This week, we're revisiting a theme we explored in ep 43, "New R&B For Old Heads," but this time, we're shifting our focus to hip hop. For almost two decades, people have been claiming that hip hop is dead, but we don't agree. In this episode, we're going to introduce you to some of our favorite current hip hop artists and we'll also discuss how some of the current styles in hip hop can be traced back to a single rapper. Join us as we explore the vibrant and ever-evolving world of hip hop, and discover some new music along the way.
Miguel: This is They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.
Christina: And I'm Christina. We wanted to take a minute to make a small request of all our listeners. If you're listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Goodpods or Podchaser, leave us a five star rating. You can also leave a review as well on Apple, Goodpods and Podchaser. Ratings, and reviews will help us with discoverability. And we want to get this out to as many like-minded folks as we can.
Miguel: We wanna get on the first page of these podcast apps.
Christina: And to move up on the charts as well. So help us get the word out.
Miguel: Make sure to follow and interact with us on social media. We're @troypodcast on the 'gram and the bird. Also check out our website, troypodcast.com. It's where we post links to a lot of the things that we mention in the show, as well as transcripts and themed playlists that supplement our episodes and more.
Christina: Thank you again for your support. You ready to get into the show?
Miguel: Let's do it.
Christina: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. I'm Christina.
Miguel: And I'm Miguel. In episode 43, "New R&B for Old Heads." We talked about current R&B and how the critics are roaming the streets and saying that it's dead. Nas said hip hop "was dead" in 2006. In 2009, Jay-Z declared the "Death of Auto-Tune." Both of 'em were wrong. Hip hop is probably bigger than it's ever been globally, and we just wanted to give our thoughts on the subject and to help some folks if they're looking for some quality music to listen to.
Christina: We're gonna help other people, or shall we say other old heads, find some quality rap to listen to, including myself.
Miguel: Exactly. We're just trying to help out those who are looking for some good music to listen to. I think we should just get started.
Miguel: Okay. So current hip hop versus what we grew up listening to. What do you think the differences are between today's music versus what we grew up on?
Christina: Well, we've talked about this a million times already with the loss of regionality that the popular, uh, maybe not necessarily even popular, but just the, the music tends to sound a little bit more the same, in general.
Miguel: Yeah. For me, I think it's just this style and the production is the biggest thing. We grew up on a lot of sampling, but now the stuff that was sampled when we were listening to it, we're listening to the samples of the samples now.
Miguel: So, that's weird.
Christina: Yeah, I was just thinking that now we're so old that they're sampling our sampled music.
Miguel: Yeah, and because our samples were of like live instrumentation, it doesn't feel the same to me because now it's being sampled digitally. If that makes sense. Like, you're not sampling a live band, you're not sampling The J.B.'s or The Jackson 5 or Parliament-Funkadelic. But you're sampling Dr. Dre or Timbaland.
Christina: Right. I think it goes back to kind of what we were saying about the R&B stuff too, is it's like, it's more aesthetics almost? Where there's a lot of like, lo-fi hip hop for studying, you know what I mean? Like, these sounds that just like, they feel nice. Like, they don't sound bad, but they just kind of feel nice and you could just have it on in the background or it's just music for your TikTok's and, you know what I'm saying?
Christina: Does that make sense? Am I rambling?
Miguel: So, what do you think about like, lyrically, how is it different or do you even see a difference?
Christina: So lyrically, I don't know if I can comment on that because the way I've listened to music has also changed. Whereas when I was younger, I had an abundance of time. And so, I would literally just lay in bed and just listen to music. And at most maybe, you know, paint my nails or something. But now music is just sort of always on the background and so, I just don't listen to lyrics as much as I used to. Like, I don't not hear it at all, but I don't listen to it intentionally enough to really comment on it.
