Evolution of Mumble Rap Argumentative Essay

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Hip-hop was introduced to the world in the 1970s with DJ Kool Herc. It was a movement that changed music culture forever. Starting off in the Bronx, New York, hip-hop can now be listened to globally. It is one of the most popular forms of music and the genre tops all of the music charts. A main aspect of hip-hop in its early years was DJing and spinning mixes at block parties, like DJ Kool Herc did. It grew with the emphasis it put on lyrical rhyming, rapping and many other elements that have made hip hop what it is today. Not only did hip-hop change the music industry forever, but it changed society as a whole. It became its own culture, with hip-hop bringing new trends, fashion, and introduced a new language and way of talking and telling stories.

As the music industry is continuously changing as does hip-hop in order to adapt with the times and with trends. Hip-hop has developed many great artists such as Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Notorious BIG, Tupac Shakur, Kendrick Lamar and many more. As time has passed, hip-hop has been more commonly referred to as rap, and its artists have focused a lot of their music on stylistic rapping and intricate rhymes to flow with their music. Many lyrical rappers have been recognized as some of the best rappers of all time because of their poetic rhymes and flow. Yet, in recent years there has been a decrease in lyrical rapping and the introduction of “mumble rap.”

Mumble rap focuses less on poetic rhymes, and rather their songs are catchy in the music played and how the artists make themselves sound. While mumble rap has generated many fans, many disagree that its artists are true hip-hop artists because their style is incomprehensible and lazy. While hip-hop and rap have mainly been known for its artists’ talented lyricism in songs throughout the decades, in more recent decades, the evolution of mumble rap has been thought to destroy lyricism and hip-hop altogether. But rather, mumble rap has done the opposite by adding new styles and techniques to a growing genre.

Mumble rap is a subset genre of rap and hip-hop that uses unorthodox vocal inflections and rhymes in songs. Mumble rap has many different definitions based on the interpretations of people in society. In Katy Iandoli’s article, “The Rise of ‘Mumble Rap’: Did Lyricism Take a Hit in 2016?” she notes that Wiz Khalifa first coined the phrase in 2016. He spoke upon the lyrical style of mumble rap and how their rhymes are too simple. It has also been defined as the way rappers literally mumble when they rap, and no one understands what they’re saying. Another definition of mumble rap refers to the lyrics and how repetitive they are in rapping about women, sex, money, drugs, and alcohol.

While there is no clear-cut definition of mumble rap, it can be considered a mixture of all these definitions. It’s a style of rapping that has increasingly become more popular in more recent years. Stacy-Ann Ellis, in her article “Let’s Ask Ourselves, Is Mumble Rap Really A Thing?” states, “Mumble rap is undoubtedly the proverbial thorn in the side of hip-hop purists.” Ellis is pointing out how hip-hop “purists” are completely against mumble rap because it doesn’t coincide with previous rap styles and lyricism. Many want to keep hip-hop the same with no variation, however, what these “purists” forget is that change is necessary. Mumble rap, whether a phase or a new style to remain, will help hip-hop and rap styles change for the better in the future. It will fuel further inspiration for future artists and is already doing so for current artists.

Although many have deemed the beginning of mumble rap to have started in 2011, with Future’s “Tony Montana,” according to Stacy-Ann Ellis, mumble rap has ties dating back to the 90s. One of the main disputes against mumble rap is that many cannot understand it due to the artists “mumbling” or due to their unintelligible lyrics. However, this isn’t the first-time audiences felt this way towards hip-hop artists. Kathy Iandoli acknowledges in her article that “incomprehensible” lyrics have also come from some of hip-hop’s legends.

She states, “Jay-Z’s initial high-speed rhyming style—adopted from his earliest mentor Jaz-O—made him not only hard to understand but was read for filth during an archival dig around Reasonable Doubt’s era and the years that followed.” Jay-Z, whom is definitively considered one of the best rappers, was also criticized for his lyrics because no one at the time understood them. Iandoli also provides examples of other great artists such as Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a member of the Wu Tang Clan and how his lyrics were “ostensibly garbled,” and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, whose lyrics were “a quintet of indescribability.” These criticisms of rappers in the 90s show how inarticulate lyrics are not necessarily just a problem of mumble rap, but rather just a problem that stems from rapping or the rapper itself.

Mumble rappers are typically young artists whom many have claimed don’t put emphasis into their lyrics and have primarily gained their fanbase through social media platforms. Aside from lyrics that no one can understand, this generation of young mumble rappers create lyrics that are considered simple and basic. Some examples of mumble rappers today are the Migos, Lil Yachty, Desiigner, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, Lil Pump, Future and many more.

Almost every rapper today has participated in mumble rap, especially the young up and coming artists. Their rhymes are considered repetitive with the overuse of adlibs. In “Is Mumble Rap the Downfall of Hip-Hop or Are We Deaf to Innovation?” Jake Deven states, “Many will argue that these tracks have no rhymes, no vocabulary, no soul and they repeat the hook over more than half the track with no connection to the elements of the hip-hop culture.” Mumble rap is considered of lesser value than “old school” hip-hop and rap because the lyrics are not as profound and revolutionary.

