Everyone has one. That one musical genre that just makes you want to burst your own eardrums when you hear it. But whether it be Folk, Hip-Hop, Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Indie or Electro, by dismissing an entire style of music you stand to cheat yourself out of some astounding music.
There’s no denying that, save for a handful of songs, Hip-Hop has nose-dived, or at least dipped in standard since the pinnacle of 1990’s East-Coast West-Coast feuding. So if watching 50 Cent grab his crotch and mumble through a list of bitches he’s fucked and who he’s been shooting/shot by isn’t your thing, know that this isn’t true Hip-Hop.
Nas’ 1994 Album Illmatic landed like a bombshell, gaining wide and consistent critical acclaim for it’s tight, soulful backing (see album highlight It Ain’t Hard to Tell) and smooth, flowing and occasionally dark lyricism (see: “I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death” from N.Y. State of Mind). Also, Dr Dre’s 2001 still stands out as a genuine classic. Much imitated and never bested, Dre’s immaculate production and sharp lyrical delivery make tracks like Still D.R.E. and The Watcher such exciting, influential pieces of innovation.
Whilst Dubstep may have been gaining momentum ever since it’s birth in the mid 90’s from the ashes of UK Garage, there is still some resistance to it’s perceived simplicity. But Dubstep is a genre deeper than the dull wob-wob-wob that many assume it is limited to. Dubstep contains tracks influenced by everything and anything. Whether it’s the soulful, jittery 2-step sound of TRG or scene pioneers Horsepower Productions, the immaculate production of Breakage, the throbbing sub-bass of loefah, the digital, fuzzy console-esque sounds of Joker or the driving, gritty tones of Skream, each producer brings his own elements and deepens the genre so that, as cliched as it, there is something for everyone.
If for you the word ‘Folk’ conjures up the image of a tatty bearded men whining and bristling about tedious causes, it’s time for a refresher course. Folk has had a re-birth over the past few years, with swathes of fresh faced yet world-weary singer-songwriters birthing some sort of nu-folk insurgency. Songstresses Emmy The Great and Laura Marling have both released material to enthusiastic critical reception, the former most notably taking The Pixies’ classic Where Is My Mind and making it her own, and the latter being nominated alongside Radiohead in the 2008 Mercury Music Prize competition for her sublime, haunting album Alas I cannot Swim. Johnny Flynn, Noah and The Whale and Mumford and Sons have been making a case for a folk rebirth with their rag-tag bands of harmonious fiddles, rattling ukuleles and lilting harmonies.
Drum & Bass
Often wrongly considered to be brainless and repetitive, Drum & Bass is a genre littered with variety and virtuosic producers. Ranging from the soul-infused, reggae-influenced rattle of Shy-FX’s seminal album Diary of a Digital Soundboy, the frantic, hammering bass-driven jump-up of TC or the deep, atmospheric liquid of Makoto, Drum & Bass is a style that is often misunderstood. Crash Bang Wallop, the latest album from Hospital Record’s Logistics demonstrated that their was life in the genre yet, as tracks like Transporter and Eastern Promise weave twinkling pianos and mournful vocals with machine gun drumming and pulsing bass, showcasing a sound deeper than most would associate with the name Drum & Bass.
Feeling more open minded? Then you’ll enjoy this. 22 Tracks , run by a handful of talented and respected Dutch DJ’s who constantly update 22 play lists of 22 different genres with the freshest tracks of their respective styles. Not only is the website an indispensable tool for staying on top of new music, but allows you to explore the biggest new tracks in genres you aren’t as familiar with. Seriously, close your worn out playlist and just stick 22 Tracks on shuffle – Dutch Hip-Hop?
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