Christina: And of course you always remember all the dumb stuff, so, I think it's easy to be like, ah, all they do is talk about nothing. But even just, doing research for this episode, I was listening to the Larry, one of Larry June's albums on the treadmill today. And I thought I'd be able to focus on it, but since I was running on the treadmill, I was like looking at the time and doing intervals and counting and stuff. So, even then I wasn't completely paying attention to the lyrics. I heard it enough to be like, okay, this, this sounds pretty good. But not enough for me to be like, a real critic on it. So that's my long way of saying, I don't know.
Miguel: Okay. I've read a lot of articles about this and basically the old head issue is, lyrically people aren't the same as they were 20 years ago. I'm not gonna say that's true. I just think there's more variety involved in hip hop today. The only issue that I have is, and I mentioned this when we did the R&B episode, I hate when I can't understand what somebody is saying.
Christina: Yes. That's what I have on my list too, in terms of the critique is, mumble rap.
Miguel: Yeah. I wouldn't even say it's mumble rap. It's just everything is slurred. It's kind of like people are rapping chopped and screwed, but it's not chopped and screwed.
Christina: It's not chopped—It's not—
Miguel: That's actually how people are rapping these days or attempting to rap slash sing or whatever it is.
Christina: Is this the italics version of rap?
Miguel: I would think so. I think it is, but there are a lot of newer artists, and we're gonna talk about some of them in a bit that don't do that. And they kind of feel like they came out in the '90s or the early 2000s, and that's something that hopefully the people who are listening to this will enjoy.
Christina: I wonder if this sort of slurring or, or, you know, less enunciation is also because of the, the blurring of the lines with the singing and the auto tune?
Miguel: I believe so.
Christina: Because I mean, the rappers we grew up listening to would be sing song-y too, but there wasn't that excessive use of autotune.
Christina: So, I think when you think about how autotune singing sounds, it is kind of all mixed together a little bit more than regular singing.
Miguel: I think that stems from basically, one person.
Christina: Lil Wayne.
Miguel: Lil Wayne. There are basically two parts to his career. I'll say everything before 2008 when he released Tha Carter 3. It's just straight up, I'm rapping. He went from "Wobbly, wobbly, drop it like it's hot" to one of the greatest rappers of all time in like a, I'd say a 10 year period. And then after that, he just started experimenting with different styles and whatnot.
Miguel: He would do the auto tune, he would sing really badly. He would do rock records. Everything about him and what we knew about him basically changed. He became this skateboarding rockstar with long dreadlocs and just eclectic music when he wasn't that before.
Miguel: And I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but you can draw a line from pretty much every rapper that's out today, that's pretty popular, directly to Lil Wayne.
Christina: I didn't even realize how huge his influence was until you sent me that XXL article about his influence. And I was like, reading and I'm like, that's true.
Christina: That's true. That's true. I guess because I myself was never really a big fan of his, that I kind of just, didn't pay attention. Like, I obviously knew who he was. I knew some songs or whatever, but I didn't really follow his career to really notice. But, as it was laid out for me, I'm like, this is all true. I did not realize this, that he's a HUGE influence in why rap sounds the way it does today. And it probably makes sense as to why I don't like a lot of quote unquote popular rap today. Because if I wasn't really a huge fan of his, why would I like his offspring?
Christina: So, that kind of all clicked for me.
Miguel: Yeah. I was a fan of Lil Wayne. I think he can rap his ass off. It's just when he does get into this little eclectic things that he likes to do, that's where it kind of falls apart from me.
Miguel: Because he's not a great singer. So, that's why he kind of covers it up with the autotune.
Miguel: But again, he's not a great singer, so even the autotune doesn't fix that. So, people who are our age are like, ugh, I don't need to hear that. Because when this album came out, "Lollipop" was the first single.
Miguel: The second single was "A Milli," two completely different songs. I was all over "A Milli." Really don't care much for "Lollipop."
Miguel: And that's how it's been for me, when it comes to Lil Wayne, ever since then. I pretty much like half of the stuff that he does as opposed to liking everything that came out previously to that.
