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Baauer: The Unsung Prince Of Trap

March 31, 2016

Everyone remembers the 2012 video fad that was dubbed the

Harlem Shake

– large groups of people dancing however they please, dressed in anything

from street clothes to a full-sized Teletubby costume

to a tune that gave this series of videos the name. After not even a


, the fad dissipated and suddenly people despised the Harlem Shake as a song.

However, if one lives under a rock, like me, or just prefers to remain as hipster as possible, one doesn’t really care to go out of the way to watch such videos. Thus, a deterrence of this tune is lost on me and I was able to listen to it from a subjectively EDM standpoint. Upon finding the song, I discovered it was by Baauer (




). Dropping the name Baauer (Wikipedia) to the average person causes looks of confusion, but reference “the ‘Harlem Shake’ guy,” and everyone suddenly knows exactly what you’re talking about.

Okay. So let’s clear up the obfuscation about Baauer and give him the credit and respect he deserves, as he’s


more than just the dude who composed the “Harlem Shake.” That being said, the “Harlem Shake” dropped in 2012, a time that every form of EDM that was heard in America was being classified as dubstep. The “Harlem Shake” was arguably the first song to begin the reign of trap music in America, given its massive popularity, in addition to its popularity skyrocketing right before the Great Dubstep Implosion of 2013 (but that’s a discussion for another time). This enabled the emergence of trap and is now one of the most prevalent subgenres of EDM in America. But, due to its ballistic overplaying, everyone became disgusted with the “Harlem Shake,” and Baauer never received the credit he deserved.

Side note: I didn’t listen to the “Harlem Shake” nearly as much as the majority of everyone else, so I didn’t get sick of it. In fact, it’s a very good trap piece, and encompasses very definitive qualities of the genre. Heck, I’m dancing to it now as I write this article. Judge me for my opinion. In fact, every song that Baauer puts out is a stylistically perfect example of what I believe to be good trap, and they’re all fantastic songs. But I’m biased because he’s amazing. He was one of the first trap artists to spark of a more experimental sound for the genre; sounds covering a spectrum inclusive of dark, industrial-esque, drippy, bouncy, metallic, and even just silly incorporated in rhythmic complex layerings – occasionally coming off as random – over punching, elongated basslines.  

I disgress! Baauer doesn’t get


the amount of credit that he should for being such a huge presence in the trap. Comparable to Diplo (






) in the sense that he’s a hand in production and perpetuation of trap music and the creation of beats/sounds, he’s, unfortunately, not as much of a popular name. He doesn’t show up on many music festival lineups and hardly has his own solo tours as compared to other DJs. That doesn’t change the fact that everything he puts out are absolute bangers (in terms of trap music). From his solo works and EPs to remixes and collaborations, his sounds and style are representative some of the strongest roots in more experimental trap music while still remaining an underlying name in the game; it’s for this reason why I’ve dubbed him as the unsung prince of trap. Teaming up with some of the biggest names in trap while still remaining significantly less known, he’s created very notable pieces, such as “

Infinite Daps

” with

RL Grime

- who is, as far as I’m concerned, the king of trap. (One day I’ll do an article defining the royal order of trap DJs). (Diplo is not a major part of the monarchy, sorry guys). Once more, I digress. He’s also been featured on many radio shows, such as (

formerly, as of late

) Nina Las Vegas’ (



NLV Records


Triple J Mix Up Exclusives


Baauer always seems to be getting handed the short end of the stick, and not in terms of his lack of recognition in comparison to the music he’s made/beats he’s produced.

In 2013, Baauer was sued by two gentlemen

reggaeton artist Hector Delgado

and Philadelphia rapper Jayson Musson – for copyright confusion over samples used in the “Harlem Shake.” However, Diplo and

Mad Decent

, a record label spearheaded by Diplo that the piece was released under,

was able to clear the lawsuit.

Diplo even cites the “Harlem Shake” as being the record that “’saved the label, because [in 2012, they] were going to fold’”.

Since then, the popularity of the “Harlem Shake” has vastly dissipated, in addition to an albeit lesser decrease in Baauer’s own following. By following, I mean people who actually knew his name at the very least, not just as ‘The Harlem Shake Dude.’ Although, I don’t know if it could be considered a following in the first place.

Baauer deserves to be treated and known as the prince of trap that he is with how much he’s done for the trap scene, and how iconic his music is of the characteristics of the genre. He’s the kind of DJ who’s so impressively good to me that I find his remixes of songs to be better than the original, such as his remix of

Ryan Hemsworth’s


His style has lasted the test of time since the pop culture birth of trap in 2012, and has managed to maintain being an influential force, despite his lack of touring. One should, at the very least, give this unsung prince the time of at least one song. If you hate it then I’m sorry, but that’s totally cool. Tune into KANM Student Radio at any time of day to possibly discover someone you consider the unsung hero of your favorite genre.

This has been Toni Nittolo, still enjoying trap and still reminding you to

r-r-r-roll up that grass


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