Breland and the Radical Rise of Country Trap
In December of 2018, Lil Nas X released "Old Town Road." The rest feels like history. Billboard contention over what exactly constitutes country music. Viral TikTok artist turned Grammy Award - wining phenomenon. Lil Nas X on the cover of Time magazine.
Yet, Lil Nas X and, in particular, the influence of "Old Town Road," does not end there. The breakout cultural moment of 2019 signaled something larger, a veritable demand for country trap. Lil Nas X's unprecedented viral success opened the doors to a new possibility, one that artists like RMR and Breland are capitalizing on.
The former's vision is one whose sonics are firmly rooted in the tradition of country. In "Rascal," we are graced by RMR as he croons a haunting falsetto over a piano interpolation of Rascal Flatts' "Bless The Broken Road." The juxtaposition arrives in the accompanying video as RMR is seen donning a balaclava, a Saint Laurent bulletproof vest, and brandishing his firearm collection. The trap elements come into focus once the initial shock of the entire affair fades, as RMR details the trials and tribulations he has faced thus far and hip-hop's understandable disdain for the boys in blue.
However, country trap's latest newcomer is seeking to converge the ideals of RMR's country-rooted ballad and the early promise of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road." "I don't subscribe to rules. I'll make whatever I like. I'm trying to innovate... I want to have a place on the cutting edge," states Breland who currently has a viral hit thanks to "My Truck."
The homage to truck culture is built largely by the New Jersey-born, Atlanta-bred artist's diverse upbringing of gospel, R&B, and country. The result is a single that has catapulted Breland to the top of the Spotify viral charts. "My Truck" is a country trap anthem for the ages.
While it is impossible to ignore the infectious nature of Breland or "My Truck," which has unsurprisingly been accepted by TikTok's notable truck community, this is no passing moment of viral success. Breland is aiming to not just ride this wave but shape it, as he says in his words,
"I wanted to have fun, be creative, and bridge the gap between country and trap. In Atlanta, country and trap are the two biggest genres, so I was exposed to both of them all of the time. On 'My Truck', I decided to tell a story with a little bit of me in it."
Country trap is no passing fad. It is the next wave, and Breland is looking to be one of its top purveyors.