Christina: Yeah. 'Cause I was trying to figure out what it was about the sing song-y style that I didn't like, 'cause I was like, but I listen to rappers who do sing song-y stuff and I think it's just the, it's more of the excessive autotune. 'Cause, I mean, I've listened to rappers sing badly. It doesn't bother me at all, but it's something about the autotune that I just don't like.
Christina: It's just not, it doesn't work for me.
Miguel: And like I said, you can draw a straight line from Lil Wayne to like, a Lil Uzi Vert or Travis Scott or Post Malone and Lil Nas X, and we're not even talking about the ones who came immediately after like, Drake and Future and Kendrick Lamar. You can tell they're obviously like, fans of Lil Wayne, but the next level down are the ones who were like, 8, 9, 10 years old when Lil Wayne was at his peak.
Christina: Actually, that's a good time for me to bring in this Uproxx article I was reading.
Christina: And we kind of talked about this in our episode with Queue Points. Um, remember when we were asking them when did they fall in love with hip hop? And we were all telling our stories and we were all around like 10 to 12 years old, right?
Christina: So I'm reading this Uproxx article, that talks about a story that was published in the New York Times, just trying to figure out why old people don't like young people music. Long story short, Spotify, um, was using some demographic data to, to figure this out and it seemed that the stuff that you liked when you were 14, is what kind of sets the bar for, for what you continue to like.
Miguel: Yeah, that makes sense.
Christina: 'Cause they use, "Creep" by Radiohead as an example. And it said it was the 164th most popular song among men who are now 38 years old. So, they would've been 14 years old in 93 when it was the top radio hit. And I mean, that tracks because think of all this stuff—I mean, there's stuff we liked when we were a little bit younger and a little bit older, but around that age range pretty much informs everything we like now.
Miguel: And if you're a young kid seeing Lil Wayne on TV with tattoos all over his body.
Christina: And face.
Miguel: He's got tattoos on his face. He's got the, the long hair. He's riding skateboards—
Miguel: And attempting to play guitar. This is all, all stuff that you're gonna be into.
Miguel: As a young kid, and you're gonna grow up and that's why you see somebody who looks like a Trippie Redd. He's basically—
Christina: Lil Uzi Vert.
Miguel: Lil Uzi Vert. Even Post Malone.
Miguel: Like, these could literally be Lil Wayne's children.
Miguel: We know he has a lot of kids . Can't confirm if any of these are his or not.
Christina: And that's probably why, again, you know, when the old generation versus the young generation is like, we're always like, we didn't do that when we were kids. You know, like, because that's probably why, again, rap sounds more experimental and the kids just look different from the, our rappers weighing them big heavy leather coats and chucks and whatnot, right?
Miguel: Exactly. Because these kids who are in their early twenties now, they're not looking at Nas and Jay-Z as their heroes. They're looking at Lil Wayne.
Miguel: They look at Nas and Jay-Z the way that we look at like, Run-DMC. Like, these are our older uncles. We don't really wanna listen to them.
Christina: Like, they're cool but, you know.
Miguel: Yeah. Whereas Lil Wayne is like an older brother.
Christina: Right. Or the cool, younger uncle.
Christina: Are you enjoying this podcast?
Miguel: Hell yeah.
Christina: If you are as much as he is, there's a couple things that you can do. You can feel free to drop some coins into our collection plate at ko-fi.com/troypodcast . And that's "ko-fi" K O dash F I .com. Link is also in the show notes. We're self-funded, so any support would be appreciated. And if you don't have any extra coins to spare, just leave us a 5 star rating or review. Like JLo's love, it won't cost you a thing.
Miguel: You just sitting at home on the couch anyhow.
Christina: Alright, thanks.
Miguel: Back to the show.
Miguel: So, with that said, are there any artists that you were able to look up that are doing something different in that vein, that you actually do like?
Christina: All right, so the newer artists that I gravitate to, have the style of the stuff that I like, but updated. There are, you know, the occasional songs here and there that has the newer, this quote unquote newer style that I like. But again, they're just sort of like, catchy pop hits basically. So, I don't know if that counts as new, if they're just giving a refresh of the old sound.