Adam de Paor-Evans describes old school hip-hop rappers and their lyrics as, “paradigm-shifting, and whose delivery was precise and professionally effortless” in his article, “Mumble Rap: Cultural Laziness or A True Reflection of Contemporary Times.” Yet these artists, whose simple lyrics are demeaning to old school hip-hop, are becoming progressively more popular. Their fan base, consisting mainly of teenagers and young adults, find ways to connect to the music and express themselves in their own ways.

For many mumble rappers today as well, they are able to directly connect to their fans through the use of social media platforms. An article in the Renegade Pharmacist states, “Thanks to the viral nature of platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube, mumble rap stars now have an extremely powerful and cheap method for reaching their fans.” Mumble rappers have an advantage to old school rappers because they can distribute their music in many different ways that benefit both them and the consumers. If these rappers, with no lyrical ability according to many critics, are not attracting fans because of their music, then they are connecting to them through social media where fans can easily gain access to their music and where artists can publicly spread their music and thoughts.

Mumble rap has grown exponentially in popularity in recent years, especially due to the increase in social media presence and music accessibility. In the 90s, trends were mainly spread through TV and radio, but in the past decades, society’s main source of information and trends have come from the internet. With apps of social media, such as Instagram and Twitter, growing, more people are able to communicate with people all over the world.

Social media apps are not the only source of communication though, as people have also found a way to communicate through making music and sharing it on social media or music apps, such as Soundcloud. As these apps are readily available from any computer or smart phone, people are able to find content from anyone anywhere in almost anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. These apps were made for entertainment and are also used for people to spread their creativity, including creating music.

Adam de Paor-Evans in his article, “Mumble Rap: Cultural Laziness or A True Reflection of Contemporary Times” states, “Mumble rap is a negotiation that offers relief from the invisible acceleration of life, yet concurrently praises the disposable production-consumption model that ignites this acceleration in the first place. It is creativity born out of boredom.” Paor-Evans is trying to explain that mumble rap is an escape from the fast speed of life and its creators make it purely out of boredom. This can be seen in the young artists that create mumble rap for fun and post it onto Soundcloud or other music platforms. These artists also use Instagram in order to promote their music to multiple groups of people. By gaining enough of a following, this guarantees that more people will hear and share their music. In order to promote their music, these artists create larger than life personalities to appeal to younger demographics.

An example of this is Miami based rapper Lil Pump. This young artist started his career on Soundcloud and gained more followers to help promote his music by recklessly spending money on designer items, which captivated his impressionable fanbase. He would not have been able to do this effectively without social media or without society’s easy access to music. With developments in technology, mumble rappers have found a way to intertwine their personal brand with their music capabilities.

As mentioned previously, lyrical rap is considered the opposite of mumble rap and is often held under a higher critical regard. Christopher Coplan in his article, “Speaking the Truth: Why Hip-Hop Should Accept Mumble Rap” describes lyrical rap or lyricism as, “using your words to tug at people’s heart strings, fight tyranny and injustice, and change the world through endless positive vibes.”

Lyrical rappers find multiple ways to tell their stories through their rhymes and use an extensive amount of word play. Old school hip-hop embodied this definition of lyrical rap. However, there are many rappers today that use lyrical rap and storytelling such as Kendrick Lamar, Logic, J. Cole and more. Rappers who use more lyrical styles are considered more talented than those who are considered mumble rappers. Yet they both gain equal attention from fanbases and get a lot of radio play and album sales. There are many instances in which mumble rappers’ album sales surpass those of lyrical rappers.

While to some it may seem to be a fact that lyrical rappers are better than mumble rappers, it’s merely an opinion. In Stacy-Ann Ellis’ article, she also states, “Just because a rapper isn’t as lyrical as you’d want them to be doesn’t mean they’re mumbling. Just because a rapper is a lyrical beat or superconscious doesn’t mean they don’t, at times, mumble.” As noted previously, legendary rappers have been criticized for their so called “mumbling” in songs, and current artists face this problem as well. It proves that mumble rap may simply be more connected to lyrical rap than people may believe.

Society has begun to reject mumble rap because they feel as though they can’t relate to the subject matter of the music and are unable to understand the lyrics. A majority of those who disagree with mumble rap and its styles are fans of old school hip-hop and rap. This group of old school fans can also be referred to as hip-hop purists. They feel as though the style of rap that came before is the only style that artists should follow. This is because it’s obvious that this style has worked for years and has made many artists successful. Hip-hop purists believe that mumble rap is disgraceful to the whole genre of hip-hop because it has no meaning or significance on the world today. It is also often considered a dumbed down version of rap. Mumble rappers keep their rhymes simple and tend to use absolute rhymes, in which they rhyme the same word over and over again.

