Each generation gives way to a new era of music, particularly hip-hop. Music by its very nature is constantly evolving and shifting and many new adaptations of “rap” or “hip-hop” are met with resistance from those fonder of “old” styles. This has been the case with the newest genre of hip-hop often derisively referred to by many as mumble rap, SoundCloud rap or colored hair rap.
Lil Yachty is an up and coming rapper who takes pride in his music not being for the older generation of hip-hop fans. (Courtesy Photo)
Younger artists have begun their foray into the industry and their music is focused overwhelmingly on beats rather than lyrics and the incorporation of heavy ad-lib use and catchy hooks. Artists like Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert and others have tried to spur a new wave within the industry accompanied by a new look.
Although many of the rappers of previous generations focused on promoting a “gangsta” attitude and reputation, the musically inclined novices of the industry today prefer to label themselves as rockstars. In an interview with The Fader Playboi Carti, whose self-titled album released on May 6 has had several singles on the Billboard charts, said, “I’m a young pretty n-gga. I don’t gangbang. I don’t do none of that street sh-t. I’m a rockstar.”
Carti is a name many in the industry have come to recognize and respect as one of the influential new voices in rap and recently dropped his premiere album, “Playboi Carti” which was met with extremely positive reviews. And Carti was lauded for his command of ad-libs, the signature tell of a “mumble rapper.” Pitchfork Magazine gave the album a 7.3 out of 10 and proclaimed, “his signature ad-libs command space in a way not even Jim Jones or Young Jeezy could’ve imagined. Here, they aren’t just highlights or devices to advance the song’s conversation; they’re the main attraction. Ad-libs become parts of hooks, outlines of lyrics and, sometimes, simply just are the lyrics…Playboi Carti feels like a break from life, the soundtrack to a mindless good time.”
Lil Uzi Vert, a rising star most known for being featured on hit songs “Bad and Boujee” by the Migos and “Woke Up Like This” by Playboi Carti. His project “Luv is Rage,” is probably one of the biggest proponents of the new rockstar lifestyle within the newer class of rappers. “Old guys are simple, y’all simple and that’s cool… I am a rockstar…it’s changing,” he told New York radio station Hot 97. “It’s a lifestyle, it looks like Marilyn Manson, it looks like G.G. Allin, it looks like Lil Uzi Vert.”
Uzi is unapologetically himself and has no disdain for the many labels forced upon him by the mavens of the industry. When describing his sound Uzi keeps it simple, “A whole bunch of ‘Aye’s’ and a whole bunch of ‘yeah’s.’ That’s it, that’s all I do is say ‘yeah’…we (Uzi and Carti) what you call mumble rappers, you say ‘yeah’ after anything and it works.”
Although millennials find “mumble rappers” exciting and captivating, many older rap purveyors find this new genre of music off-putting and lacking in substance. Lil Yachty, best known for his hit single, “1 Night,” has an interesting take on his detractors. “N-ggas don’t know how to accept change. They old and washed up,” he told Bossip.
Yachty released his sophomore album, Teenage Emotions, May 26.