Hip Hop is becoming more ambient

For a genre invented in a park in the Bronx, Hip Hop’s been through a hell of a transition.

Aeron Davies
4 min readFeb 25, 2021

Hip Hop has been through a lot, we’ve seen it evolve from bragging, to hippity hopping, to shouting, to screaming, and of course to mumbling.

But this current state of mumbling in mainstream hip hop is most interesting to me. Not only because it annoys the likes of Joe Budden and Eminem, but also because what it tells us a lot about the genre’s future.

What is mumble rap?

Mumble rap was a term coined to describe the various soundcloud rappers blooming in the early 2010’s, but the term only came into fruition by Wiz Khalifa in 2016 to describe acts like Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Future, and Migos.

The clue is in the name, the sound often includes basic lyrics following themes of wealth, fame, drugs, gang activity and partying. Mix this together with a trap banger and boom! You have yourself a mumble rap song.

What does mumble rap mean to Hip Hop?

You’ll get mixed answers depending who you’re asking this question to. Ask this to a traditional Hip Hop head and he may say ‘They don’t know what real music is’ or ‘they’re ruining what we worked so hard to build’ in an aggressive tone.

But ask this to an open minded hip hop fan and the response will be one of optimism. Hip Hop is just giving the fans what they want, and they want less emphasis on lyricism, more on the ambience/sound of the music.

This may not align with the Hip Hop that we’ve enjoyed for the past 40 years, but we have two options here. Either we let Hip Hop die, or we allow it to take a form that breaks the conventional rules of traditional rap. We should be grateful that the younger generation are still interested in making Hip Hop tracks.

How is the genre becoming more ambient?

Like I said, as lyricism is no longer a huge deal in modern hip hop, we can now understand that the tone of voice, flow and vibe are the foundational features that makes an enjoyable Cloud Rap song.

It’s almost as if everything that needs to be said, has been said. This mentality has allowed for young musicians to make art rather than a vocal statement, and like every form of art, it is subjective.

What can we expect from the future?

With acts like Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert Innovating and further pushing the genre forward to this day, many are left wondering what the state of hip hop will be in the near future.

This ambient style of rap certainly isn’t leaving us anytime soon, which leads me to believe that we may expect more psychedelic instrumentals, off the wall attitudes, and eccentric flows, similar to that of ODB.

As the title suggests, This mumble rap era may stem to create several sub genres that prove to be further and further away from the traditional and conventional rules of Hip Hop and more towards pure instrumental trap with heavily edited vocals.

Final take

Traditionalists of hip hop sure have the right to hate on the music interest of the youth, but they shouldn’t expect any more respect from their part. So rather than showing their disgust of the genre, why not collaborate and help keep hip hop at the top of the charts for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for reading!