Abstract Hip Hop is a genre of Hip Hop that eschews many of the conventions of the genre. It has been a fixture of the underground hip hop scene since the early 2000s. Lyrically, artists tend to focus on more abstract ideas such as existentialism or social institutions rather than everyday problems and braggadocio.
They also eschew the more upfront, visceral language of typical Hip Hop in favor of extensive metaphors and symbolic word choice. Additionally, abstract rappers often employ unconventional beats that are similar to those of the genre but not necessarily a part of it.
Earl Sweatshirt is a very good example of Abstract Hip Hop, as his album Some Rap Songs expresses extreme vulnerability and uses jazz samples to create a very avant-garde style of music. The album has a lot of sudden cut-offs in the sound, which makes it a very emotional experience.
Tyler, the Creator is another excellent example of Abstract Hip Hop, as he has been turning out albums that have a very deep and vulnerable feel. In “Potato Salad,” he raps about same-sex attraction.
It is worth noting that he used gay slurs in his early career, and defended the use of those terms in the face of accusations of homophobia. He also has a very distinct personal voice that stands out amongst his Odd Future peers.