By Luis De La Torre
Whether you want to call it a butterfly effect or a vertical climb; hip-hop has grown tremendously as a genre. Hip-hop artists aren’t limiting themselves to using the same old beats or keeping the same rugged sound anymore. There is more room for self expression and incorporating other types of aesthetics into their music.
Today in hip-hop, artists can channel the energy of rock stars, like Lil Uzi Vert does, or decide to be more mellow and show their sensitive sides, like in Tyler the Creator’s new album “Flower Boy.” Most of Lil Uzi’s music, along with other artists such as Travis Scott and Playboi Carti, is fast paced and has booming 808 bass with layered high hats. They top off their beats with stunning vocals and fast repetitive lyrics that make their music similar to rock and roll. Their music can be compared to the up-tempo heavy instrumentals and crashing vocals of AC/DC and Black Flag.
On the other hand, Tyler the Creator has taken a completely different approach to his new album with personal lyrics expressing his insecurities and loneliness, along with a sense of femininity throughout the album. He’s fond of incorporating slow piano chords, strings, and classic boom bap drums in his music that make his songs seem like a professionally conducted piece. Some of his songs can be tranquil while others are raw and authentically show his frustration. “I’ve always felt under-appreciated; growing up an inner city black kid I wasn’t very masculine or into sports and I liked the color pink,” Tyler the Creator said to Vogue.
Many new young rappers want to create music that their generation can relate to and make their own space in hip-hop. “It’s a cadence, as a teenager you go through so many different emotions trying to figure yourself out,” Lil Yachty said to Vogue about his new album “Teenage Emotions.”
Artists are experimenting by using more melodies to make their songs include more rhythm and be fun to listen to. Many new artists have claimed that they are using their voices as instrument to create a sound that sets a theme for their songs, much like how the late James Brown used screams to amp up the energy of his music. Their vocals can even be compared to the scat of jazz artists.
This new generation of listeners has given a voice to the underground rapper to express their ideas. Starting from the emergence of more artists openly talking about sexuality such as Kevin Abstract to Frank Ocean discussing being bisexual.
Other artists demonstrate their political views such as Joey Bada$$, Logic, Kendrick Lamar, and The Underachievers showing how they feel institutionalized. This genre should not be limited as a certain category and there already seems to be so many artists who agree on letting it grow to it’s full potential.