When you think about hip-hop what is the first thing that comes to mind? For a lot of us it is the great artists of old such as Rakim, KRS-1, Run DMC. For others it might be Gucci mane, Waka Flocka and Lil Wayne. For others still it might be common, talib kweli, Mos Def.
Hip hop in other words is a very broad term. This no doubt can cause problems when using the word as a descriptor. (iE hip-hop encourages violence) It is interesting what happened in the jazz community a few years ago. Trumpeter Nicholas Payton called for the term to be renounced in place of Black American music for which he received backlash.
Just imagine if there were no genre descriptors or that there was just one term. Music. If you thought hip-hop was broad...
So we use genre terms to help further break down what type of music we mean when we talk about music. Nevertheless there are better (and worse) examples of what we think about when we hear the words "hip hop". I prefer to think of these as common, as less common examples. This is where the word alternative comes in. Every genre has artists that call themselves but what does that really mean?
Here are 5 examples of what I would call alternative hip hop:
1) Thavius beck
Travis Beck is a producer/mc out of south central California. Using live production equipment such as abletons push controller Beck brings energy that rocks clubs across the nation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLRwxoezHic
One of my favorite upon discovery, this group aims to push hip hop towards electronic music. A rapper, a film composer, and a noise artist create a sound that's experimental yet still jams in both the club, and casual listening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tFXIy7OWos
3) Ces Cru
This Rap duo is on strange music for good reason. Musically very similar to run the jewels this group chooses to tackle spiritual topics in songs such as meditate, seven chakras, and famished. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vgBqe0WDDo
4) Buffalo Black
Dallas based mc Buffalo Black can be described as an outcast who's always had trouble with authority. Often presenting politically charged messages he brings a match of lyricism and intellect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzk8yxsM6Y0
5) Sidewalk Chalk
The groups arrangement allows them to incorporate numerous styles seamlessly. Adding an element of soul and jazz this group will take you on a musical adventure and drop you off at home. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdp2Rpb5i3I
Some people think it is pretentious to call yourself alternative. What do you think?