What is Slap House Music?
Slap House is a subgenre of House music that emerged in Lithuania in the late 2010s. It’s characterized by having a punchy, frequency-modulated bassline that was inspired by Brazilian Bass. Due to its bouncy bass, Slap House is also sometimes described as a more pop-oriented version of Future Bass.
What sets Slap House apart from other EDM subgenres is its recurrent use of deep basslines that are heavily modulated and cut through the mix. Unlike other EDM subgenres, Slap House was radio-friendly from the very beginning, featuring several elements of dance-pop music in its earliest form.
Slap House was first popularized in 2017 and has been in favor up until today. While Slap House was almost an exclusively Lithuanian genre at the time, it has since become an international phenomenon that caught the eye of EDM greats such as Tiësto, Alok, and VINAI.
Why is it called Slap House?
The name Slap House was coined by the Dutch label Spinnin’ Records and is a tribute to the slap-sounding bass of early Disco records which were also punchy and mix-dominant. Before Spinnin’ Records came up with the term, the subgenre was known as Lithuanian Bass and almost exclusively performed by Lithuanian artists.
How does Slap House music sound?
Slap House is influenced by so many subgenres of EDM that it’s sometimes hard to pin down.
Most sources agree that the Brazilian Bass-inspired bassline of Slap House is the defining characteristic of the subgenre. In a nutshell, you can think of Slap House music as a type of club-oriented dance-pop music featuring vocals and a bassline that’s both louder, punchier, and more modulated than usual.
To have an idea of how Slap House music basslines are made, just listen to “São Paulo,” often considered to be the first Brazilian Bass track ever released. While the song doesn’t sound anything like Slap House, its deep bassline is emblematic of the wobbly, frequency-modulated, and bouncy basslines featured in most Slap House songs.
But there’s more to Slap House than that. Even though the subgenre can be summed up as a combination of Brazilian Bass with dance-pop elements, it also draws inspiration from Future House and even Deep House. In its earliest form, Slap House tracks were mostly either remixes or mashups of pre-existent songs.
The history of Slap House
The first Slap House record came out in 2017. It was a Dynoro remix of the Lithuanian song “Einu Iš Proto,” by 8 Kambarys and Sil, and it was released by Lithuania HQ. Following the success of “Einu Iš Proto,” Lithuania HQ continued to release records in the same style, pioneering a new EDM subgenre then known as Lithuanian Bass.
Quickly enough, the new subgenre started making waves outside of the Lithuanian borders. The Canadian duo Loud Luxury embraced the catchy, bass-heavy sound of Lithuania HQ with the song “Body,” which was released by Armada Music, Armin van Buuren’s influential record label.
In 2018, the Lithuanian pioneer Dynoro and the Italian artist Gigi D’Agostino combined forces to create “In My Mind,” one of the most seminal Slap House tunes of all time. The bassline after the drop is emblematic of the genre. It’s oversaturated, frequency-modulated, and as bouncy as a Future-House bass.
One year later, in 2019, R3HAB became the first established DJ to release a Slap House single. The irresistible club-ready hit “All Around The World (La La La)” introduced the punchy bassline of Slap House to a mainstream audience, allowing Slap House to become a “real” House music subgenre.
In 2020, a then-unknown 19-year-old electronic music producer from Kazakhstan (Imanbek) uploaded a Slap-House SAINt JHN remix to the Internet and became an overnight success. Imanbek’s remix of “Roses” had such an impact that it even inspired a The New York Times article.
The popularity of Slap House music continued to grow, catching the attention of more and more established DJs. Tiësto joined the trend with his solo song “The Business,” and so did the likes of Alok (who collaborated with the Slap-House music pioneer Dynoro), VINAI, DVBBS, KSHMR, and David Guetta.
In 2021, the Kosovo-born English artist Rita Ora collaborated with Imanbek (perhaps the most influential Slap House artist of all time alongside Dynoro) to create the pop song “Bang.” Today, it’s safe to assume that the ever-growing popularity of Slap House music is more than just a late 2010s fad. According to the RateYourMusic database, more than 200 Slap-House records were released in 2022 alone.
Considering that the first-ever Slap House record emerged in 2017, it’s fair to say that it’s way too soon to fully evaluate the influence of the subgenre in the broader context of the EDM universe.
That’s not to say that Slap House hasn’t made history already: what started as a series of remixes released by a small Lithuanian record label has now turned into an international phenomenon.
What’s the future of Slap House music going to be like? For now, it’s hard to say. But I do not doubt that the subgenre is far from done, so please keep an eye on the likes of Dynoro, Imanbek, and Strange Fruits Music.