Any good genre of dance music quickly goes from fresh and exciting to regurgitated drivel. This transformation is accelerating every day, usually through the rapacity of soundware companies flooding the market with copycat forgeries, simulacrums of an authentic aesthetic.
Nowhere is this more apparent than with the current trends in trap; however, our collective clamour has been echoed by ModeAudio's Trap Kingdom. They have resisted the irresistible and produced an exciting new sample pack that traverses the current trap music trend and reinvigorates an otherwise stale genre.
Trap Kingdom offers 430 MB of loops, one shots, and MIDI clips. As for loops, you get collections of bass, drums, guitar, SFX, synths and instruments. The one shots section of the library offers a variety of kicks, claps, snares, hi hats and percussion hits. The MIDI clips mirror the loops, giving you access to the chords, arpeggios, bass and lead lines, as well as the drum sequences. All of this with an aesthetic of unique textures and timbres that blend well with hip-hop, trap, grime, juke or any style of music that needs a fine layer of grit.
The loops are organized in folders by instrument: bass loops, drums, etc. Everything is grouped by using a particular name AllGrownUp is a collection, ShockDoc is a collection this helps give a subtle theme across the pack and also indicates which sounds were designed together.
The bass loops are deep and low, with a driving energy that balances well against the rhythmic patterns of the drum loops. They have a kind of dirty' feel akin to an envelope pitched SIN/TRI wave or FM synthesis. Their relative simplicity balances well in a mix with percussion layered on top. This simplicity also makes the loops primed for distortion, or envelope-followed resonance filters. I had a blast running them through a re-synthesis plugin and doing some NY style compression with the original loops.
Electric Guitar & Bass Guitar Loops
Somebody at ModeAudio surely knows their way around a fretboard. I love the inclusion of guitar and bass guitar loops in their sample packs. This time around, we get a collection of rock, grunge and (near) funk loops which help make Trap Kingdom a unique offering. The loops have a true human touch, both in therms of performance and in their timbre. Some of the included loops are sweet and plucky (such as Hideout, for example), some are deep and nasty (Crosshairs), and none are boring. Use them as-is, chop them up and re-sample, or warp them in your DAW. My only word of caution would be to go easy on additional effects, as the loops have a very saturated guitar-centric timbre and won't respond nicely to further distortion or smearing. On the other hand, you should never let a hard and fast rule prevent you from experimenting!
Drum Loops & Drum Fill Loops
This is what you've been waiting for the drum loops! Trap Kingdom contains a nice variety of loops, offering possibilities for a range of music styles. Every collection has a fill loop, along with an A and B loop (with the B loop usually being a stripped back' or less busy variation of the A loop). The fill loops themselves are really special and could easily be turned into breaks, juke loops, or off-kilter experimental tracks. Of course, ModeAudio designed them as fills between their A/B variations, but as always these unique sonic creations offer more opportunities than is first evident.
- AllGrownUp The fill verges on Juke' whereas the A and B loops have a more groovy vibe.
- CarnivalCrown Loops are a bit hectic, which reminds me of Juke'.
- Crossairs Wonky trap.
- DarkAmbition Jungle vibe.
- Hideout Awesome trap.
- LookAtYou Awesome groove with percussion melody.
- NightPatrol Wonky trap.
- PurplePotion Tough hip-hop.
- ShockDoc One of my favorite hip-hop grooves.
- StreetRoyal Gangsta swing.
Good transitional and build fills that can fit well with other loops from the library, or be easily manipulated to fit whatever track you are working on. You get short build-ups, synthesized downshifters, noisy risers and even a marimba style SFX fill.
