The release of Lil Yachty’s new album, “Let’s Start Here”, made me once again ponder the direction in which rap music is going and what the genre could potentially sound like by the end of the decade. In reminiscence, a lot of credit is owed to Playboi Carti’s Whole Lotta Red for the Punk/Rap revolution that we are currently seeing 3 years on.
Underground artists like Yeat, Summrs, Kankan, and Carti’s OPIUM label (Homixide Gang, Ken Carson, Destroy Lonely), have propelled this hybrid sound, dubbed by the community as “Rage Trap”, well into the mainstream. Moreover, you can’t go 30 seconds on TikTok or Soundcloud without hearing a Metal Guitar remix of a rap song, further proving that the sound is here to stay for at least another year.
OPIUM specifically, have created their own Punk, Emo aesthetic which has rippled waves online and throughout the industry. X belts, baggy black jeans and gothic Y2K jewelry are just a few essentials for any OPIUM concertgoer, not to mention the culture of opioid pills and the “Screw You” attitude that Destroy Lonely and Ken Carson promotes.
Homixide Gang is a strange, yet the unique case of Hood meets Metal. The songs “5 Ways” and “Drakon!”, both feature menacing guitar riffs and equally menacing lyrics in the style of Slipknot or Slayer. Oppositely, their dress sense and music videos still embody the street fashion culture of mainstream Hip-Hop.
Yachty’s latest album “Let’s Start Here”, is different from the works of other proprietors of the sound, for Yachty’s album doesn’t toy with Metal or Punk, instead, it ventures into the realm of Psychedelic Rock. Yachty might have just gone where no other rapper went before, bar maybe Travis Scott with his ambitious soundscapes and blaring synths. However, even Travis hasn’t released anything to the like what Yachty has just done.
“Let’s Start Here”, although it might not be on the level of a Pink Floyd album, could definitely open up doors for artists with a similar sound to propel rap music into new pastures. Teezo Touchdown is an example of one such artist who has been mixing alternative rock with rap for a while, although he’s yet to release an album, singles like “I’M JUST A FAN” and “Social Cues”, combine aspects of the two genres in brilliant ways.
In addition to Teezo Touchdown, there’s also the rap duo Paris Texas who, on their song “FORCE OF HABIT”, combined indie 2000’s rock with conscious rap, a sound that works surprisingly well.
It seems like there is no end to the creativity that this genre collision could hold. As rap moves away from the “Mumble Rap”/” Southern Trap” era that dominated the majority of the 2010’s, fans are actively looking for what the next big sound could be, and maybe Rap Rock is the new sound of the present.
Written by Jake Campbell.