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Music Production / Songwriting

20+ Trap Chord Progressions For Killer Beats

As we’re sure you’ll agree:

Trap chord progressions aren’t always easy to come up with. 

Despite the overwhelming number of samples, production tools and beat-making tutorials available, it can be tough to know where to start once you’re staring at a totally blank session in your DAW. 

To help get you started, I’ve compiled 20 of the most flavorful and interesting trap chord progressions that I could come up with. These chord progressions are totally free to use within your own projects; no accreditation to us is needed. 

Each chord progression comes jam-packed with a few tips on how to use it, as well as TWO ALTERNATE chord progressions that could be used to expand the main chord progression into a fully-developed track. That’s 60 trap chord progressions in total!

Let’s dive in:

What You’ll Need:

  • Laptop/Desktop: You won’t have to break the bank when it comes to getting your hands on a decent computer for music production, but be sure to get something with at least 8GB of RAM and a quad-core processor. I’ve been using this model of the Lenovo ThinkPad recently and it’s been working great for both composing and producing, especially while travelling. 
  • Interface: Again, you won’t have to go crazy here, but a half-decent audio interface is absolutely essential when composing or producing trap music. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a great option for both beginners and seasoned trap-masters alike. 
  • Studio Monitors: While you can get away with using headphones or earbuds, they definitely won’t provide the full range of sound you’ll get with a pair of professional studio monitors. I’ve used the Mackie CR3-X monitors for years and haven’t felt the need to upgrade to anything more expensive, despite them coming in at such a low price point.
  • DAW (Digital Audio Workstation): This is where you’ll bring your trap chord progressions to life. If you’re on a Mac, then Logic Pro X is the way to go. If you’re on a PC, I’d recommend either Ableton or Cubase for trap music.

The Progressions

1. Cm-Gm-G#-Fm

Key: C minor
Numerals: I-V-VI-IV

This progression, being firmly rooted in the harmonic minor, has a really ambiguous and moody feel to it. The chromatic movement in the middle of the progression also adds a sense of tension, meaning it’ll sound great with some angry or punchy lyrics. 

This sequence sounds great being played by an 808 bass, with some light strings and a tight beat underpinning it. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Fm-Gm-G#-Cm (IV-V-VI-I)
  • Alternate progression 2: Cm-Eb-D-Gm (I-III-II-V)

2. D-E-B

Key: D major
Numerals: I-II-VI

This chord progression is a little more upbeat and anthemic. The diatonic movement gives it a real sense of power, creating a larger than life sound for even the tightest of flows. 

It works great when placed in either strings or a bright-sounding synth or organ. A drone-style bass would underpin this progression well. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Cm-B-Em (bVII-VI-II)
  • Alternate progression 2: Cm-Em-G (bVII-II-IV)

3. Em-Ebm-B-Em

Key: E minor
Numerals: I-VII-V-I

This progression has a bit of a spooky feel to it, largely due to the minor feel and chromatic movement. 

It sounds great when played on guitar and is well-suited to sparse arrangements. I’d recommend trying it out with guitar, bass and possibly some light strings before introducing drums later on in the track. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Gm-Gbm-Gm-Gbm (III-bIII-III-bIII)
  • Alternate progression 2: Bm-Cm-Bm-Cm (V-VI-V-VI)

4. Gm-Em-C#m

Key: G minor
Numerals: I-bVII-bV

This progression has moody undertones that conjure up images of nightlife and dark streets; mysterious while still retaining an anthemic and epic feel. 

It sounds great when played with an 808 bass, especially with some arpeggiated synth and sustained strings alongside it. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Gm-E-Eb-Gbm (I-bIII-III-bIII)
  • Alternate progression 2: Bm-Cm-Bm-Cm (V-bVII-VII)

5. C#m-G#m-C#m-G#m

Key: C# minor
Numerals: I-V-I-V

Simple as it may be, this progression is super versatile. It can be dark and moody or more hard and upbeat, depending on the instrumentation you use.

It sounds great either in guitar or strings, especially with an arpeggiated bassline thrown in. 

  • Alternate progression 1: A-F#m-A-F#m (VI-IV-VI-IV)
  • Alternate progression 2: A-F-A-F (VI-bIV-VI-bIV)

6. Fm-Eb-Cm

Key: F minor
Numerals: I-VII-V

This is a more chilled-out and melancholic progression, which would work great for underpinning lyrics about retrospection or regret. 

