Abstracthiphop is a distinct sub-genre of Hip Hop that eschews many of the conventions typically associated with typical Hip Hop. Lyrically, artists tend to focus on more abstract ideas such as existentialism or social institutions rather than everyday problems or braggadocio. Musically, these artists often feature unconventional beats that are considered to be Experimental Hip Hop.
A blueprint for the ethos of hip hop
The ethos of hip hop is often described in terms of four or five core doctrines that underpin its various expressive practices. These include properties of flow, layering, and rupture; principles of productive consumption; a production of excessive publicity or promotion–what affiliates refer to as “hype”; embracing individual and communal entrepreneurship; and a committed politics of action and loyalty.
First, the principle of productive consumption encourages racialized youth-oriented groups to creatively consume and renovate cultural symbols in order to make them more relevant. Such appropriations extend beyond music to include a variety of other expressive practices, such as graffiti writing and fashion.
Second, the inclination towards hype is also evident in the way that hip-hop music creators aim to sonically achieve a sense of spectacle by announcing their presence through loud, flashing colors and eye-catching gestures (Rose 1994). The same holds true for rappers who often employ textured vocal embellishments, referred to as adlibs, that signify their status as community musicians situated in public space.
Third, hip hop’s commitment to action and loyalty entails an emphasis on maintaining ties with affiliates in one’s community who have been supportive over the years. Such loyalties and connections are based on an understanding of the social forces that shape the world around them.