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Hip Hop has long had a specific stigma attached to it.
Whether it’s the masses’ misinterpretation that it’s all self-promoting arrogant rhymes over simple sampled beats or chart-fodder for people who can’t operate an auto-tune unit, it has been misunderstood for a long time.
But now Hip Hop has well and truly grown up in the eyes of the mainstream…
The New Wave of Hip Hop
Where in the past Hip Hop has been considered party music or something for rude boys to test out the new subwoofers in their car, the new wave of Hip Hop is considerably more versatile.
All kinds of genres have found their way into the tracks of new “Alternative Hip Hop” artists; rock, pop, jazz, indie, country, electronica and even gospel have been drawn from to create this evolution.
It’s not just musically that things have changed either – Lyrics have veered away from the ego-food of yesteryear as Gangsta Rap’s sales continue their steady decline. Whether it’s about dealing with emotions or political messages, there is clearly a change in character of the conventional rapper.
The idea behind this new wave of Hip hop is not one specific thing – It’s a collection; a positive plethora of ideas and directions to take the genre.
Old concepts that have never before hit it big in the charts and new thoughts that draw from the preferences of the individual artists pushing them.
Basically – trying something different. People still love Hip Hop, but they’re tired of the same re-worked idea sitting at the top of their charts every week.
There are loads of different rappers taking the Alt Hip Hop route through their career, but here are just a few case studies…
With his album 808s & Heartbreak sounding like an emo band name and yet going on to hit the number one spot and go platinum, it’s clear that his decision to go for purely emotional lyrical content was a commercially viable one.
The music took heavy influence from synthpop and, unsurprisingly, featured a considerably amount of the Roland TR-808 drum machine.
Now considered one of the world’s top 100 most influential people by Time magazine, M.I.A.’s infinitely versatile musical outlet has gone from strength to strength as she’s gone from country to country, sharing her political messages in cleverly masked, mainstream-worthy songs.
Whether it’s the innocent edge of “Paper Planes” or the darker, more driving “Born Free”, her music is certainly different to the Hip Hop that has previously graced the charts.
The owner of the best selling rap album of all time only found their worldwide fame after experimenting outside their previous comfort zone of of Dirty South and G-Funk. The two rappers brought a considerable change to Hip Hop back in 2003 with the album “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” and went on to sell over 11 million copies.
Since experimenting with obscure genres and lyrical themes seems to be working, no doubt more obscure and interesting interpretations of Hip Hop will grace the charts in the future!
With styles like Glitch Hip and Wonky music taking influence from Dubstep and tailoring it to Hip Hop, and the boundaries between Dance and Hip Hop getting smaller thanks to people like Kid Cudi and Black Eyed Peas, who knows where popular rap music will take us?