EDM and Hip Hop: Do The Two Mix?

By Daniel Paiz

Hello again everyone, welcome to the sixth post for Cypher Sessions, one of the newest and freshest Hip Hop blogs out there. In this entry today, we will be exploring two of the most popular genres in the music industry today, Hip Hop and EDM (better-wise known as Electronic Dance Music), and we’ll be figuring out if the two go well together; and, we’ll see who is benefiting more from who, or if it’s a legitimate interdependent relationship. Let’s get into it.

We are going to start with the Hip Hop perspective of the two interacting, and it’s an interesting lens to start with on this subject. Hip Hop has, for the past nearly 40 years, always been changing, evolving, growing, and adapting to the sounds of the times. When it started, Disco was a heavy influence for a while.

As it matured, Hard Rock music weaved its way into the mix. As a full-fledged and certified music, R&B  became almost inseparable from Hip Hop. As we move closer to modern times, mash-ups seemed to be the norm, until a few years ago. This is when EDM was on its own budding path to being a global phenomenon, and artists began to collaborate with Hip Hop artists who in their own right fit perfectly with EDM’s path.

For me, the first tracks I heard were Three Six Mafia & Tiesto’s “Feel It”, and Ferry Corsten & Guru’s “Junk”. Check both of them below to see the main ways in which Hip Hop was used by EDM:

Three Six Mafia & Tiesto: Feel It https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FThuVI_maAs

Ferry Corsten & Guru: Junk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYOcdkGEnEw

These are interesting avenues for Hip Hop to have been used, because each video takes a foundational aspect of Hip Hop, getting together to have a good time, and lyricism that goes above and beyond simple lyrics. For me as a huge Hip Hop fan, both of these songs definitely incorporated aspects of Hip Hop that were true to the art form, which is usually the biggest thing for people who genuinely love what Hip Hop originated as.

In the beginning of this union, it appeared that both benefited greatly from the relationship, as both artists had very different audiences, and thus it opened up a new fan base to all groups involved. The issue that seems to have arisen for audiences, mainly in the Hip Hop scene, is that this union isn’t really done anymore for the benefit of all involved, with regards to the quality of both sides of the relationship. Let’s look at some of examples of how it might not be a mutual process anymore.

Over time, especially here in the United States, there has been a shift in which style of EDM is popular, and more and more it is clear that Electro and Dubstep are at the forefront of popularity these days. A current example of this would be this Damien Marley & Skrillex collabo, Make It Bun Dem:

While I’m no fan of Skrillex, I can admit that there is some talent behind his music, and mainly Dubstep in general. However, this collaboration doesn’t seem to be equal for this listener, because Skrillex is gaining so much more from this song compared to Damien Marley. The main point being, Marley isn’t going to gain anywhere near the listeners that Skrillex is, because often times audiences these days in the US are listening more and more to one style of music, whereas Marley’s listeners, who are naturally going to be more globally dispersed, will. This may seem like a jab at Dubstep, but it’s a bigger picture critique of US audiences and how collaboration isn’t understood or appreciated as much as it once was just a few short years ago.

The biggest issue with the two is that it doesn’t appear that this will be remedied anytime soon, at least for most artists, and subgenres of EDM. One example that goes against this theory would be Lupe Fiasco’s mixtape track, SNDCLSH in Vegas:

The original, (and hugely popular) Kaskade track “Lick It” (which oddly enough is a collabo with Skrillex), means the theory above is clearly a working theory and is not absolutely proven without any flaws. The main goal of this entry is to get listeners of both genres to realize that the two can coincide with one another, but that EDM needs to make sure it puts in the same amount of work and respect to the Hip Hop art form, and believe it or not Hip Hop fans, vice versa.

Emcees need to continue to work on their craft and grow, so that the best possible track can be made. At the end of the day, it appears that this is another collaboration that Hip Hop will go through, but, it needs to do so in a way that guarantees that it comes out as well as it did from its previous collaborations.

Feel strongly about the topic above? Leave a comment and give Cypher Sessions your take on Hip Hop and EDM working together. Next week, Cypher Sessions may be exploring some Hip Hop you might not have heard before, or at the very least, expected to find.

Until then, Peace.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s