It sounds great in either organ or strings, with a more laid-back half-time beat keeping it all together and making way for the vocal track. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Fm-Gm-Cm-Eb (I-II-V-VII)
  • Alternate progression 2: Bb-Cm-G#-Eb (IV-V-III-VII)

7. Am-Em-Am-Em

Key: A minor
Numerals: I-V-I-V

This progression is moody and mysterious, drawing influence from Spanish music. It works great when holding each chord for a count of four and is best-supported by sparse instrumentation

Try putting it in either piano or an arpeggiated synth, coupled with a moving bassline and a tight trap beat. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Fm-Em-Fm-Em (VI-V-VI-V)
  • Alternate progression 2: Dm-Am-C-B (IV-I-III-II)

man writing music in home studio

8. Gm-F-Cm-D

Key: G minor
Numerals: I-VII-IV-V

This one has a little more soul injected to it; firmly rooted in the minor tonality but with a sense of positivity and quirkiness about it. 

It sounds awesome when put into an arpeggiated synth, especially with some delay on top and with an elongated bassline underpinning it. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Em-C-Em-D (bVII-IV-bVII-V)
  • Alternate progression 2: Eb-Em-Eb-Em (VI-bVII-VI-bVII)

9. Em-Bm-Am-Eb

Key: G minor
Numerals: I-V-IV-#VII

Depending on the instrumentation you opt for, this progression can either be anthemic and rousing or dark and moody. Regardless, it’s crying out for a faster drum beat and a tight bassline to match. 

It sounds great when played on guitar, but also works well in moody or ambient-sounding synths. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Cm-G#-Cm-Eb (VI-bIV-VI-bVII)
  • Alternate progression 2: Em-Eb-Em-Eb (I-bVII-I-bVII)

10. Dm-C-Dm-C

Key: Dm
Numerals: I-VII-I-VII

This progression draws influence from both jazz and hip hop. It sounds great when it’s accented with stabs alternating between the two chords, as is common in old-school hip hop. 

Your typical trap synths, basslines and drums will also work great with this one. It can either be laid back and moody or upfront and upbeat, depending on your preference. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Bb-C-Bb-C (VI-VII-VI-VII)
  • Alternate progression 2: Am-C-Am-C (V-VII-V-VII)

11. F#m-D-C#-D

Key: F#m
Numerals: I-VI-V-VI

This progression works well either in a fast-paced or laid-back format. If you’re going for the more fast-paced feel, we’d recommend a 2/4 time signature at a BPM of around 170 with each chord being held for a full bar.

If you’re going for a more laid-back feel, we’d recommend a 4/4 time signature at a BPM of around 120, then moving through the progression by holding one chord for three beats and the next for five. 

This progression lends itself really well to arpeggios, especially with softer-sounding synths. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Bm-G-Bm-G (IV-bII-IV-bII)
  • Alternate progression 2: E-D-C#-D (VII-VI-V-VI)

12. Em-Ebm-B-Em-G-C

Key: E melodic minor
Numerals: I-VII-V-I-III-bVI

This progression has a great sense of both tension and confidence to it. It’s dark and moody while also taking on a real sense of power with the larger interval leaps towards the end. 

I’d recommend holding chord one and chord four in the progression for four beats, then holding the rest of the chords for two beats to get the right feel. 

This progression sounds best with a distorted 808 holding down the root notes. It lends itself well to a range of different vocal styles, from tightly-delivered bars to mumble-style rap. 

  • Alternate progression 1: D-C#-Gm (bVII-VI-III)
  • Alternate progression 2: Bm-C-Am (V-bVI-IV)

13. F#m-A-D

Key: F#m
Numerals: I-III-VI

This progression has a real anthemic feel to it, with bold movements and emphasis on the major chords (while still being firmly rooted in the minor tonality). 

It sounds great with a drone-sounding bassline anchoring things down, and works either as an upbeat or downbeat-style track. I like it best when it’s a little more on the upbeat side, especially with a few rave-style sounds thrown in. 

