Tuesday, June 30, 2015

a barebones introduction to post-rap

post-rap is a microgenre that has existed as a concept for some time since the ever-influential Death Grips released the sonically controversial "Government Plates", the term post-rap has been floating around some music blogs and /mu/. but what does it really mean?

there haven't been any noteworthy releases self-described as something that is the natural extension of rap, and that's because it's hard to define. that hasn't stopped musicians from dipping their toes in the term by releasing experimental and largely independent hip-hop under it.

it's a genre that was quietly born in the midst of the vaporwave scene, and it was hypothesized through the internet on social media sites like 4chan and tumblr. those that identify as post-rap artists span from Russia, to Canada, to New York. because of the nature of its distribution, post-rap spans a very large range of influences. 

the earliest example we could find of self-labeled post-rap was a release by the french-canadian rap collective Dead Obies - specifically VNCE, titled 001.
this album is highly sample-based with a faux vinyl aesthetic layered over it as the Obies rap about the music scene and various feelings surrounding it. nearly the whole album is composed of short instrumental jabs, laced with a sublime glitch and a come-hither surreal vibe. each of the instrumentals are focused, deliberate and many sound like a backing track to a hip-hop album that was missing a voice. for most of these tracks, the lyrics are sparse - and pack a bigger punch because of it. listeners are set in to wallow in the feelings of a myriad of patchwork rap tropes, muddled together with finesse in electronic harmony.

a more recent example following this theme is Ricky Eat Acid's "Mixtape", featuring a plethora of sample-based hip-hop sounds, again manipulating vocals as if they were an instrument.

 like Dead Obies, "Mixtape" follows an aesthetic almost indescribably nostalgic, yet completely new.

Moscow's Moresebya has described their work as "spoken word," "post hip-hop" and "trap." the metamorphosis is a track that is layered - we can hear them using a voice as an instrument, and keeping the beat with some super-relaxed vocals of their own, which also incorporate into 'instrumental' sounds at points.

other examples such as the project "Moody Toddler" (whose entire discog is less than 2 minutes) incorporate noiserap and harsher elements to deliver a chilling and intangible poetic death sentence, more akin to established sounds like Philadelphia musician NAH.

more contemporary "post-rap" musicians exist, such as the west-coast duo Foreign Kompany, who release a strange Ugly Mane-esque satirical seriousness. tracks like "The Bong Song" use atypical trap rap attributes, as well as some more modern electronic influences and arrange it such in a way that is just teetering on the edge of cheesy or commercialized, but transcends these completely. hooks like "I roll up my cigar, hit the gas and I'm gone" beat their statements into your head softly; again, using the voice as a way to deliver instrumental ideas. the whole theme is a breath of fresh air for listeners; but Captaincy in particular doesn't stray too far from an ear used to recent rap.
post-rap is a genre that exists in theory but has yet to been slapped anywhere concrete, posing for a potentially elegant and aggressive introduction into our music scene. its theoretical existence probably explains why the tag has been used by (literally) hundreds of joke releases - but those will muddy in the water.

No comments:

Post a Comment