Abstract Hip Hop is a sub-genre of hip hop that has become a staple of the underground scene in recent years. This style of hip hop eschews many of the genre’s conventions – particularly its lyrical focus on everyday problems and braggadocio – instead preferring extensive metaphors and symbolic word choice.
It is a much more obscure and lyrically challenging form of hip hop. The lyrics are a lot more complex and surreal/obscure/unorthodox and the beats tend to be much more experimental and hard. It’s a tougher listen but it’s also an addicting one.
Earl’s Some Rap Songs is an excellent album that showcases his unique ability to sculpt a sound that is highly avant-garde, using a lot of jazz samples. This album also displays a great deal of emotional depth as Earl expresses extreme vulnerability in many of his songs, which is something uncommon in the hip hop world.
MF DOOM’s The Mouse and The Mask is another outstanding album that features the always-strong DOOM lyrics. This time he teams up with left-field producer Danger Mouse (known for mashing The Beatles’ The White Album into The Grey Album) and his instrumentals definitely add to the thematic feel of the record, strengthening DOOM’s lyrical prowess.
The Cold Vein is one of the best albums in this sub-genre that features the lyrical prowess of Cannibal Ox’s two emcees Vast Aire and Vordul Mega as well as the innovative production of El-P. The Cold Vein is an excellent example of how a rapper can use their imagination and creative vision to create music that is atmospheric, complex and hypnotic.