Last week, I was given the opportunity to interview A.R. Shaw, a 41-year old author and journalist who recently released a book titled “Trap History.” He published this book to give people the background of the Atlanta-based term that overtime developed into a music sub-genre. People often focus on the present and don’t take the time to research what happened before it was created which he deems an issue. Shaw’s goal was to uncover what people don’t know about trap and to thoroughly educate all on the history of this music genre.
A.R. Shaw never had intentions of being a writer. In fact, his first time writing something was in 4th grade when wrote about the 2 Live Crew for his school newspaper. After this, he didn’t write again until college. After graduating, he became a freelance writer, and got a great job opportunity at Atlanta-based weekly Rolling Out soon after.
One of A.R. Shaw’s many attributes consists of not internalizing every comment someone leaves. He states that not everyone will like your art and not everyone will hate it, but that it’s up to interpretation after you put it into the world.
“When I create something, I don’t really internalize it,” he says. “It’s like, okay this is something that I thought about and something I created, but I’m releasing it into the world.”
Within the interview, Mr. Shaw was asked for advice for upcoming writers and rappers. In response, he says that research is a must have. He suggests researching the ins and outs of an industry before you try and get into it. He shares that with “Google and Youtube at your fingertips” you can learn easily, while in the past to get information you had to go to the library and pick up books or look in the newspaper. To aspiring journalists, Shaw advises to never take the first offer because at the end of the day, people work to get paid. So it is crucial to not only understand the artistic aspect, but also the business side.
Shaw had many goals and inspirations when writing and publishing his book. As he grew up in Atlanta, he got to witness the times where modern trap was recognized as just music. He was given the opportunity to watch it evolve, while still being educated about the history. There was a period of time where bigger names were consistently entering the community. This was when trap music started to transition into the pop scene. As he was able to watch this, one of his goals was to not allow it to lose the history, and to provide background information and the origin behind trap music.
“In order for hip hop to grow it has to change,” says Shaw. “It has to evolve and there has to be new voices. When it becomes stagnant I think it loses steam and it loses force. It’s important for change to be continued in order for the culture to grow.”
Hearing about A.R Shaw, and his ambition to make change and then being able to witness his impact on our community is absolutely incredible. Seeing how powerful Black voices can be is extremely inspiring especially for me, a young, Black, and future journalist. His passion and dedication to his craft is admirable from all angles. In summary, I’m genuinely intrigued by Shaw’s upcoming works and projects, and I look forward to what he produces in the future.
For more, visit TrapHistory.com