  • Alternate progression 1: F#m-E-D (I-VII-VI)
  • Alternate progression 2: C#m-D-Bm (V-VI-IV)

14. Fm-C#-Ab-Em-Fm

Key: Fm
Numerals: I-VI-III-VII-I

This is a bit more of an obscure-sounding progression, but the intervallic leaps mixed with the chromatic movement at the end make for a robust-sounding progression.

This one cries out for something a little more on the heavy side, mixing well with the industrial and dance/rave genres. 

If you’re feeling extra creative, you could even try turning this progression into a more ambient-sounding trap track. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Fm-C#-C-C#-Eb (I-VI-V-VI-VII)
  • Alternate progression 2: Fm-C#-Eb-C (I-VI-VII-V)

laptop and DJ equipment

15. Em-B-Em-F#

Key: Em
Numerals: I-V-I-II

While this one is more on the simple side, it works perfectly for trap music and serves as one of the most versatile progressions on this list. 

It tends to work better at slow-to-medium tempos (90-140BPM), especially when each chord is held for 1-2 bars. 

It lends itself well to more intricate hi-hat beats as well as glissando-like synths, while leaving plenty of room for the vocal track. 

  • Alternate progression 1: G#m-F#-Em-F# (bIV-II-I-II)
  • Alternate progression 2: Gm-Em-Gm-F# (III-I-III-II)

16. G5-F#5-Eb5

Key: G
Numerals: I-VII-bVI

The exclusive use of open fifth chords (more-commonly known as power chords) makes this one super bold-sounding, yet the chromatic movement also adds a sense of darkness and tension. 

This one works great in the following two formats:

  1. Holding the first two chords for two beats, then the third for four beats
  2. Holding the first chord for four beats, then the latter two for two beats

This progression lends itself well to orchestral-type trap sounds, fitting well in either strings or ambient brass. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Em-Ebm-Em-Ebm (VI-bVI-VI-bVI)
  • Alternate progression 2: Dm-Bb-Dm-Bb (V-bIII-V-bIII)

17. E5-B5-G5-F#5

Key: E minor
Numerals: I-V-III-II

This progression is in a similar vein to the previous one, making use of both open fifth chords and chromatic movement to create a bold, yet eerie and tense feel. 

This one lends itself a little better to more traditional trap-like synths, especially when anchored down by an 808. 

  • Alternate progression 1: A5-G5-F#5-G5 (IV-III-II-III)
  • Alternate progression 2: E5-C5-B5-G5 (I-VI-V-III)

18. F#m-Em-A

Key: F#m
Numerals: I-VII-III

This progression draws influence from more modern-esque hip hop, but sounds awesome when mixed with pretty much any trap drum beat. 

It’s super versatile, working well in either bass, synths, brass or strings. For a typical trap sound, we’d recommend a mix of both brass and 808 anchoring down the root notes. 

  • Alternate progression 1: C#m-Em-A (V-VII-III)
  • Alternate progression 2: D-E-B (VI-VII-V)

19. Bb-A-A-Bb

Key: Bb
Numerals: I-VII-VII-I

This progression works really well for more chill-style trap music. Rocking back and forth between semitones gives it a real sense of calmness, while the chromatic movement ties it firmly to the trap genre. 

This one sounds great in either guitar or strings; the guitar makes for a great lo-fi sound and most-likely suits this progression next. 

  • Alternate progression 1: Bb-Dm-A-B (I-III-VII-I)
  • Alternate progression 2: Bb-C-A-Bb (I-II-VII-I)

20. C5-D5-Eb5-F5

Key: C minor
Numerals: I-II-III-IV

This progression ascends the C minor scale stepwise, but the open fifth chords once again give it a really powerful and anthemic feel.

This sequence works really well as a slow build, where the instrumentation is gradually introduced over the course of the track to take things from sparse and eerie to anthemic and unstoppable. 

  • Alternate progression 1: C5-G5-G#5-Bb5 (I-V-VI-VII)
  • Alternate progression 2: G5-G#5-G5-Bb5 (V-VI-V-VII)

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully this list has offered up enough material to keep you busy for a few weeks of trap composing! 

If you enjoyed this article and are currently looking to establish yourself as an artist, why not check out our guides on how to get more streams on Spotify or how to promote your music on social media next?

About Author

I'm George; the founder of Indie Panda. I'm passionate about helping independent musicians realize the full potential of their talents and abilities through a strong work ethic, coherent project identity and a strong logistical foundation.