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Back to The Future, Rap

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

Classic Hip Hop Rap is Making a Comeback

Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, 2Pac, Biggie…These are just some of the many names that come to mind when you think of ‘Classic’ or ‘Old School Rap’. The Old School rap sound is encompassed by effective rapping techniques, real drum beats, real instruments and authentic lyrics, something that still shines in the Underground Hip Hip scene Today.

In the book, How to Rap by Paul Edwards, Immortal Technique revealed this about lyric creation, “"hip-hop was born in an era of social turmoil... in the same way that slaves used to sing songs on a plantation... that's the party songs that we used to have."

Nowadays, artists are beginning to embrace the nostalgia that comes with Classic Hip Hop Rap. More and more artists are revisiting the classic elements and fusing them with their own modern twist.

For example, THREE17 is one artist who has a Classic Hip Hop Rap vibe with his track, WAIT UNTIL i DIE (produced by ThatKidGreen). THREE17 starts the track with a simple drum beat that sounds like it’s coming from a true drummer as opposed to a machine. Then, there’s a conversation between two people with a megaphone sound effect that is reflective of old school hip hop—specifically Public Enemy’s track, “By the Time I Get to Arizona.” THREE17 continues to rap over the beat and synthesizer in a clear, clean and flowing manner.

Another Underground Hip Hop artist that embraces classic vibes is JARVIS WATERFALL with his hit, “El Camino”. The song starts with a chant that is similar to that of Tupac and Biggie’s track, “Where Brooklyn At”.

The song is accompanied by a tight, clean and real drum beat and a heavy bassline. JARVIS WATERFALL then lights up the track with his nonchalant and smooth flow which complements the hardness of the musical accompaniment.

Lastly, you can hear "boom bap" influences in the VA Streetz track, “OLD GUN”. It has all of the elements of old school rap—tough vocals, simple and pronounced authentic drum beat, a record spin sound effect and deep, heavy electronic bass. “OLD GUN” sounds like a modern version of a Wu-Tang Clan song, which is a very impressive feat to pull off.

All in all, Old School Hip Hop Rap is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s Underground Rap Music. In a time where artists are relying on digital sound effects and auto-tune, it’s refreshing to hear the classic elements that we all love in Classic Hip Hop Rap such as real instruments, a tight drum beat, heavy bass, authentic lyrics and pronounced vocals. Most are hoping old school rap elements are here to stay.


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