Hip-Hop And Pop Music: Comparisons, Similarities And The Future?

Hip Hop music is a genre which is characterized by percussion accompanied with vocal rhythms and a prominent rhyme scheme. ‘Pop’ is a word which is derived from ‘Popular’. It’s rather a political genre and has often been advocated as to which kind of music does it encompass. Usually, Pop music is more up-tempo and features lyrics which are palatable to a layman.

Music has originated from being just a soothing noise to an actual way of life. The millennials relate themselves to the various genres such as Hip hop, Emo, Punk, Rock and Pop. If one starts tracing the roots of these genres, he will come to the realization that all these are related derivatives. It is only now, in 2017, after tremendous sonic and technological advancements that one can differentiate one genre from the other.

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However, every now and then, there comes a track which gets classified as Pop due to it’s mass appeal. This results in the debates between the core fans and the common folks. It is impossible to answer which listener is right and which listener isn’t? The core fans defend their artist’s creative integrity and the layman classifies the artist as any other Pop star which are stereotyped for their lyrics which make the true fans cringe.

Hip-Hop music or nore prominently hip-hop culture started way back in the 1970s in the form of DJ’s hosting block parties in the streets of Bronx, New York. It was these parties which birthed the development of graffiti, rapping, DJ-ing and B-boying. They helped in neutralizing the hate between rival gangs. As a genre, Hip-Hop witnesses a heavy influence of instruments such as drums, synthesizers, bass and turntables usually in a 4/4 time signature. When Hip-Hop started, it consisted of lyrics talking about various social issues prevalent in the society.

This is still a very important aspect of hip hop culture and lyricists such as Kendrick Lamar, KXNG Crooked and J.Cole still use music as a tool for making a social impact. However, the most recent trend in hip hop culture is Mumble and it could possibly be one of the unnecessary bridges between Hip-Hop and pop music. If you grew up listening to 90’s Hip-Hop music, then you and me are probably in the same boat. Mumble is the sub-genre in which artists mumble incoherent, absolute garbage for an entire album destroying Rap as a genre and Hip-Hop on the whole.

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The term “Pop Song” was first used in 1930’s in order to categorize music “Having a Popular Appeal”. Pop is perhaps a genre in which the classification is not done on the basis of the technical aspects but on the social relevance. The good part is that it accommodates a wide scope of musical influences. Pop music is influenced by genres such as soft rock, alternative, classical, jazz and rock. The corporate labels demand Pop music as it is commercially accepted and appeals to the younger generation easily.

Q-Tip rapped, “Rap is not pop/ If you call it that, then stop” on “Check The Rhime” from their 1991 album “The Low End Theory“. Tip was dismissing MC Hammer, who’d achieved massive crossover success by steering hip-hop toward the pop mainstream in especially corny fashion. This is one of the earliest examples that there was an uncompromising notion of “Real hip-hop” which must remain separate from pop. Mainstream titans such as Drake also now have a few pop records such as ‘One dance’, ‘Hotline bling’ which make them a soft target by various rappers.

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Linkin Park has been facing some harsh criticism for its new track ‘Heavy’ featuring Illinois singer Kiiara, some fans are saying the title of the track is misleading and that the track is anything but heavy. Machine Gun Kelly has also become a common name on the Pop charts and a lot of his music now has a very mainstream appeal, which is being loved by a lot of people but has left the original MGK fans disappointed.

In India, Badshah and Raftaar balance their sound by giving mainstream flavoured hip hop music for the movie and also dropping proper bar fiestas from time to time. Our underground artists such as such as Yawar from Artistaan, Emiway from Bombay also drops commercial music every now and then which gets mixed reactions, more positive than negative.

As an artist, I can understand why someone would want to drop a commercially successful track. His attempt is to capture as many listeners as possible so that he has an audience to cater for before the next track. As far as I know, it is very difficult to find the perfect balance between mainstream sound and underground music to become a well-rounded musician.

The one who figures it out is the one who sits on the throne.-