Abstracthiphop is a genre of hip hop music that uses unconventional production techniques and often incorporates elements of jazz, funk, soul, and electronic music. It is generally considered more experimental and progressive than mainstream hip hop.
Lyrical content is usually less structured and more abstract than other forms of hip hop, focusing on ideas and concepts rather than specific topics. This can also include the use of samples from a variety of sources.
Rhythmic layers: rappers are often able to erect two simultaneous rhythmic patterns using their vocal pitch (see Edwards 2013). This technique can be used for a wide range of purposes, including differentiating between syllables or phrases in the same line.
In contrast to example 5, the rappers in example 6 deliberately alter their vocal pitch at select points throughout their flow to erect separate rhythmic layers. The result is a sensation that the two rhythmic layers are progressing simultaneously and dependently–one governed by the general pitch of a rapper’s flow, the other characterized by an altered or unusual pitch at select moments.
Examples: 1. Lizzo’s “Good as Hell” (2016); 2. Schoolboy Q’s “Hypnotic” (2017); 3. Nelly’s “Slow Down” (2013); 4. The Roots’s “Wonder” (1992); 5. The Notorious B.I.G.’s “It Takes Time” (2011); 6. DMX’s “Ain’t No Love” (2014); 7. Lil B’s “Potato Salad” (2009); 8. Tyler, The Creator’s “Igor” (2017); and 9. Kevin Abstract’s “Arizona Baby” (2017).
Abstracthiphop is a highly distinctive and often difficult-to-master subgenre of hip hop music. But it is a style that has a lot to offer, both sonically and lyrically.