THE RETURN OF THE “BANISHED” In spite that it would seem somewhat too optimistic to view Freud’s the return of the repressed in today’s one of the most popular and common music genre, which is so-called “trap music,” especially of the band “Migos,” a venture of investigation into the music of Black Americans may deliver miraculous evidences of the links between the trap music and the slave songs.

So often and identically the historians narrated the fact that virtually all genres of music in the United States are essentially and originally rooted in African music, which have been transferred to the New World through slavery. The transported slaves sang, danced and made music–or as Portia K. Maultsby suggests, they were encouraged to do so in order to stay mentally and physically healthy and motivated–during their travel from the West African coast to the New World. Known with their musical tendency and eagerness, African people upon their becoming and continuation of their heritage as African Americans, freely performed their music during almost half a century, until their masters began to suspect their music as a method of secret communication, which would result in slave revolts. Thus, all sorts of music making in the South were bainshed. At this point of the history in which the artistic soul of the African American people was attempted to be suppressed, this spirit of music in them immediately drove them to do it in the very first available place and occasion, the activities which were named by the historians as “the Ring Shouts.”

“The Ring Shouts” were the musical activities in which a ring was formed around a fire by the participant slaves, and songs that had call-and-response pattern in which the leader tended to utter a line, followed by the refrains, repetitions or choruses of the rest of the group, were performed. Specifically, this pattern of call-and-response, turned out to be such a characteristic and salient feature that most of the preceding genres such as blues, jazz, rock and roll, rap, and trap visibly contained it. To exemplify this in the most comparable way, the ubiquity of the calland-response pattern is visible in both contemporary “Migos” songs, which are named as “ad libs” that are used as backing up sounds at the end of each line, and in the responses that the slaves uttered at the end of every line in the ring shouts.

What interests one the most and the point that appears to illustrate the Freudian returning, is that after all the pressures of the masters to stop African Americans from performing their music, subsequently the governors and dominant community in some cases to reflect certain music genres as merely their own original music, the music of the repressed African Americans ,despite the numerous transformations and alternations, specifically in the 19th century, manages to respawn through the call-and-response pattern, most visibly within the songs of Migos, in the name of “ad libs.”


Southern, Eileen. The Music of Black Americans: A History, Norton, 1997.

Spener, David. “’I Shall Not Be Moved.’ in the U.S. South: Blacks and Whites, Slavery and Spirituals.” We Shall Not Be Moved/No Nos Moverán. Temple University Press. 2016.

Courlander, Harold. Negro Folk Music, U.S.A., Columbia University Press, 1963.

Portia K. Maultsby, “West African Influences and Retentions in U.S. Black Music: A Sociocultural Study,” in More Than Dancing: Essays on Afro-American Music and Musicians, edited by Irene V. Jackson, Greenwood Press, 1985.