Electro hop is in. With emcees becoming more diverse, leaving the traditionalist hip-hop approach in favor of a bigger, bombastic, ballsy sound, the game is on the precipice of becoming a vending machine of little ringtone pocket universes. With frat rap groups 3OH!3 and confetti gangsta hipsters LMFAO as radio paper weights, and EDM punks Far East Movement riding the airwaves, rap and hip-culture are changing. However, one can argue that among the fluff and pipe dreams, the art of hip-hop is evolving. Just look at these three electro hop stars that are doing it big and changing hip-hop below. These trailblazing artists have made music that has had a profound effect on us. But, how big exactly?
Notable work: Man on the Moon: The End of Day
When the hip-hop head from Cleveland, Ohio made his rounds on Chi-town No.1 emcee Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak after dropping his stellar mixtape A Kid Named Cudi, rap upstart Kid Cudi went solo. Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi’s moniker became a hold name, featuring on the splendid HBO series How To Make It In America, and all because of his comprehensive Man on the Moon: The End of Day. The album, which broke the fresh-faced rap mold and took us into the mind of post-911 young black hipster was astounding. With producers Dot da Genius, Emile, Kanye West, Plain Pat and Ratatat, Mescudi found a niche with his neo-psychedelic trip-hop electro boogie emo-rap and the cool kids found a new rapper to emulate. His spacey, introspective sensibility helped turn a seemingly passing fad into a hip-hop sound worth evolving.
Notable Work: Thank Me Later
Who knew that the kid from Degrassi: The Next Generation would become one of the most celebrated rappers a few years later? After dropping his massive So Far Gone mixtape—an album so jam packed with hits, he could’ve released a greatest hits compilation album—Aubrey Drake Graham took the world by storm and his coveted EP took home Grammy nods. The Toronto wunderkind released his long-awaited first studio album Thank Me Later earlier this summer to excellent critical praise. Spawning club anthems “Find Your Love” and “Over,” it solidified Drake’s hype with berserk, glitchy automation Auto-Tune slow jams and introspective, confession culture trouncing.
Notable Work: 808s & Heartbreak
Egocentric rapper Kanye West has had better albums, each one more ammunition explosive, high-flying flamboyantly electric with a larger-than-life razzle-dazzle than their predecessor. But this one had bite: he lost his mother Donda to cosmetic surgery, he broke from his engagement with fiancée Alexis Phifer, and critics had doubted he could drop a successful follow-up in the wake of the epic Graduation, which added an additional six chart topping hits to his repertoire. This time around he unloaded an epitaph that wallowed in self-deprecation, emotional decadence, the pain of car-crash relationship and divvied an introspective meditation on loss through androgynous Vangelis-inspired sci-fi flourishes and sweeping and synth-pop machine-powered braggadocio. The result: followers, B.o.B., Drake and Kid Cudi.