Hip-Hop Hooray: Yo! EDM Raps?
- By Austen Bailey
- Published on August 22, 2011
Every Sunday, we’ll feature an article by a columnist on the Headstash staff who will give you a personal take on themes within our scene, including anything from jam bands to electronica acts and environmentalism to drug reform.
Over the past few years, it’s been remarkable to see electronic music’s meteoric rise among the consciousness of today’s young music lovers. It follows then that it was only a matter of time before the world of bleeps and womps collided with another powerful force that has heavily influenced and mobilized young people for decades: hip-hop.
Historical Rap Sheet
In my hometown of Houston, TX, hip-hop is king and has been for quite some time. Its unique “third coast” status differs from the West or East Coast style. Houston rap was spawned largely from a thriving underground community of artists that emerged in the early 90s, producing styles like “Chopped ‘n Screwed,” where beats are slowed down and chopped up utilizing methods also found in electronic music like stop-time and scratching.
Around that same time, electronic dance music was also beginning to take hold with raves popping up across the nation, starting in New York and gaining momentum in California, particularly in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
Varying from house to breakbeat and psytrance to dubstep, all sorts of different sub-genres of electronic music were born, but maintained the same underground status and attitude of non-conformity that Third Coast hip-hop enjoyed.
However, it was not long before what was once underground in the rap game became mainstream with artists like Lil Flip, Chamillionaire, Paul Wall and Slim Thug gaining nationwide fame due to the commercial nature it takes to make it in the hip-hop world. Electronic dance music, on the other hand, still remained largely out of the public eye until just a few years ago.
A ‘Rapped Up Present
Fast-forward to 2011 where the two genres are both enjoying enormous success among the young thundercats of today and many of the top artists for each are recognizing it and combining forces.
|Jay-Z and STS9 Backstage - Photo Courtesy of STS9.com|
At Camp Bisco 2010 there was a sort of hip-hop/electronic super-group with STS9’s bass player David Murphy joining Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee of Break Science along with conscious hip-hop artist Talib Kweli.
Deitch is a great example of hip-hop and electronic coming together. While on one hand known for starting funk-jam super-group Lettuce, he is not one to be pigeonholed and has also produced albums for The Game, 50 Cent and played live with Wyclef Jean.
And of course there's Break Science featuring Deitch and Lee (who once played with The Fugees) that often features rap superstars with a production style that is unmistakably hip-hop influenced. Wu Tang’s Redman joined them on stage at Camp Bisco this past summer. Wiz Khalifa co-headlined Camp Bisco after playing Summer Camp in May.
It seems like the trend is picking up, too. This September, Snoop Dogg is opening up for STS9 at Red Rocks and during Austin City Limits, Pretty Lights and Nas will share a bill with a group whose name is perhaps one of the best representations of the crossover that has occurred between the two genres. Their name you ask? RUN DMT. No, seriously.
|The Polish Ambassador at The Big Up 2011 - Photo Credit: Holly O'Connor|
“Attitude and style are core components of hip-hop,” he said. “There's nothing doper than a dude that can tell his story with a gritty and determined flow over some head-nodding beats.”
Sugalski added that electronic music’s accessibility and high-energy makes it a perfect complement.
“In its unbridled flexibility, [electronic music] offers a little something for everyone,” he said. “You bring together a genre with undeniable swag like hip-hop with a genre that is encouraging more and more people to be themselves and dance how they want to dance – then you have a winner.”
Rap To The Future
Electronic musicians aren’t the only ones taking note of this trend – independent promoters have recognized the opportunity for collaboration as well. Polaris Presents founder Bobby Clay is primarily an electronic music promoter who has been bringing names like Ott, Bluetech, Big Gigantic and The Glitch Mob to Austin years before they blew up.
“The two biggest genres in modern music right now are hip-hop and electronic,” Clay said. “The kids are flocking to both at record numbers. Combining the two has been a goal for us for quite some time.”
|Dominic Lalli at Summer Camp 2011. Big G often releases remixes of hip-hop songs including some by Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa - Photo Credit: Celeste Valladares|
“The response was mind blowing,” Clay added. “As long as the patrons continue to help these two scenes merge in a positive direction we will continue to bring excellence to the table.”
It will be interesting to see what transpires in the years to come for both of these genres. Hopefully the type of hip-hop that will come to the table will be that of conscious and well intentioned artists like Kweli, Mos Def and Common and shy away from the rappers glorifying the gangster lifestyle as a means for positive advancement.
Similarly, it will be nice to see some of this consciousness rub off on electronic music fans as well and compel this fresh crop of “bass heads” to party responsibly and realize that it’s about music more so than raging.
Whatever the future holds for both electronic music and hip-hop, one thing is for sure: the two have had a major impact on the lives of many fans in both scenes and in turn changed the direction of modern music as a whole for that matter. Not to mention, they can both throw one heck of a party.
What do you think about hip-hop and electronic music getting closer together? Is it good for one, good for both or bad for both?