Christina: I mean, it is new 'cause it doesn't sound like it's old music, but it's definitely old head friendly. There were some artists I found on my own and some artists that I looked up from the list you gave me and I didn't look at their background at all. I just wanted to hear the music.
Christina: And not surprisingly, all the people that I liked cited their influences as the old head rappers that we like.
Christina: Like, their influences would be Big L, Nas, Jay-Z, DMX, Foxy Brown, Lil' Kim. So, it was like, oh, of course I like these guys.
Christina: They either cite these people as their literal influences, or they work with people like Alchemist—
Christina: Or they're the children of Ras Kass.
Christina: Or, you know what I'm saying? So, it's just like, I don't know if they're doing anything new other than keeping that sound fresh.
Miguel: Well, you gave a couple names. Would you like to list them off? Because you said the, the, the children of Ras Kass, but what's the name of the group?
Christina: So, the children of Ras Kass would be one half of Coast Contra. The twins with, um, you know, I'm sleepy if I can't remember, uh—
Miguel: Teedra Moses.
Christina: Uh, my, one of my favorite R&B singers ever. Teedra Moses' name . Yeah. So, they have twins and then there's two other guys in the group. I listened to their Apt. 505 album and thoroughly enjoyed it. The last third or so was when it started to kind of go off for me, but overall it was pretty good.
Christina: There's your girl, Lola Brooke.
Miguel: Yes. You know, that's my favorite.
Christina: So, I mean, I think both of us first kind of thought Foxy Brown-esque when we first heard her, and Lil' Kim, but she also just reminds me of like, the '90s Brooklyn, New York rappers in general, not just the necessarily— like I feel DMX energy in her.
Miguel: Yeah. She is very New York.
Christina: Yeah. So, Lola, um, Cordae which I just, I mean, I've known about him for a while, but I just started listening to him yesterday.
Miguel: Oh man.
Christina: But, again, after I looked up his bio, he said his dad introduced him to Rakim, Nas, Big L, et cetera, et cetera. And then he started researching these artists to learn more about them. So, um…Larry June, I really like. I just found out about Armani Caesar too, which you've been telling me to listen to Griselda forever because I'm big into—
Miguel: That's what you're into.
Miguel: Like, that's your lane.
Christina: Yeah. So, I don't know why I just never got around to it. So, when I heard her, I'm like, this feels like, very 90s Wu-Tang, Nas, dirty New York.
Christina: Rainy, cold kind of music.
Miguel: Like, all the stuff that you're into.
Christina: Yeah. And for like, party music, I like Saweetie and Latto. They got a lot of like, really like, fun, I'm out with my girls kind of music. They can both, I would say Latto tries to do a little rappity, rap a little bit more than Saweetie, but Saweetie did mention that she's trying to like, hone her craft a little bit more.
Christina: But, I like them for like, the fun rap and, I feel I'm, I know I'm missing a whole bunch of people because, that's the other thing is, it's overwhelming.
Miguel: Yeah, there's a lot to choose from.
Miguel: Unlike when we were growing up.
Christina: Uh huh.
Miguel: there were maybe 30 rappers total that were releasing music.
Christina: 'Cause that just reminds me of a conversation we were having the other day when Rakim came out and you said you didn't know any better. All this time you're listening to "Don't push me." And then Rakim comes out with this sort of casual flow and your mind was blown.
Christina: Because you had what, like, five rap groups to choose from?
Miguel: Yeah. And he was completely different and he was just putting words together in a way that we had never heard before and it's like, oh my God, this shit is amazing. But, yeah, I, I agree with that list that you were talking about. There are a few that I would like to add to that as well.
Christina: Do it.
Miguel: One is this cat from Detroit named Sada Baby. Now you know me. I have a lot of guilty pleasures when it comes to music. So, I like Suga Free. I like 2 Live Crew. And this is coming from somebody who says on this podcast all the time that I love lyricism. I love great production.
Miguel: Sometimes I just like fun shit too. And Sada Baby is one 'em.
