Is that Hip-Rock?
In the last couple of years we’ve seen a huge shift in the mainstream hip-hop scene with a fierce presence of a new flavour emulating rock. Rock is generally perceived to be an outrageous genre that lives in a world with no rules. This is even more so in metal rock which has a cult like culture full of expression and emotion that from the outside looks a bit crazy.
6ix9ine, Lil Uzi Vert, XXXTentacion are just a few of the names that embody this new wave. Their music blurs the boundaries with hip-hop and rock and roll. The Hip-hop genes are threaded with the presence of 808s and bars with the lyrical flow rooted in its hip-hop and rap origins. What we are however seeing is the transformation of hooks which is formed with strong indie-rock phrasing, just see the chorus of Lil Uzis The Way Life Goes. This new rock steer is blatant through careless and rusty melodies which is most definitely seen in XXX’s latest project ‘?’. Rock’s infamous base box bursting and inflated middle frequency vocals are finding a home with these rappers. Just see XXX’s Floor 555 and Look At Me, and pretty much 6ix9ines discography to see rock and even metal rock. Its delivered and received exactly how metal and rock bands do– full of adrenaline, testosterone and hype. 10 yr’s ago rappers wouldn’t have dreamt of touching this style of music but the fusion and blurring of lines are redefining the new wave definition of rappers.
Sonically, yes there is a crazy blur, but it doesn’t end there. Visually the way these rappers look, with outrageous hair, face tattoos, devilish hand gestures all depict the attire of rock. Its unapologetic and daring which provoke the same attitude rockstars pride themselves with. Man even think about their language. They refer to themselves as rockstars (Shout out posty).
From the outside, looking at trends and the sheer numbers these guys are doing, it’s a very strategic move from an artistic perspective. As hip-hop is becoming ever so mainstream and now can be even classed as pop music (just look at the charts), these guys are pushing beyond this by appealing to people across the middle 80% of genres. A metal head, a rocker, a hop-hop head, an r&b guy all can listen to these artists. Just listen to how these man slow it down, XXX’s Sad, 6ix9ines GOTTI, Lil uzi’s How To Talk. This is especially timely in this streaming era where the public consume segments of an artist that they like rather than buying into the whole product. This all means that fans of all genres listen to the side of the artist they most affiliate with, which in a world of echo chambers on the net is absolutely genius.