Arab trap music has evolved in the last few years. From Freek’s Wala Kilma, which had an eerie feeling that was unsettling and mysterious, Arab trap today has become a sensation of love, seduction, and mystery. Sanjana Nuwan Bandara is one of those musicians who have managed to find this new niche market in sentimental trap. His latest releases, “Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Don’t Ask Me to Play It Softly”, have more of an R&B sound without losing the authenticity of traditional hip-hop from which trap music was born.
The term sentimental trap was coined by those opposed to it. Some argue it is simply an over-sentimentalized version of trap, and thus a cynical ploy for attention or popularity. Fans of this subgenre have a different take. In a world where an emotional state is often seen as vulnerability, sentimental trap music takes the form of an honest confession while still retaining that danceable quality that makes trap music such a hit. Sanjana Nuwan Bandara brings out the issue well in his songs.
In his song “Don’t Kill My Vibe”, the artist croons about the tumultuous process of falling in love with someone he wants only for the night. His lyrics are a mix of pain and ecstasy that come from feeling torn between two feelings: one is that he wants to be with that person, but at the same time, it’s difficult because they both know it has no roots. Sanjana Nuwan Bandara contrasts the poignant lyrics with auto-tuned vocals, simplistic drum lines, breezy bass, and a chilled-out vibe that makes the song upbeat, not emotional.
“Don’t Ask Me to Play it Softly” is a different sound and style altogether. This song is more romantic, soft, and soulish, with a style reminiscent of neo-soul artists like R. Kelly and Justin Timberlake. SNB showcases his versatility with an intimate style that sets him apart from other trap artists. In both songs, he adds a touch of Arabic that makes them distinct and attractive to any self-respecting hospitality venue looking for something new to keep revelers on their feet.
Bandara is just one of many innovative Arab artists using their voices for something other than politics and class wars. While not wholly disconnected from the larger hip-hop culture, his music focuses more on love, heartbreak, and the ups and downs of life. It’s music that anyone can relate to, and it’s catching on quickly. Fans appreciate the freshness and familiarity of his style, and the timelessness of the themes he addresses is another nice touch. His willingness to learn and experiment with something new also makes him relatable to more people, fans, and artists alike.
If you’re a fan of trap music or are just looking for something new and different, be sure to check out Sanjana’s music. You won’t be disappointed because it’s definitely not something you’ve heard before. Instead of trying to revive a fading genre or reinventing hip-hop music, Sanjana uses his music to bridge the past and the present. If his growing audience is any indication, fans appreciate the honesty and innovation the artist brings to his work. And as he continues to explore his creative limits, you can be sure he’ll only become bigger and better.
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