Abstract hip hop is a style of hip hop that eschews many of the genre’s conventions and has been a fixture of the underground scene since the early 2000s. Lyrically, these artists tend to focus on more abstract ideas such as existentialism or social institutions rather than everyday problems or braggadocio.
These artists also use extensive metaphors and symbolic word choice in their lyrics, often deviating from the traditional rhyme and rhythm structure of rap music. These lyrical elements are often combined with unconventional beats that are akin to experimental hip hop.
The culture’s roots go back to the 1980s, when youth in urban ghettos were desperate to find new ways to spin records and dance. They were also experimenting with styles of poetry and visual art that revealed their thinking and feelings.
This creative energy, driven by competition, began to create new forms of expression in the form of music and dance, as well as a growing movement of hopeful poets and visual artists who were eager to express their thoughts and feelings in ways that would make them heard and understood. The result was a culture that quickly groovified into an identity, and its name stuck: Hip Hop.
While most Hip Hop music and dancing centers on gangsta braggadocio and street life, the roots of this movement stretch further than the streets themselves. It starts with the writers who were hungry to put their ideas out there by whatever means were available.