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Why EDM producers are increasingly crossing over to hip-hop

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Written by: Matt Lillywhite

Throughout the past few years, it has become undeniable that hip-hop and EDM are fusing together to create hybrid tracks of the two genres. With the likes of Tiësto teaming up with Post Malone, this movement within culture hasn’t gone unnoticed. Therefore in this article, we’re going to discuss why more EDM producers are looking to collaborate with hip-hop artists in a bid to become culturally relevant.

People such as Dr Dre & Kanye West are entrepreneurs who a lot of people within younger generations tend to look up to. With Kanye West’s Yeezy’s often selling for several hundred dollars, and Beats By Dre selling for over $1 billion to technology giant Apple, rap artists certainly have intriguing methods of stamping their mark on culture. But due to a recent shift in the way that authority figures within the entertainment industry are perceived, entrepreneurs such as West & Dre have soared to the upper tiers of business.

During the 80s and 90s, it was extremely hard to be accepted within the rap industry unless you were from “the hood”. Most notably, Compton and parts of Atlanta were areas in which rap music tended to thrive. But as time went on, society, in general, became a lot more accepting as we learned to embrace cultural diversity within a neighbourhood or city. Now in stark contrast to the pre-2000’s, there is a wide acceptance within the rap music industry of pretty much everybody: black, white, rich, poor or from a foreign land.

Take Logic for example – he’s a geeky looking white dude with glasses who is now considered one of the greatest rappers of our generation. 20-30 years ago, he would have been laughed at. The point of this explanation is to show that by collaborating with notable figures within the rap scene, producers are able to gain a totally new demographic within their fanbase due to the cultural diversity of rap listeners.

If you open the Spotify charts, it will become quickly apparent that the majority of it is taken up by artists within the rap and RnB scene. After all, this tends to be the genre of music that gains a lot of cultural relevance due to the lyrics. As an example, Childish Gambino released a song titled “This Is America”. With over 240 million views to date, the video features provocative footage of the rapper using weapons to gun down a church choir whilst dancing.

The central message of the song states that violence in America is a problem. On the one hand, we enjoy it as part of entertainment, whilst in contrast, many people are trying to control the use of guns. Due to the multiple shootings that took place in America recently, Childish Gambino used this song as a way to social commentate on the issues facing society – thus making him extremely relevant within culture.

In this instance, many people within EDM (and other genres) are wanting to collaborate with rappers so that they can socially commentate on cultural issues – something that is hard to do within traditional dance music.

As previously mentioned, many EDM producers are crossing over into the rap scene in order to help establish their name as culturally relevant within the eyes of the mainstream audience. Here are a few examples of recent tracks that have proved this method to be extremely successful:

With over 500 million total Spotify plays, Gucci Mane has become a name synonymous within the top charts. Having collaborated with Migos on “I Got The Bag”, he has now worked alongside the likes of Felix Jaehn and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike to help establish his name within dance music, and their names within the rap scene.

Dominating the charts and blogs throughout the internet, Tiësto’s collaboration with Post Malone has blurred the typical lines of genres and thus transgressed into a totally new boundary of music. With over 3 billion collective Spotify streams, it’s certainly regarded as one of the best collaborations within the entire music industry.

Despite the two genres fusing together sounding absolutely brilliant, there are also important impacts on the general rules of society. With (typically) white DJ’s, and (typically) African-American hip-hop artists, the racial cooperation between the two genres would have been considered totally unprecedented just 20-30 years ago due to racism and other factors of society during that period. What was previously thought culturally impossible by millions is now revitalizing the entire music industry.

Despite EDM now featuring a lot of rap artists, hip-hop is also incorporating elements of EDM into the genre. For example, Kanye West sampled Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” in order to create one of his most successful hits to date. Using the chorus and general instrumentation, West uses the vocoded voices from the French Duo to give an electronic feel to an energy-driven rap song.

Whether you are a fan of rap music or not, it is undeniable that rap and EDM are able to compliment each other beautifully from a music creation and cultural viewpoint. With the right collaborations and lyrics, it is certainly enjoyable to see the two genres transgressing boundaries to create a new breed of music.



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