On Saturday night in a West Oakland backyard, LowKey, an East Coast event promoter, laid down the rules. “If they’re wack, you can boo them off stage.” The crowd murmured. “This ain’t the Grammys,” he said sternly. And then the karaoke — trap karaoke, to be precise — began.
Trap Karaoke began late last year after Jason Mowatt, a music festival organizer, envisioned an event where fans could connect and sing along to their favorite thundering, bass-heavy party music: rap, R&B, hip-hop and trap. He and his co-organizers came up with a format, and launched a touring series of parties in cities like New York, Chicago, and LA (where the rapper Wale dropped by at a recent show). Imagine the myth-making of your neighborhood bar’s karaoke night with the energetic community of Korean-style karaoke but featuring recent turn-up hits and hip-hop classics, and you’ve got the idea.