Today, popular hip-hop has taken a bit of a turn from its roots as a type of ‘party music’ to something a hell of a lot more sad. Now, while I don’t exactly get how this happened since most mainstream hip-hop fans aren’t exactly the type to want to have to think about the more depressing aspects of life, I think it’s just come time that we get to see history repeat itself once again.
Growing up, pretty much strictly, only listening to pop-punk music, there’s a certain nostalgia that comes with these new artists like Juice Wrld, Uzi, and even Lil Peep. It’s the nostalgia that consumed my middle and high school years spent listening to blink-182, Simple Plan, New Found Glory, and whatnot for about 18 hours of the day, every day.
But, I guess it does actually make a little bit of sense, because it’s not like 13-year-old me could relate to any of the girl problems that Saves the Day or Mxpx were talking about, but it didn’t really matter. The songs were damn catchy and I don’t mean “catchy” in the way that ‘Ice Ice Baby’ was “catchy.” I mean ‘catchy’ in the way where you feel both relieved and accomplished after singing along to every word on your favorite Sum 41 song. These long-strung, fast paced hooks and verses consumed the entirety of the songs that when you finished singing along you wanted to give yourself a pat on the back for knowing all of it while feeling a certain psychological (and even physiological) relief come over you because of the unmatchable, catchable melody that you seemed to be able to hang onto like a rollercoaster.
For the most part, hip-hop started with pretty straight forward verses when it came to melody. To use the rollercoaster analogy again, these were more like those wooden rollercoasters which are sick, but they’re pretty intense and just aren’t the same as those smooth gliding coasters. Not to say there wasn’t anymelody in hip hop, because there always has been. However, most of the time it wouldn’t present itself until the chorus. But, with pop-punk, it was like the whole song was just one giant chorus that you could sing along to forever. Now enter our new wave of 2010’s hip-hop.
While most hip hop artists these days have pretty much added that catchy, endless melody throughout the entirety of their songs. There’s another sub class of hip-hop artists that take a more pop-punk influenced approach. A lot of the artists that fall in this category like Uzi, Juice Wrld, 6 Dogs, Lil Peep, and even XXXtentacion to name a few.
While blink-182, Green Day, and more were dominating TRL every day, it’s definitely been a long time since then and so many things have changed in our culture since then. So, what do you do when our current culture is no longer interested in power chords, aggressive drums, and distortion? You take all the good parts from then and put in the mix of 808’s, trap drums, and the bounciness that encapsulates the best parts of hip hop. It’s the best of both worlds. You get those catchy sing-along melodies without having to wait for the chorus to hear it.
Considering that MTV is no longer the heavy hitting influencer it was years ago, guys like Tom DeLonge, Deryck Whibley, and Billie Joe Armstrong are no longer our pop culture’s icons like they once were. Meaning, that someone’s gotta step in and fill those shoes. Unfortunately, no one cares or wants to idolize an angsty teen complaining about girls and life if he’s holding a guitar and doesn’t use autotune. They just want all the angst, but in the most modern format. Again, not a bad thing. The most important part of life, both personally and in the greater scheme of the universe and the earth, is evolution. It’s like the great Muhammad Ali said: “If you think the same way you did when you were 20 as you do when you’re 50, then you’ve wasted 30 years of your life.” Everyone and everything must evolve and change in order to continue its growth as a flourishing thing. If it doesn’t, then we become stagnant both as individuals and as a species. So, for all you pop-punk fans out there who are bummed about not seeing the What’s My Age Again music video on repeat on TRL every day, just realize that this is only natural, and we can still be happy to see the more evolved version of pop-punk in the hip-hop that’s thriving right now. And for all you hip-hop fans who think that these artists are redefining everything in hip-hop, just keep in mind that pop-punk did it first.