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Twenty-sixteen was an undeniably interesting year for hip-hop. We got a lot of major releases, a ton of so called “beefs”, the hip-hop boogie man was officially released from prison, the sound continued to evolve, and a whole slew of new artists burst onto the scene. There were a lot of interesting moments and story lines throughout the years, but the biggest story to come from 2016 had to have been the rise of mumble rap.

“Mumble” rap is term we’ve come to associate with any new hip-hop music that’s lacking in any real rapping or lyrical content, or in some cases, literal mumble rap. It’s a term that’s mainly been aimed at artists like Desiigner, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, etc. All artists that have gained significant stature in the culture without actually proving that they can rap.

The never ending cycle

It’s a conflict in music that’s been playing out for centuries, over what constitutes as music; albeit, playing out in a much more public fashion on social media this go around.

It’s really the age old story of the old generation (“old heads”) vs the new generation. It’s a conflict in music that’s been playing out for centuries, over what constitutes as music; albeit, playing out in a much more public fashion on social media this go around. Just about each and every genre has had to go through it at some point, and continues to go through it as more and more generations iterate on the past. But in reality it’s really a stupid argument to have; music and art by definition are completely subjective and free to be interpreted as you will. Not to mention that “mumble” rap is nothing more than the natural cycle of music and culture. A natural progression of the things artists like Gucci Mane, Kid Cudi, and Kanye had already begun to do in shifting the culture. It’s the counterculture to the counterculture if you will, and every genre has and continues to go through it; hip-hop is not the exception.

Personality sells

…a feat that used to take millions of dollars and a whole marketing team, now only takes an Instagram account.

With the rise and continued improvements in the internet and technology, it’s become easier now more than ever to create and distribute music. What that means is that there’s a shitload of music that gets released every single day (most of it actually shit). It’s become easier to make music, but infinitely harder to stand out. But Desiigner, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, and 21 Savage have all cracked the code; personality sells. They’ve created just catchy enough music and a persona that keeps people entertained; a feat that used to take millions of dollars and a whole marketing team, now only takes an Instagram account.

Copy & paste

Personality without cultivating skill and ability is begging for someone to select all, copy, and paste their whole shit, then it’s on to the newer and fresher act.

Personality, their biggest strength, is also their biggest weakness. Yeah having a persona and a personality may earn them some money and some following, but it won’t earn them loyalty or longevity. Personality without cultivating skill and ability is begging for someone to select all, copy, and paste their whole shit, then it’s on to the newer and fresher act. There is literally someone eating and doing shows off of 21 Savage’s entire persona as we speak and guess what they called themselves, 22 Savage. I can’t make this shit up. Personality will get you through the door, but it won’t keep you in the room.

So old heads don’t fret, because culture and music is a continuous cycle of trends that washes away most artists with the next big wave. Just ask Trinidad James, or the New Boyz, or Rich Homie Quan, or Chief Keef, or…

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