Commentary: How Indie Rock Transformed Hip Hop

Posted on November 27, 2011


In the late eighties, rap represented the storytelling about drugs, gangs, women, and poverty experienced firsthand by these poetic, felonious thugs who happened to make a sick beat  along with it.

Popular songs of early rap

Snoop Dogg: Gin and Juice                     Ice Cube: It Was a Good Day

Mac Dre: Feelin’ Myself

Now are the days when hip hop has made itself less recognizable as the genre it once was two decades ago.  In a matter of ten years, this generation’s  hip hop artists have not only reinvented the style, but have had new and old fans pitted on opposite ends of the spectrum. Is Hip Hop dead? Or has it just grown out of its namesake?

Although, many critics argue this generation’s artists are ruining the genre; they are probably wrong. Hip hop has revolutionized itself as a melting-pot taking certain elements from other musical genres and formulating a style that has become very popular. Many notable artists like the Roots, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake, Lupe Fiasco, and others have now replaced the traditional loud bass beats of rap with samples of alternative and indie rock artists’ songs playing in the background. The Roots are sampling Radiohead, Kanye is sampling Bon Iver, Drake has sampled Peter, Bjorn, and John as well as Swedish pop artist Lykke Li. You might be thinking, “they probably can’t think of any other beats or ideas to put in their songs.” However, it’s most likely the contrary.

Music has always brought people 0f different colors, classes, genders, and generations together. This may be why hip hop has become so popular. Like Elvis Presley’s country, blues, and soul type of sound, he mixed these genres to end with the result of rock n’ roll. With that, he brought both white and black audiences together to show how they were alike. Artists are probably not making music for world peace, but it’s quite a theory don’t you think?  One other theory as to why this genre-bending trend may also be popular is because maybe musical artists and audiences alike embrace music in general. On the internet, famous hip hop artists like Beyonce are covering rock songs from Coldplay while alternative bands like Florence and the Machine are covering Drake and Rihanna’s hip hop song “Take Care.” Agreeing to work together or sampling each other’s songs basically means a sign of respect and praise. If this is what catchy music needs, I am all ears. Seeing how the billboard charts and internet music blogs have embraced this trend, I bet millions of others around the world have their ears on this new hip hop too.

Recent Indie Rock Samples in Hip Hop Songs

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