Abstract Hip Hop (alternative hip hop) is a subgenre of hip hop music that features lyrical topics outside of the typical gangsta and street lifestyle themes. It is characterized by lyrics that contain complex rhyme structures and often incorporates concepts of poetry, jazz, psychology, or other forms of academic thought.
Some of the most famous artists in alternative hip hop include Eminem, Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Pharcyde, Digable Planets, and Das EFX. This style of music has also seen significant commercial success in the 2000s, especially in the United States.
A trio of trippy Jews from Cincinnati, cLOUDDEAD are a definite must-listen for any serious experimental hip hop listener. They make abstract beats that are both enchanting and challenging.
One of the most important and influential rappers in alternative hip hop, MF Doom is known for his intensely literate lyrics, which are usually rooted in personal experience or a strong interest in social or political issues. He has an angry voice and a fluid flow that makes his words sound like they’re coming from a gattling gun.
While the vast majority of abstract hip hop tends to fall into the traps of hazy, ill-defined beats and lack of direction, aethiopes goes far beyond those common pitfalls. With the beats and lyrics both staying consistent, aethiopes explores an impressively broad range of topics – from colonialism to the economic state of the world – in a way that feels cohesive.