Because of the rise of the internet, city-centered rap styles are on the decline. Rarely do you hear anyone talk about the “Los Angeles sound” or the “New York sound”, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For Baltimore hip-hop artists, that means you can follow your passion and pursue any sound you want independent of the expectations that might come from a local sound. As the transition from location to sound has continued, three rap styles are taking off in particular at the moment that you can draw on for your next project.
Trap is rooted in the sound of southern hip-hop during the early 1990s – particularly the scenes in Houston and New Orleans. Trap music is known for its aggressive lyrics and production dominated by 808 synthesizers. Trap artists such as Future usually rap about life in the trap – drugs, violence, and other harsh realities of the inner city are dominant themes in lyrics, making this rap style more brutally honest than at first glance.
Conscious rap harkens back to the work of artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, who mixed jazzy samples and laidback production with lyrics about self-discovery, self-improvement, and awareness of social issues. Conscious rappers tend to be viewed by the mainstream as “more intelligent” than others, usually because they use a larger vocabulary and tend to frame social issues in less controversial ways. While conscious styles have declined in popularity in recent years, the rise of Kendrick Lamar has brought it new attention.
Many rappers are starting to sing on tracks over a futuristic, bass-heavy production, usually with a heavy Autotune effect. While singing rappers are nothing new, it has really taken off in recent years and is poised to become the dominant rap style in popular culture soon.
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