Abstract hip hop is a counterculture movement that is just starting to reach its zenith. It’s an eerie and moody alternative to boom-bap’s poppier, more glitzy counterculture.
Like its counterpart in grunge, abstract hip hop uses lyrical complexity to subvert conventional notions of the genre. It can be a challenge to write abstract hip hop lyrics, but it is worth it!
Abstract hip-hop is a genre of music that combines elements of hip hop with experimental and avant-garde sounds. It is usually characterized by unconventional production techniques, abstract and often surrealistic lyrical content and the use of samples from a wide range of sources.
There is a large variety of different styles of abstract hip-hop, each of which has its own unique characteristics and sound. Some of the most notable characteristics include unusual beats, a lack of traditional rap instruments such as drums and guitar and the use of samples from a variety of sources.
This style of music is a combination of elements from various genres, including jazz, funk, classical and electronic music. It also includes spoken word and poetry.
Among the most popular subgenres of abstract hip-hop is experimental rap. This is a genre that draws inspiration from the various trends in hip-hop, especially from the underground scene and takes the best elements of these styles to create an original fusion.
The most interesting aspect of this style of music is its ability to straddle the line between mainstream and experimental hip-hop, while still maintaining its own distinctive identity. This is evident in the tracklisting and overall design of the album as well as the musical content itself.
One of the most famous pieces of abstract hip-hop is the aptly titled “Aesop Rock: The Science Fiction Movie” by DJ Krush, which is a highly imaginative and technically complex album that is also aesthetically pleasing. While it contains some of the most abstract lyrical content you will hear on this list, it is also a solid example of a modern classic and a must-listen for any fan of hip-hop.
Another great example of abstract hip-hop is the “Cloud Rap” craze from 2010, which featured rappers like Clams Casino and Main Attrakionz that favoured ambient sounds for their songs instead of the usual butt-shaking percussion. This was a big step up from the more conventional styles of this genre and while it did not become popular in the mainstream, it did help to propel a lot of other artists into the spotlight.
Abstract hip hop is a genre that incorporates elements of experimental and avant-garde music with those of hip hop. It is typically characterized by unconventional production techniques, abstract and often surrealistic lyrical content, and use of samples from a wide range of sources.
Abstract hip hop can be found in many different countries, although its origins are primarily located in the United States and France. The United Kingdom is also home to several notable producers of abstract hip hop, such as Sludge, Griz, and Koan Sound.
The origins of abstract hip hop can be traced back to the 1970s, when DJs began isolating percussion breaks from funk and soul songs. This allowed performers to speak over the music, and this practice was soon referred to as “rapping.”
Early hip hop MCs used rhymes and special rhythms to make the audience dance and stay excited. They spoke between the music, gave exhortations to dance, joked and anecdotes. They became known as MCs or emcees.
In the 1970s, MCs from New York City were instrumental in the development of the genre of hip hop. They were a mix of young Black, Latinx, and Caribbean American youth who gathered together at street parties and community gatherings to listen to funk and soul music, and then rapped their lyrics over the music.
They were joined by a number of other groups, such as breakdancers who would beat the percussion with their hands or feet and freestylers, who used turntable techniques. They also introduced a number of other techniques, including scratching (scratching a record onto another record with the fingers of one hand) and improvised vocals called “toasting.”
While hip hop grew in popularity throughout the world, it was first developed in the United States, where it originated during the 1970s as an artistic expression of the diverse social and economic conditions faced by African Americans, Latinx, and Caribbean immigrants. The musical and cultural influences of this movement included a range of styles, from funk and soul to R&B and disco.
Initially, hip hop was not well received in some countries, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years and has gained widespread recognition. It has been adapted to different cultures in various ways, with African-American artists such as K’naan and Buck 65 being successful in Canada, Europe, and the United States. Other international groups such as Taiwanese rapper MC Hot Dog have also become well-known, especially in Greater China.
Abstract hip hop eschews many of the conventional conventions of the genre. Lyrically, abstract artists use extensive metaphors and symbolism to explore broader themes.
1. Pitch-based rhythmic layers
The primary characteristic of abstract hip hop is that rappers intentionally alter the pitch of their voices at specific points in their flows to create a separate rhythmic layer that is woven in with the composite rhythm of the song’s beat. This technique can be used to strengthen rhymed phrases and to give a sense of fast-paced tension.
A common example is in Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 track “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and Schoolboy Q’s 2014 song “Real Friends,” where Lamar and Q deliberately change the pitch of their voices to emphasize a particular melodic cell in their flow. As a result, their vocal pitch resembles speech-like pitch at specific occurrences in their flow.
2. Exaggerated declamation
While rappers often use rhyme-strengthening techniques to enhance their rap flows, some also adopt an exaggerated declamatory style. This style can involve a dramatic increase or decrease in the pitch of their voice over the course of a verse or stanza, for example Snow Tha Product’s 2016 track “Get Down Low” and Schoolboy Q’s 2014 song (“Real Friends”), where the rapper gradually raises or lowers his voice from line to line without rhyme strengthening at all.
3. Accented syllables
A notable characteristic of abstract hip hop is that many rappers will use accented syllables as part of their flows. This technique is reminiscent of jazz, where emphasised syllables are often heard in jazz fusion songs, but it also reflects more traditional forms of spoken word.
4. Sung interjections
A third feature of abstract hip hop is that rappers may use a sung interjection between two or more rapped phrases to add an element of chanting to their flow. This is especially common in MCs with deep voices, such as Method Man and 2Pac, who tend to use their high voices for emphasis on specific syllables in their lyrics.
Finally, abstract hip hop may also feature long percussive breaks that are often incorporated into a song to hearken back to the genre’s roots or encourage dancing. This is an important characteristic of abstract hip hop and has allowed it to flourish in the underground rap scene.
Abstract hip hop is a genre that combines elements of music, poetry and art. This style is considered to be experimental and can often be difficult to understand, but it’s also one of the most interesting styles of hip-hop. It’s influenced by a wide variety of artists, including Mark Rothko and Young Thug.
Although the roots of abstract hip hop are a mystery to most, it is an evolution of rap. Historically, new periods of art such as renaissance, rococo and neoclassicism came about as a reaction to previous periods.
This is how the evolution of rap works; there are always new flows and concepts to be introduced, but it is often through competition that the most innovative ideas emerge. For example, Three 6 from Memphis in the 90s influenced club rap’s current production style through their unique flow and beats.
Other important influences include Nikki Giovanni, who is an outspoken poet and activist within the African American community. Her writings are centered on her experiences and her commitment to equality.
She also believes that everyone has the potential to be a leader in their own life and that it is important to express their true selves, no matter what. Her earliest poems were inspired by the civil rights movement, but her work continues to reflect contemporary events and experiences within the African American community.
Another influential influence is Travis Barker, who combines alternative hip-hop with elements of alternative rock and pop punk. His works are often characterized by high production, and they are often mixed with other forms of electronic music.
These types of artists often have an aggressive and deconstructive sound. Their lyrics can be hard to understand and they often use extreme digital voice modification.
Some artists also use autotune technology to give their voices a unique and beautiful sound, which is known as “Glam Rap”. This style has been growing in popularity since the 2000s.
In addition to being an art form, rap has also had a significant impact on other media such as films and TV shows. In the past, it has been used to promote social change and encourage a sense of community in many different countries. It has even been used to gain the trust of governments in some cases.