What's the Difference Between a Banger and a Slapper?

Noisey investigates.

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Jan 14 2015, 6:50pm


Someone grinding with bae to a banger and/or slapper

Two of the most ubiquitous terms used to describe good music, especially hip-hop and EDM, in 2015 are "slapper" and "banger." This is because young people know, like, seven words total. But say you're not a Cool Teen who follows the exciting terms of the youth. What makes a song bang? What makes a song slap? And what the fuck is the difference between a banger and a slapper anyway?

To understand these mysterious words, we must look to the past.

It has long been said the banger originated in a faraway land populated only by indigenous peoples, only to be problematically appropriated by the Tribe of Diplo after the Great Schism of 420BE (Before EDM). However, this is simply not true.

Instead, the banger’s roots lie in an old wives’ tale that goes like this: a small peasant boy was foraging for scraps outside a blacksmith’s hut in a small but proud village in the hill country. At this particular hour, the blacksmith was forging a blade for the Royal King Calvin Harris. The peasant boy bent down to pick up a particularly shiny piece of metal he could sell at the market for food for his family (his family was very poor) when the blacksmith swung his hammer upon the blade with exceptional velocity. The clang made a sound so loud it startled the peasant boy and he exclaimed, “Oy! That was a roight banger!” Summarily, it became common vernacular among the townsfolk.

The slapper is similarly steeped in folklore. Legend tells of a great battle between two knights—Sir Zedd of Zanzabar and Sir Avicii of Aviciiannoricasium. The two were set to duel to death and the last man standing would be granted the honor of asking for hand of the king’s beautiful daughter, Lady Faith, in marriage. (Of course, Lady Faith could reject the winner because the king wasn’t a piece of fucking garbage who’s just giving his daughter away without her consent.) However, the knights weren’t privy to that information before risking their lives. In the middle of the battle, Sir Zedd’s blade connected with Sir Avicii’s armor and brought him to his knees. When Sir Zedd landed the final blow, the sound of Sir Avicii's head being wrested from his body was so loud, the citizenry said it filled every nook and cranny of the kingdom and slapped off the castle walls. Thus, the slapper was born.

What is a banger?

It’s written in the first book of The Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the banger.” The first thing you hear as a fetus is the sound of your mother’s own heart, and that’s the dopest banger of them all. We’re conditioned to recognize a banger from an early age and to know it has two very specific missions: to bang and to elicit the primal instincts buried deep in our genetic code.

Much like which Kanye album is the best or which of his friends Drake loves the most, there is no true answer to the question, “What is a banger?” However, the moment you hear a banger, you know, much like how you can just tell if a porn is dope or not WAY before anybody starts fucking. You know that feeling when you’re with your partner doing sex and right before you climax the serotonin rushes directly to your brain and momentarily engulfs your thought process? The banger is that, but for sounds. It’s meant to tap into the lizard part of our brain that wants to fight bears and make that dumb invisible pull-up dance. Listen to any Mike Will Made It or Florida Georgia Line song if you have further questions.

What is a slapper?

In the same way as its banging brethren, you can tell a song slaps by the feeling it evokes. However, where the banger succeeds in evoking primordial cognition, the slapper is more evolved. The slapper doesn’t want you to go out, brave the harsh conditions of the outside world, and slaughter a wild animal with your bare hands so that you may provide for your family in the same way the banger does. The slapper is cool with doing normal, millennial shit. *Watches Netflix once,* etc.

Is there a way to correctly identify a slapper in the wild? I’m glad you asked that oddly specific question! The first thing you have to ask yourself is: does this song slap? If it does, there’s a good chance you have a slapper on your hands. But sometimes music can be deceptive. Not everyone can decipher that a slap must happen every 69kbps for a song to be considered a slapper. If you’re having trouble with identification, turn to the song’s structure. The slapper will be less aggressive than the banger. The sounds will be more ambient, with deeper bass and drums layered in. Instead of making you want to do trap arms, it will make you want to grind with bae. Listen to any Zedd or Taylor Swift song if you have further questions.

You probably still have a lot of questions about all of this, so I made this flowchart to help you determine if a song is a slapper, a banger, or neither.


Click image for hi-res

Alex Hancock WILL fuck in 2015. He's on Twitter.