By Daniel Paiz
It feels like it’s been ages since both trap music and mumble rap have become what’s popular in hip-hop right now. Perhaps there’s an explanation as to why hip-hop that’s both “chill” and “hype” at the same time is making so much noise.
It might not seem like it, but these two subgenres are encouraging how sound evolves in the middle-aged genre that is hip-hop.
Does that phrase even make sense?
It might not seem like it, but “chill hype” is my best attempt to describe the direction popular hip-hop is taking. It’s a shift I’ve noticed from the popularity of trap music to the newer affection many have for mumble rap.
In trap music, the music itself is the focal point; the buildup, how different sounds collude and crash, the drop.
Now, that focus on the beat itself has shifted.
Mumble rap focuses on using the voice as an instrument, rather than as a method of delivering a message (which is a very nice way of putting it). The beat itself is subdued, being relegated to the background purposely while the artist delivers their verse.
That verse is more so focused on adding another sound to the track itself, as opposed to often delivering a message. To be fair, there are some artists that say more than catchphrases and hard to decipher sounds.
There’s few and far between. But they’re occasionally there.
Why is this happening?
“Chill hype” is happening because, believe it or not, there is some form of experimentation going on in popular hip-hop.
It goes without saying that rappers that are underground or not focused on radio play or Top 40 charts largely aren’t following said trends (and often effectively criticizing the newest trend).
However, a lot of these younger artists are exploring sounds and how to use the voice as an instrument. If, like me, you’re largely not a fan of what they’re discovering, then thankfully it looks like this trend can’t sustain itself.
A number of artists that decide to utilize trap music and mumble rap also continue to hurt their careers with personal behavior and questionable lyrics.
While some (XXXtentacion, Lil Uzi Vert, and others) have discussed topics like mental illness or difficulties they faced in life, the good done by doing so is largely overshadowed by the reckless behavior displayed for TMZ and other tabloid-type websites; clicks are free flowing, and these sites could care less about the artists.
The phrase I coined above likely won’t take off. But if the experimentation mentioned above does has a second wave, it’ll largely be because these artists acknowledge in their music what larger impact their music is having outside of the genre.
One last example of how it’s not just the newer artists who are using the voice as an instrument would be long-time producer Swizz Beatz, who has done so again on his new project Poison.
What was discussed above, where the voice is just another instrument? This 2 Chainz-assisted track Stunt exemplifies this quite well: