Hip hop and electro are, technically speaking, two different genres of music. But every year (hell, every day) they get a little bit closer together. Maybe it’s too early to apply a name to the synthesis of these two styles (and, please god, I hope somebody invents a better name for it than the intentionally tacky title of this blog post.) But there’s no denying that they’re starting to overlap. I know this isn’t exactly a new idea. Genres always overlap, and defining a genre is always tricky. Still, the distinction between hip hop and electro is growing increasingly blurred.
It’s easy to see why the two styles go hand-in-hand. DJs need vocals, and lifting the vocal track off a well-known rap song is both a) easier than recording good-quality vocals and b) a surefire way to get the dancefloor excited by playing something people recognize (assuming they like the original song.) Seriously, how many times have we heard Rick Ross’s “everday I’m hustlin’” sampled in an electronic song? It’s often easier to build off the popularity of another track. The production of hip hop has become more elecctronic, too. Making a rap beat involves the same software as making an electronic song. And both styles often use the typical “two turntables and a microphone (and a laptop)” for performance.
But is hip hop is becoming more electronic, or is electronic music becoming more, ahem, “hip hoppy?” Niether. Both genres are becoming more like the other. That’s what makes it so interesting. Two different styles are both moving toward the same sound. A popular electro song can become a rap beat, like in the case of Kanye West’s “Stronger”. Or a rap song can be sampled and turned into something more danceable, like the MSTRKRFT remix we just posted about.
Listen to the Wiz Khalifa track below. It uses that old Alice DeeJay song “Better Off Alone” as the basis for a rap beat. Then listen to an old Bloody Beetroots song that uses Public Enemy vocals. The rap-electro synthesis can happen both ways. As always, leave any thoughts or comments you have.