Veteran Atlanta-based culture journalist A.R. Shaw announces that his “Trap History” eBook will be released on Thursday, April 9, 2020 and is available for pre-order purchase on Apple, Kindle and iTunes at TrapHistory.com. Physical copies will be out in May. The compelling, thoroughly researched 300-page work tells the story of the popular hip hop subgenre by describing the rise of the music as well as explaining the politics and sociology that fueled the sound.
Shaw discusses Hussle’s impact in “Trap History” chapter XI — “Trapped by Circumstance: Rap’s Death Trap.” While Hussle did not make trap music, Shaw wrote a passage about Hussle because of the late artist’s ties to Atlanta, the subgenre’s epicenter. “DJ Drama, who is based out of Atlanta, actually hosted Nipsey’s ‘Crenshaw’ mixtape,” Shaw says about the famous, limited-edition collection Nipsey sold for $100. “He had a lot of Atlanta ties, so I wanted to highlight them. He was friends with people like T.I., Zaytoven and Scotty ATL, whether it was from a musical standpoint or just generally connecting with him as a person.”
Shaw, who interviewed Hussle, felt the impact the hip hop artist had on his hometown when he visited Hussle’s Marathon Clothing store after his death. “I was in Los Angeles covering the NAACP Image Awards and he passed the day after,” Shaw says. “To go down to the Crenshaw and Slauson area and see how much Nipsey meant to the community showed that he was more than just a rapper. He was a person for the people.”
Being released amid the tumultuous Coronavirus pandemic, the “Trap History” eBook offers an interesting perspective as it chronicles how the Black community was affected by the crack epidemic 30 years ago. “We’re all trapped,” Shaw says with a lighthearted laugh when asked how “Trap History” is relevant during the global COVID-19 crisis. “It’s going to be interesting to see what happens after we get out of this. How will communities change? Will the wealth gap widen? I think initially the mental trap we talked about in the ‘80s and ‘90s that came because of income and equality and the [President Ronald] Reagan Era and Reaganomics and how that affected certain inner city communities. So with this happening with the Coronavirus, they are saying that unemployment is going to be up to 20 to 30 percent. After it’s all said and done, how will the Black community and the inner city be affected by the virus?”