Abstract Hip Hop: a genre of rap music with unconventional production techniques, avant-garde lyrical content and an array of experimental samples from various sources.
The genre has become an important tool for poor, marginalized youth worldwide to reflect on their experiences and social and political conditions. However, the genre often faces a sceptical response from the mainstream.
It can be difficult to find abstract rap that is accessible and not intimidating, especially when it is so different from what we are used to hearing. Thankfully, there are many excellent examples of this sub-genre and below we have put together some of our favourites!
Earl Sweatshirt: Some Rap Songs
While Earl’s rap style is often very aggressive and gangsta, his album “Some Rap Songs” is much more abstract and vulnerable. The theme of extreme vulnerability is a rare one in rap and this album expresses it very well through its avant-garde production which cuts off sound constantly.
Earl also uses many jazz samples to create this abstract sound and this is evident throughout the entire album. The overall sound of the album is very innovative and he has a strong sense for rhythm and melody which allows him to create an intense sound that keeps in your head.
Tyler The Creator: Igor
Like Earl’s rap style, the lyrical style of this rapper is very experimental. In fact, he eschews most of the conventions that come with the rap genre and instead opts for metaphors, symbolism and cryptic meanings to convey his messages. This is a very refreshing change from the more braggadocio that comes with the rap world.