Trying to figure out who invented trap music has become hip-hop's version of the chicken or the egg. Due to a process of elimination, fans have been split into two different categories. The ones that think T.I. created the genre or those who follow the philosophies of Gucci Mane. This has sparked a cultural debate that Tip has tried to end on several occasions, now using TV show characters to illustrate his point.
During an interview with Nick Cannon, T.I. compared the trap music saga to HBO's The Wire. "[Do] you watch The Wire?" T.I. asked near the interview's 15-minute mark. "You do know that Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale hold the same amount of weight, they produce the same amount of action and activity, they just go about it in different ways."
"Stringer Bell has a vision beyond his present circumstances and is working toward a certain goal. Avon Barksdale loves what he is so much, he leaves everything on the court," he continued. "People who appreciate Barksdale, they [are] going to tell you Gucci Mane started trap. But that's because of how they see themselves in life. There’s nothing you can do to change that. People who see themselves as a Stringer Bell, who have different visions and ambitions for themselves, they know that T.I. created trap music. The only thing about this group of people is they’re supported by facts."
This evidence T.I. referenced is the fact he coined the name of the genre. Although he wasn't the first (or last) person to rap about drugs, Tip's 2003 album Trap Muzik did introduce the world to this term. On the other hand, Gucci Mane's Trap House mixtape and Young Jeezy's Trap or Die project didn't drop until 2005.
The problem T.I. runs into when trying to convince people he started trap music lies in the sonics of his music. Though Trap Muzik named the genre and helped mold its content, it doesn't sound like trap music. As Complex's Shawn Setaro notes, the man that's responsible for ushering in trademark drum patterns and gritty instrumentals that give trap music its character is the producer Shawty Redd. Shawty Redd worked closely with both Jeezy and Gucci Mane until the rappers' relationship turned into beef. As a result of Redd's blueprint, trap music now has a sound to mirror its content.