Compared to other genres, rap is relatively young. We get to watch it morph, evolve and diversify over time.
Over the past decade, we've seen new trends come and go, and we've seen new sub-genres emerge. As we inch closer to a new decade, what will be the defining hip-hop trends of the 2020s?
Here are 10 predictions I'm pretty confident about.
1. VIRTUAL REALITY MUSIC VIDEOS
VR is becoming more advanced. This will lead to virtual reality music videos. Imagine that. You put on a headset and Eminem is just inches in front of you, frantically screaming his angry lyrics directly into your face so vividly you can see the veins in his neck. Miraculous.
2. OFFBEAT RAP
Blueface has made a name for himself by rapping offbeat. If his career continues to explode, get ready for “offbeat rappers.” MC’s with flows that are so absurdly distant from the beat it’s like they’re in different continents. If you thought there were too many white rappers NOW, wait until you see this shit.
3. ANTI-RHYME RAP
Offbeat rap will spawn “anti-rhyme rap,” a new school of rappers who refuse to rhyme. Beat poets who were previously confined to coffeehouse open mics will soon be running rampant on the Billboard 100. Yes, you heard me. Those beret-wearing douchebiscuits who do BEAT POETRY will become mainstream megastars. It will be nothing short of a national emergency.
4. SUBURBAN EMO RAP
Emo rap is already a thing, but we ain’t seen nothin' yet. A lot of young rappers are just as influenced by 2000s pop-punk as they are by 2Pac and Biggie. Emo rap is gonna get even more emo, fellas. I'm talking fingerless black gloves, Hot Topic T-shirts and mixtapes called My Stepdad Doesn’t Understand Me, Vol. 3.
5. RAPPERS WITH “MEDIUM” IN THEIR NAME
There are plenty of rappers with Lil in their name (Lil Wayne, Lil Yachty, Lil Pump etc.) There’s also plenty of rappers with Big in their name (Big Sean, Big Boi, Big K.R.I.T., etc.) We need to mix this shit up. And we will. The 2020s will see a rapid rise in rappers with names like Medium Carl, Medium Bob, and Medium Rare. It’s about damn time.
6. “HEALTHY RAP”
Some trends start as a backlash to past trends. SoundCloud rappers keep promoting Xanax and lean, and this will trigger "Healthy Rap," a group of well-meaning but obnoxious rappers who make music about healthy lifestyles. In 2023, we’re gonna be turning up in the club to trap songs about vegan diets, frequent jogging, and vitamin-infused water.
7. 500 TRACK ALBUMS
In an attempt to get more streams, albums are becoming longer. This will reach the only logical conclusion... Albums with hundreds of tracks. You thought the Rae Srummerd “triple album” was a bit bulky? Wait until Drake drops Scorpion Pt. II: Electric Boogaloo and it’s 527 songs. Break out the Red Bull, this is gonna be a long ass night. Sorry, Yoh.
8. ROCK MUSIC
We are entering a post-genre era. Tons of rappers incorporate rock elements into their music and explicitly dislike being called “rappers.” This will start a new trend in rap called “rock music.” Soon, there will be a whole new school of rappers who exclusively make rock music. It’ll be groundbreaking. We don't even have a word for stars who only make rock music yet.
9. EVERY CITIZEN BEING LEGALLY REQUIRED TO BE A RAPPER
By 2030, it’ll be a felony to not have at least three mixtapes. Every day, there are thousands of new aspiring rappers picking up the mic. By 2026, 81 percent of Earth’s population will be aspiring rappers. And by the end of the decade, you’ll get 25 years in prison if you don’t release a new freestyle every Tuesday. Don’t blame me, blame President Yachty.
10. INCREASING BACKLASH AGAINST DJBOOTH WRITERS
As hip-hop journalism becomes more opinionated, the backlash against publications will continue to grow. Especially against biased sites like DJBooth. Writers like failed comedian Drew Landry, who make a living off of criticizing artists who are more successful and talented than him, will finally pay the price for their shitty articles.