sound of looking off into the sunset as you drive away from your old life, and into your new one. In that case, it’s a fitting close for S-Type’s Beat EP—paying homage to the sounds that brought trap music to fruition, S-Type turns them on their head to carve out a new direction for himself as the innovator he deserves to be recognized as.

Listen to S-Type’s Beat EP on Spotify, and order the vinyl via LuckyMe.

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