Long before Gucci Mane invited fans into his Trap House or Young Jeezy made his Trap or Die proclamation or Migos were living the "Trap Life," T.I. introduced the world to Trap Muzik. But does that mean he is its creator?
According to the artist himself, yes. In a new interview with veteran New York radio host Angie Martinez, Tip staked his claim as the architect of the popular hip-hop sub-genre.
"A lot of people really really don't know that I created trap music," said T.I., adding, "there was no such thing as trap music prior to [T.I.], it didn't exist."
This isn't the first time T.I. has tried to lay claim to trap music. In a 2012 interview with Funkmaster Flex, the veteran emcee shared the same sentiment.
But while T.I. absolutely deserves praise for popularizing trap music and the name itself, especially in an Atlanta hip-hop scene that, according to T.I., was nothing but "OutKast and crunk," the origins of trap music actually extend beyond the borders of the state of Georgia and pre-date his 2003 breakout release.
In 1992—when T.I. was 12 years old—approximately 709 miles southwest of Atlanta in Port Arthur, Texas, rappers Bun B and Pimp C of UGK introduced the trap lifestyle—one that centered around a lifestyle of selling drugs and pimping in some of the country's poorest neighborhoods, often with little to no hope of breaking the cycle—to listeners on their debut album Too Hard to Swallow. If you travel 384 miles northwest of Atlanta to Memphis, Tennesse, 8Ball & MJG did the very same thing in 1994 on their On the Outside Looking In album.
Though neither UGK nor 8Ball & MJG recorded a hit song or album with "trap" in the title, and might not be an exact match sonically with what is immediately recognized as "trap" today, the content of their music was flush with all of the same attributes that T.I. covered in his industry-changing LP nearly a decade later.
So, no, T.I. didn't create trap music, he just helped to coin the phrase on a national level.