Synth & Instrumental Loops
Each collection in Trap Kingdom gets about four different synth & instrumental loops, containing an arpeggio, chords, and some lead variations. There is a wide variety of sounds and vibes that compliment the given collection, but all find a home easily within the aforementioned genres (trap, hip-hop, juke, etc.) with a bit of manipulation. Many of the chord loops have a wide detuned synth sound that could be the foundation of a variety of tracks outside the hip-hop oriented focus of this pack. The arps are all great, ranging from creepy Festival Trap to tonal textures. While they are all processed nicely, you could still drench them in reverb or use an envelope shaper and/or dynamic filter to carve them to taste. Many of the leads strike me as fearful, menacing, or even carnivalesque. Their timbres cover a range of sounds: phase lead, pitch bend, cross modulated, hollow tubes, and watery.
- Crosshairs Lead is an awesome pitch bend reverb affair.
- DarkAmbition FM02 is a deep menacing off-kilter lead.
- Hideout Huge crystal pad sequence.
- LookAtYou FMSynth is a great wonky detuned patch.
- NightPatrol FMChords is a solid rave gated sequence.
- ShockDoc The included arp is a fun tight synth with added delay.
Working with loops is a great opportunity to get inspiration, or explore the different possibilities in sound design. You can build tracks off of loops, even if you eventually discard the original loop as the track becomes more of your own.
You could also experiment with running loops through effects, or try time-stretching/compressing and pushing them further and further past recognition. Still, when you want full control over your rhythms and sequences, you can turn your attention to the included individual drum samples.
Great boxy kicks resembling vintage hip-hop. Ever since hip-hop, especially trap, started influencing mainstream dance music, there has been a noticeable increase in the boxiness of kick drums over pure sine waves with envelope pitching. This boxiness is coming from the layering of acoustic drums (or vintage drum machine samples) on top of pure sine wave kicks. ModeAudio offers a good collection of kick drums with mid-body character a crunchy layer of dirt. My personal favorite is the CarnivalCrown kick drum.
Trap Kingdom offers snares and claps true to the trap genre, while injecting some unique flavor. Even though the Roland TR-808 is ubiquitous in trap music (and every other dance music genre) samples from the TR-909 and the TR-707 still get their fair share of use. ModeAudio gives a good variety of claps and snares resembling these vintage drum machines, but with some added spice. If you need that tight and punchy snare hit, look no further than the Corsshairs snare. If you want something unique, try the layered snares from DarkAmbition and ShockDoc. My personal favorite is the NightPatrol clap, with its low-slung grimy drag-across-the floor vibe.
Sizzle heaven! The hi-hat samples offer open and closed variations for many of the samples. Most of them have some reverb tucked in, but you could use an envelope shaper to remove that if you want. Aside from the sizzles, you get samples with crunchy textures, junky metal tones, crispy hits and a long cymbal. My favorite is the StreetRoyal Change sample which sounds like a hi-hat mixed with spilled loose change awesome!
The pack includes eleven different percussion samples: a woodblock and a rim-shot, both echoing the 808, a large boxy tom hit, a slurpy junk hit. My personal favorite is the LookingAtYou Perc, which is a hollow plunk' hit that is begging to be played as a melody against an ocean of reverb.
The MIDI clips are easily overlooked, as you greedily consume all the gritty sounds contained within Trap Kingdom. ModeAudio has unassumingly included the MIDI parts for all of the loops: leads, chords, arpeggios, and drum sequences. Crack open the MIDI clips and you can see all the subtle nuances of a live performance. Take a creepy arp sequence and easily transform it into a sweet pop jam. Drastically alter the tempo of a bass line from driving energy to slow morphing ambient. Borrow just the kick rhythm and build an entire track around it. There is an endless amount of inspiration hidden inside these MIDI clips so don't forget that they're here!
If you are looking to write tracks in any hip-hop oriented genre, Trap Kingdom will give you a wealth of fodder. From drum samples to synth, bass and drum loops there is plenty of material to build entire tracks out of, or to incorporate into your own collection of samples. Immediately obvious is the pack's affinity to trap (it is in the title, after all), but Trap Kingdom will find a good home in juke, hip-hop, grime, jungle, or any other urban buzzword genre you may be producing. Are you looking for tight snares, textured claps, sizzling hi-hats, boxy kicks and tough synth lines? Then ascend your throne into Trap Kingdom and reign low to the dance floor.