Christina: Well, we were introduced to him by him getting resurrected in the back of an ambulance.
Miguel: Yes. I watched that video again right before we started recording.
Christina: Uh huh.
Miguel: And it just makes you want to dance when he's talking about like, doing drive-bys and shit. So, I would recommend that if you do listen to Sada Baby, watch the videos first. Because that makes you get it more than just listening to it. It, it's a hard listen if you're just jumping into the music, but the visuals make it all come together 'cause he likes to dance with his shirt off and he's like really skinny, but he's got a gut and I just think it's funny. I think he's funny. And the music, he's always making you want to dance, even though he's talking about horrible shit.
Christina: You tend to like that too, though.
Miguel: I do. I like foolishness.
Christina: Well, you like foolishness that is on top of stuff that you shouldn't be dancing to.
Miguel: Exactly. So, this is right up my alley. Also, I like this cat from the Bay Area named Symba. He's somebody that just can rap his ass off. I would recommend watching his Funk Flex freestyle and the freestyle he did with the LA Leakers before listening to his album because he's just amazing. I like Cordae, like you said. I mentioned in one of the episodes that we did that I really didn't want to give him a chance when he first came out because he had that YBN attached to his name.
Miguel: And I'm like, YBN Cordae, I'm not gonna listen to this.
Christina: And is part of the whole YBN…this and that crew
Miguel: Yeah, so, I stumbled across some, one of his songs and I was like, you know what? This is actually really fucking good.
Miguel: And that's when I went back and listened to the album. And the album was good as well. So, I've been listening to him ever since, though. We're looking at three, four years now.
Christina: Yeah. Has that much time passed already?
Miguel: Yeah, time is—
Christina: And I finally listened to it yesterday,
Miguel: Time is ticking.
Christina: 'Cause you've been telling me about him.
Christina: And I just—you know what? Like I was saying, it's so overwhelming 'cause even when I was doing this, I would see them doing features with other people.
Christina: I'm like, ooh, let me look at that. Let me look at that. And I, I just like, uh, let me just put on something familiar.
Miguel: There's someone from the UK, that I liked awhile back and I had listened to some of her stuff before, but it was brought back to my mind when we did the episode with Queue Points. Little Simz. It's the music that you say you wanna play in this mythical coffee shop that we have.
Christina: Our hip hop coffee shop slash workspace.
Miguel: And it's not a bad thing. Like, she's definitely not Lola Brooke, but she's not boring either. But, she's gonna give you some good, consistent music. And until today, because I don't think I ever really saw her face, I've only ever listened to the music. She's Sherry from Top Boy. Dushane's girlfriend.
Miguel: I never knew that until today.
Christina: So, Top Boy just has like, a bunch of rapper/actors?
Miguel: Basically. They are full of UK rappers.
Christina: Oooh, that's what we should do. Get more into some UK rappers.
Miguel: You know what? Let's do it.
Christina: Because there's a handful I like that are, you know, a little more established, but I'm sure there are other ones we could dive into.
Miguel: That's, that's all I wanted to say about that.
Christina: All right. So, she's the catalyst for us to dig into UK rappers.
Miguel: Play some Stormzy. And some Kano.
Christina: Yeah. "Where's my peas, bruv?"
Miguel: Stormzy and Kano.
Christina: And, um, Dushane, what's his rap name? He has some—
Miguel: I don't remember.
Christina: I forgot. Yeah, there's this UK um, Peloton instructor that I used to ride to all the time. So, she introduced me to some more UK rap.
Miguel: Okay. We can pull it up from there. And out of all of the newer artists that I've listened to, my favorite is this group outta LA called Villain Park because they remind me of like, Tha Alkaholiks or Kausion. It's two guys, they have a DJ. Uh, in their early days they had like, two other people, but they kind of fell off as well. But they sound like their music came out in 1998.
Miguel: Which is a good thing. That's, it's not a bad thing at all. And I'm like, how are these 22 year olds making this kind of music? And then I find out one of the guys in the group, his brother was in People Under The Stairs and it's like, okay, that makes sense. Your brother is Double K and he's feeding you all of this information and you're taking it in and this is what's coming back out.
