sweet as the scratch

snappin' and rappin'

Nostalgia is a dangerous trap for anyone to fall into. It's so easy to glorify the past when you're bored by what's around you. But occasionally, that nostalgic impulse you have is justified. The things you liked back in the day really are as great as you thought they were. One of the styles of music I'm nostalgic about is the snap sound that came out of Atlanta in the mid-2000s, mostly because it's what I heard at every single high school dance. So when I heard some new music that instantly reminded me of that snap sound from 10 years ago, I had to re-listen to some of my favorite songs in that style. Luckily, they hold up.

Snap music isn't "coming back," but it would be a mistake to look at snap music as a short blip on the timeline of catchy rap dance music. While Gucci Mane has been probably the largest influencer of the brazen style adopted by many Atlanta rappers at the moment, the legacy of snap music and Soulja Boy's more melodic sound can't be ignored when listening to new music from Atlanta now.

It's easy to make jokes about Twitter videos and Vine, but for better or worse, this is how an entire generation of young people is consuming music. More importantly, these short clips of music are easy to share. If you have a song with a nice hook and a funny dance move to accompany it, you can make waves getting your music shared on social media. That might seem like a tiny segment of the internet, but rappers and producers like Mr. 2-17 are getting tons of exposure thanks to incredibly catchy music paired with dances like #HitDemFolks using their music as the backdrop to their dance videos.

When I hear these songs, I hear pianos and cell phone sounds. I see dances that are fun to do, easy to copy and allow for all kinds of personal modifications. I think of a Vine craze like the "mmmm" raps or "yeet" and it brings to mind the hundreds, if not thousands, of YouTube "Crank That" spinoffs. The "mmmm" raps don't sound like snap music, but they mirror the participatory spirit that comes with music like snap.

My personal favorite recent incarnation of the snap sound is Bankroll Fresh's "Walked In," which was produced by Mr. 2-17. Walked In literally starts in the EXACT SAME WAY AS D4L's "Betcha Can't Do It Like Me." They practically made a Part II of one of my favorite rap songs of the mid-2000s and somehow didn't disappoint me. Walked In also introduced me to #HitDemFolks, which I am forever thankful for because I like rap, dancing and all things good and fun.

Please just take a moment to imagine the beauty that would have been Twitter and Vine if they were around when Hotstylz and Yung Joc's "Lookin Ass N***a" came out.

This playlist celebrates some classic snap tracks along with a few more recent songs that showcase some of the best there is to offer of snap music from a decade ago and today.

0:00 "Walked In (feat. Travis Porter and Boochie) [prod. Mr. 2-17]" - Bankroll Fresh - Life of a Hot Boy 2: Real Trapper
3:19 "Betcha Can't Do It Like Me [prod. DJ Pooh]" - D4L - Down For Life
6:59 "Lookin Ass N***a (feat. Yung Joc) [prod. Nitti]" - Hotstylz - (2008)
10:13 "Mad Or Nah YEET [prod. Mr. 2-170]" - The Ratchets - (2014)
12:56 "Nextel Chirp" - Maceo - Straight Out Da Pot
17:38 "White Tee [prod. Pimpin]" - Dem Franchize Boyz - Dem Franchize Boyz
21:32 "Ain't Gon Let Up" - DG Yola - (2006)
24:45 "10 Bitches On 95 [prod. Two Of Beat Plugg]" - Blvd Marc - (2015)
27:55 "Do Yo Dance" - Ben Hill Squad - (2005)
33:01 "Do It How We Do It" - Yung Envy - (2005)
35:45 "Strong Arm Flexxin' [prod. Mr. 2-17]" - Mr. 2-17 - Know What I'm Sayin Pt. 2
39:17 "Ass Cheeks On My White Tee" - Venny Outrageous - (2006)
41:51 "Ho Sit Down" - Maceo - Straight Out Da Pot
47:18 "Watch Me" - Silento - (2015)
50:34 "Rocky [prod. Mr. 2-17]" - 3PMG - (2015)

-- bert

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