A Blueprint of Abstracthiphop

Abstracthiphop is a term that we use to describe a sub-genre of hip hop music that doesn’t follow the normal rules or guidelines that you find in most hip hop music. It’s lyrically way more complex, surreal, or obscure then most other hip hop, and it has a much more conscious message and meaning.

A blueprint of abstracthiphop is based on 5 fundamental tenets: Flow, Layering, Rupture, Productive Consumption, and Politics of Action & Loyalty (see below). These tenets are considered the core doctrines that guide and animate this particular form of hip hop music.


In hip hop music, flow refers to the ability of deejays and emcees to build musical structures from polyrhythmic layers of expressive material. Often these layers are strategically punctuated by (or flirted with) ruptures in rhythmic stability, producing exclamations, asymmetries, and rhythmic angularities that attract listeners and onlookers to the music.


Rap music is characterized by the layering of different vocal tracks or instrumentals that produce a unified flow of sound–what affiliates refer to as “hype”–that generates feelings of excitement and pleasure. During the production of a mix, deejays and emcees often layer different samples together to create an incredibly complex and cohesive sound.


In many ways, the ethos of hip hop is founded on an alternative character that challenges the hegemonic values of capitalist society. This alternative character cultivates a moral disposition that puts forth an oppositional consciousness, and that powerfully critiques conditions in contemporary society. In this sense, it fosters an ethically grounded political origin story that is rooted in the moral dispositions of its earliest manifestations within some of the most marginalized communities in urban America.

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