The barrier to rap fandom is open to all. The constantly changing genre continues to open up new avenues, today’s most prominent being what we call new age rap – a blanket term covering “mumble” and “melodic” rap that is seemingly becoming the genre’s most important, and marketable, subtype. Juice WRLD signed a $3 million deal with Interscope off of the strength of his melodies. Playboi Carti is also a stalwart in the next generation and listeners can barely understand what he’s saying. It’s a different rap world than what existed in the 90s. The key to staying on top of the changing game is to be able to understand it and be open to anything.
We’ve created a quick primer with three main ways to get into rap’s new age. Whether you’re an artist or fan of trap looking to understand today’s game, we’ve got you covered.
Understand that rap isn’t all about bars anymore
Remember the 1990s where everyone was in constant competition with each other to out rap the next emcee? That day has long gone – now rappers skate on tracks and look to showcase their talents through other sonic avenues. Rap now is about moods, not lyricism. That’s why rappers like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar are rare – nearly no one is checking for substance (their album sales say otherwise). Artists now utilize ad libs and other creative sonic choices to build their music.
Listen to the Top 50 on SoundCloud
The Top 50 on SoundCloud’s chart is comprised of new age rap’s best. You’ll find XXXTentacion’s early hits, some of Trippie Redd’s new project, and a ton of other types of rap that paint a different picture than what you’ve probably heard before. It’ll be jarring, but you’ll grow to understand the subgenre and figure out exactly what you like within it.
Understand what makes Playboi Carti so popular
I always hear that Playboi Carti is what’s wrong with hip-hop. People over 25 often think he’s not talented while people under 25 (rough age estimate) think that he’s a true ray of light in the dark. They often refuse to listen to him because he epitomizes the mumble rapper that many despise. But listening to him with an open ear with change the perception; he creates brilliant music that relies on atmosphere instead of lyricism. If you can understand that, you’ll have a chance at getting into the new age rap.
Russ Is Right, Exploiting Drug Addiction For Money Is Wack
Russ has made it clear for over a year now that he’s not for the glamorization of drugs for money. He recently got into a Twitter scuffle with Fat Nick, a known user of lean and narcotics, with the two debating about his fascination with drugs and how the latter makes money off of it. Nick frequently posts his drugs and merchandise that contains drugs online and sees nothing wrong with it. Russ however disagrees. And, after seeing both viewpoints, I daresay I agree with Russ. Glamorizing drugs is wack, point blank.
Rap music was founded in tough times. The best hip-hop to come out of the genre’s Golden Era focused on the hardships that people faced during daily life. Coping with these hardships came natural. Drug use isn’t new. However, the way that drug users are fetishizing these drugs is. Lean, Xanax, and Mollies have become as popular as the music itself. With rappers posting their drugs on social media and dedicating so much of their creative energies to showcasing their fascination with drugs, many kids try them out because the artists they look up to love it.
Nothing good comes out of this besides addiction and death. Xanax pills look fun until you’re trying your best to kick the habit while the withdrawal symptoms kick your ass. Let Mac Miller’s story inform you about the dangers of overdosing. Lil Tracy had a heart attack because of his drug usage. There’s nothing good to come out of using these drugs. Yet, new age rap stars align their aesthetics with drugs because its in and it sells.
This exploitation is no joke and needs to be talked about. Starting a conversation about it will enable the proper action to happen and, hopefully, the way that drugs are exploited for money can be addressed.
Why Ella Mai’s “Trip” Is Better Than “Boo’d Up”
Everyone thought that “Boo’d Up” was the one. Ella Mai’s viral summer single became the talk of the season, a meme due to its widespread popularity across many age, racial, and gender groups. Many thought that Mai lucked up into the DJ Mustard-produced single, attributing much of the song’s success to the producer. But little did they know, “Trip” would come behind it and show that Mai is much more than a one hit wonder.
“Trip” released on August 3 and has been somewhat of a slow burn for the public. It’s a lot darker and moodier than “Boo’d Up”‘s ceiling-less mood. There’s a lingering piano that acts as the song’s lifeblood. When Mai comes in with her surprisingly deep voice, she offsets the equilibrium and swings things in her favor. As it goes on it become a catchy earworm that far outpaces the ceiling of “Boo’d Up”
With all of this said, her debut album, expected to arrive this fall, will be interesting to take in. Has she exhausted all creative avenues in her brilliant two first singles? Or will she continue pushing the culture? “Boo’d Up,” was one thing. “Trip” is another altogether, showcasing that she has a lot still left up her sleeve.
Listen to “Trip” below.
Bay Area Music That You May Have Missed This Week
Here’s our weekly collection of music out of the Bay Area that you may have missed this week. This week’s collection is one of our favorites, with a majority of the tunes being bombastic, lively jams to bolster the energy coursing through your veins. Tune in below: