In the beautiful life we are a part of, everything comes and goes. It is just one of life’s consistencies. What is not consistent is how long it lasts.
So lets look at hip-hop’s life span. The Souljia boys and Lil Twists are no longer here. The gimmicks don’t last. What will happen when a whole current sub-genre is based off of gimmick? Face tattoos, colored hair, and crooning vocals dominate the highest trending niche of hip-hop right now – mumble rap. That is not to say that is necessarily a bad or good thing either. It simply is what it is.
Hip-hop has fortunately expanded to reach such a wide audience that there is a plethora of sub-genres. It is also worth noting that with a genre as young as hip-hop, we are seeing the artists of the early 2000’s maintain relevance and sell upwards of 200,000 units as their audience grows with them (i.e. Kanye West, Jay Z, Eminem.)
We can’t say for sure but since the new wave in hip-hop is such a strong contrast to what we have been hearing, it may just be a fad. And a fad is specifically defined as something that is short-lived but within all waves and popularity there must lie some talent. You know, an outlier from the rest of the pack that make this schtick a wave instead of a gimmick.
Trippie Redd is that outlier of the mumble rap fad. Don’t get me wrong; there may be other artists that fight through being a trend or a stereotype. When you look at musical versatility, he is the most likely to re-brand as hip hop evolves to a different sound. He makes his money off his high-pitched croon, but he can also rap.
Not to Jay-Z or Em levels, but no one is rapping like that in the mumble rap crew anyways. I’m just saying…the potential to switch it up enough can keep him alive when the auto-tuners eventually and inevitably get kicked out the industry. He has the ability to travel across genres.
In his last album, LIFE’S A TRIP, Trippie Redd toyed with a wide ranged of melodies, beats, and subject matter. Bangers like “Dark Knight Dummo”, bar-driven tracks like “Missing My Idols,” and mellow cuts like “Forever Ever” showcase his versatility. It speaks a lot when the Travis Scotts, Dilpos, and Young Thugs of the world collaborate with you.
I have always believed that an established artist’s consistent willingness to collaborate with you should be seen as the number one trick to guess an up and comer’s longevity. It is the utmost compliment to a rising talent.
Ironically, another thing that sets Trippie Redd apart is his lack of a public persona – the only trait that seems to matter now. Tekashi 69’s personality doesn’t need any explanation and even Lil Uzi and Yachty find their way into the headlines. Trippie Redd is no hermit like Frank Ocean but his demeanor does incline me to believe he is a new artist that is more focused on music like a Juice WRLD.
Even if mumble rap is here to stay, it will become even more of a niche as the new wave comes in because some people simply don’t have the taste for it. It is hard to pass as genuine hip-hop and often times, whether I enjoyed a mumble rap song or not, it just doesn’t give me that feeling I get from whom I deem ‘real rappers.’
Some artists are able to maintain relevance during stylistic transition. For example, Travis Scott came on the scene and was put on by Kanye and T.I., but able to have continued to embrace youth culture as well leading to a platinum-selling album.
As the late XXXTENTACION’s collaborator and friend, Trippie Redd is a creative leader for this punk rap generation. At only 19 years of age, there is not much criticism of his talent. It ultimately comes down to a distaste for the overall genre and the peers he is associated with.
I get it. Some music just isn’t for everyone. I would love to think talent stays and I can appreciate talent in all forms. Someone like Joyner Lucas is a great rapper. Trippie Redd is a great creator. Both can be true. Here is to hoping all young hip-hop can flourish.