Christina: I just thought of something.
Christina: Okay, so, a lot of these newer rappers that we're talking about, that is making similar music to what we grew up with are like really young.
Miguel: They are.
Christina: They're like, early twenties.
Christina: That's because their parents are US.
Christina: Whereas the, the ones that are, you know, a little older, like 10 years older, their parents were the ones listening to Run-DMC and stuff.
Christina: And they, they ain't making that music.
Christina: Like, that music's too old to be resurrected, I think.
Miguel: So, that's why I think the music that we grew up with is starting to come back around now.
Miguel: Because those kids grew up listening to their parents' music.
Christina: Yep. They were, eight to 12 years old listening—
Christina: To Wu-Tang because mom or dad was playing it.
Miguel: Yeah. They're cleaning up the kitchen listening to, you know, some DJ Quik or something.
Miguel: So, what are your thoughts on the current state of hip hop?
Christina: Well, I think it's a lot easier to be a curmudgeon and just be like, rawr. And I think with the advent of streaming, it's just easier to stay in your bubble too.
Christina: But after diving into this and just listening to a lot of stuff. Like, there were already artists that I knew of and listened to. I will admit that I do listen to a lot of singles these days, but doing this and diving into albums and even discovering more artists, I don't think it's dead.
Miguel: No, not at all.
Christina: And maybe, and maybe this is a good time for me to dive into it because as we said, our metaphorical children are now making the music that they grew up listening to, which is basically our music.
Christina: So, I jumped in right when it was coming back around. Because there's this, um, Lola Brooke song called "On My Mind," like, she sounds like Foxy. And there's an SWV sample in it. Like, how is this not kind of made for me?
Christina: But like, made for a, from a 20-something year old at the same time. So…
Miguel: So, that's right up your alley.
Miguel: And just like with the clothes, '90s fashions and styles are coming back around as well. You see it in the way that these kids are dressing, the baggy clothes are coming back.
Christina: It's all of our, our clothes.
Miguel: Yeah. Everything that I threw away 15 years ago, I see people wearing on Instagram now, so…
Christina: Yep. And I'm jumping right back into it myself. You see how many bike shorts I have.
Miguel: Exactly. Exactly.
So is there anything else you want to say before we leave? Are there any acts that you want to suggest people listen to?
Christina: I think the best thing is just to check out our playlist that we're gonna make because I know I'm forgetting people—
Christina: And we'll probably think of more after this. And that's it, really. And just keep an open mind or…I mean, is my mind open if I'm just basically listening to the same music? Take some time to explore. How about that?
Miguel: Yeah, there are things for you to listen to. We're gonna give you a good start, and then when you get to the end of the playlist, just look at the bottom and see related artists or you will like this and things like that, and move forth from there.
Miguel: That's all I have, so I think we can wrap this one up. It was short and sweet. We got in.
Christina: It was.
Miguel: And got out.
Christina: For once.
Miguel: Yeah. Not a three hour episode. That gets edited down to an hour.
Miguel: On that—
Christina: Is this too short?
Miguel: I don't think so. I think this is the sweet spot.
Miguel: On that note, we are going to get out of here. Thank you for listening again. Make sure to follow us on social media at @troypodcast, on the 'gram and the bird. You can go to troypodcast.com, that's where you'll find the playlists and all of the things that we talked about in this episode. Go to teethang.com if you wanna buy some merch.
Christina: Yes, we'll be adding some T.R.O.Y. specific merch soon hopefully, so… But there's a bunch of stuff there right now.
Miguel: Yeah, we have other things, so feel free to jump in on that. That's teethang.com. T-E-E-T-H-A-N-G .com
Miguel: And that's pretty much it. We'll be talking to you guys again in two weeks.
Christina: You got the "itis" and you ready to go?
Christina: Never record a podcast after dinner.
Miguel: Exactly. Do it before. You need that motivation.
Christina: All right.