Sub-Genres

Today’s Hip-hop music is quite diverse and not easily defined or categorized. Some have argued that it shouldn’t be categorized at all. But as far as convenience goes, for every track or album we post, we’ll use 1 or more of the following tags:

Acapella/Spoken

Emcees reciting rhymes without accompanying music. May include some spoken word poetry, just as long as it’s in the spirit of Hip-hop.

Adult Contemporary

Music written and released for an older audience, dealing with everyday themes that adults can relate to.

Alternative

Original. Eclectic? To a large degree, original styles are not only encouraged in Hip-hop, but expected. Every B-boy wants to bring something new to the table, same as with every DJ, or Graff artist. And although Rap music seems to have a time-tested, classic formula, you can view alternative Hip-hop music as being of that same brand of experimentation. They call it the lab for a reason. Besides, a style has to stand out as different or alternative before it can be accepted and respected.

Boom Bap

‘Nuff said.

Breakbeat

We are huge supporters of the unity of Hip-hop culture. For some time now, however, it seems that Hip-hop music is not always conducive to Breaking. But every now and then there’s a DJ and an Emcee who make it happen and “bring it back”. Songs in this category will appeal to B-boys and B-girls of various styles.

Children’s

This genre includes tracks written for you to not just play around your children, but for your children. This music is designed to contribute to the positive development of children of various ages.

Christian Hip-hop, Islamic Hip-hop, etc.

Rap recorded for a specific religious audience.

Club

Although “The Industry” has been over-popularizing Hip-hop music for years, we must always give props to Emcees and DJs who can rock the party. It’s not everybody’s thing, but of course, the party, or celebration represents the origin and essence of Hip-hop.

Conscious

A very broad category. First off, conscious Hip-hop music is about influencing change within the world by teaching others. Conscious rappers will speak on the issues that concern them rather than settling for the status quo. As Hip-hop started out in the Black and Hispanic communities, most conscious music is concerned with these struggles. To that end, there’s a large focus placed on deliverance from mental slavery as well as elevating the mind.

But at the same time, there is conscious music written for all peoples in a state of oppression, and for any problem in society that needs to be rethought. Consciousness can also refer to connecting the mind with the spirit in order to gain freedom of being. And to large extent, all of the above topics are interlaced as they relate to one human family and universe. But hope that helped..

Fam Friendly

Strange we would have this category? Although a song may be free of cursing, there are other aspects of the lyrics or music that might render it questionable for small children. For instance, music that uses words like “gun”, or “kill”, while not cussing, are pretty harsh compared to Sesame Street.

Female Emcees

An Emcee is an Emcee, and gender makes no difference on the mic. However, for those seeking an archive of clean songs and albums from female emcees, this category is here to narrow your search.

Freestyle

Lyrics composed and recited on the spot or “top of the dome”. Some pre-written rhymes might be considered “freestyle”if intertwined with on-the-spot lyrics and recited in a battle rap context.

Golden Age

1985-1995 (roughly)

Hardcore

For us, “Hardcore” has a lot to do with musicality. Dark and grimy, gritty or intense. The entire feel of a track can be rough just by how the drums and bass hit, and how an Emcee spits the words. Clean or dirty, hardcore Emcees wouldn’t be what they were if they said each line like a lullaby; emphasis is everything.

And Hardcore is more than just about violent lyrics. “Controversial” Hip-hop like Public Enemy is more dangerous than any Emcee known for being rough on the mic. The most “offensive” things that ODB ever said weren’t his raw lyrics, but rather his shameless criticisms about “The Government”. Eminem can play all day, but Immortal Technique could shut a radio station down for good.

Hip-hop (General)

Contemporary, everyday Hip-hop music that was made with an effort to stay true to the essence of Hip-hop. Released after 1995, we won’t call it Old School or Golden Age. Nothing too fancy; it’s just good, quality Rap music. “True School”, if you will.

Jazz Rap

Hip-hop music which contains musical and/or lyrical influences from Jazz. As Jazz was once the voice of the people, the fusion of Jazz and Hip-hop is like the emblematic passing of the torch between the urban voices of yesterday to today. Big up to those Emcees, Composers, and Producers who continue this tradition.

Old School

Music from the initial era of recorded Hip-hop (1979-1984)

Positive Vibes

Just as the name says. But the emphasis is not only on the lyrics here, but also the musicality, or “feel-good” aspect of the music.

Rap Rock/Rap Metal

Fusion of Emceeing and contemporary Rock and Roll.

Southern Rap

Artists hailing from the southern United States and portraying the “Dirty South” sound. Includes Trap, Crunk, Bounce, Chopped and Screwed and other styles.

Spiritual

While you might break this down by religion or belief, somewhere in the middle lies music that speaks to anyone looking to connect with a Higher Power.

Underground or Independent

Those who are familiar with these terms know what this is all about. Underground has become many things. On one side, it’s a refuge for Emcees and fans who have decided to take matters into their own hands with respect to what Hip-hop is and who controls it. But at the same time, much of underground Hip-hop has taken on it’s own musical style, one that, at it’s most raw form, literally sounds like music from the underground. If nothing else, it appeals to the underdog in all those dedicated to restoring Hip-hop music to it’s original integrity.

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