This can be heard in the Migos’ 2013 hit song “Versace” or in a more recent example, Desiigner’s 2016 song “Panda.” Both songs represent what hip-hop purists and other haters of mumble rap dislike about this subgenre. In “Versace” the Migos repeatedly rap the word “Versace” and essentially the whole song is about owning Versace items. In “Panda” Desiigner uses absolute rhymes as well, repeating the word “panda.” In both songs, the artists words are hard to understand, as they both sound like they’re mumbling, and neither of their lyrics have substance to them. This is another aspect of mumble rap that people in society tend to dislike, in that their lyrics do not tell a coherent or meaningful story. Often, these songs talk about wanting designer items, drugs, alcohol and having sex with women.

In the article on The Renegade Pharmacist, it states, “Kids look up to music stars like their heroes. They want to act like them, dress like them, make as much money as them, take drugs like them, and treat women like them.” This is concerning to not only hip-hop purists, but people of society in general because they don’t want their children to be corrupted by these rappers. While hip-hop has always been controversial, especially it’s style of “gangsta rap,” some believe that mumble rap is worse. Many of the songs are degrading towards women and describe lifestyles that are exaggerated and unbalanced. Not only do fans of hip-hop or music in general feel this way towards mumble rap, but some current and past artists have expressed a strong dislike for the subgenre.

Predominant lyrical artists, such as Eminem in his album Kamikaze, have portrayed their distaste for current trending mumble rappers. Eminem is one of the most famous rap artists of all time. He is best known for his ability to rap extremely fast and for his innovative lyrical and rhyming styles. His songs mainly tell the stories of his life growing up in Detroit, and his experiences with his parents, lovers and his life as a father. His music career began in the 90s and he’s still releasing new music today. Most known for his controversial lyricism, Eminem is not afraid to speak his mind freely. His most recent album was released in 2018 and was a surprise drop entitled Kamikaze. In this album, he specifically calls out mumble rappers such as Lil Yachty, Lil Pump and Lil Xan.

While Eminem is known for calling out other rappers, celebrities or even politicians, Mike Wood, in his article “Eminem Calls Out ‘Mumble Rappers’ in his Surprise New Album,” states, “Eminem takes special aim at so-called mumble rap.” This can be heard in Eminem’s first song in the album, “The Ringer.” Aside from the lines in which he calls out mumble rappers, in this line in particular he raps, “I heard your mumblin’ but it’s jumbled in mumbo-jumbo, the era that I’m from will pummel you, that’s what it’s comin’ to.” Eminem, a hip-hop veteran as Wood calls him, wants this generation of mumble rappers to know that they’ll never be good enough compared to the lyrical rappers that came before them, including him.

While this doesn’t necessarily make Eminem a hip-hop purist, he’s still rejecting this new style and subgenre of hip-hop and rap. However, earlier in the song, he states, “I can see why people like Lil Yachty, but not me though, Not even dissin’, it just ain’t for me.” He acknowledges that although he doesn’t like the music, he can understand why people do like them. This growing speculation of the content and characters within the hip-hop genre is figure headed by the legendary rapper. Eminem is just one of many voices that have spoken against the mumble rap movement in rap music and whom believe this subset of the rap genre will not last, due to its lack of messaging or content from these new young artists.

Despite being highly criticized, mumble rap appeals to many people because of its easygoing and playful nature. Mumble rappers are really creative in the way they make their music sound. Not only do they create lively beats that are catchy and easy for people to dance to, but their lyrics are catchy as well. While many criticize mumble rap for its simplicity, its uncomplicated lyrics make it easier for their fans to rap along to their songs. In Ankita Bhanot’s article “Mumble Rap: A Genre or a Joke?” she believes that people are too quick to criticize artists for this new style.

She states, “Some argue that mumble rap isn’t dumbing down audiences, rather it is a response to contemporary audiences that demanding less nuance in the music they’re consuming.” Bhanot is expressing that perhaps not every song needs to carry a strong message or have complicated lyrical rhymes. What makes mumble rap so catchy and easy to listen to is that it’s fun and creative music. Music, overall, is meant to be a fun outlet for artists to express themselves in, and to also help those listening to express themselves freely as well.

Mumble rappers, like the Migos, Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert, get creative with the ways in which they use adlibs throughout their songs and through their use of auto-tune and vocal inflections. They go beyond the normal limits of the genre and people enjoy this because it sounds different every time. In spite of the fact that many critics believe that mumble rappers’ songs don’t have a message or deeper meaning, some of them do. Artists like Future and Playboi Carti, both of whom tend to have very catchy and upbeat songs, occasionally create songs in which they touch on serious topics in their lives such as drug abuse. Mumble rap has the ability to grow and change, especially depending on how creative the artist gets with his or her music.

Cite this paper

Evolution of Mumble Rap Argumentative Essay. (2021, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/evolution-of-mumble-rap/



How did mumble rap start?
It is believed that mumble rap started in the early 2010s with rappers like Lil Wayne and Future.
What rapper started mumble rap?
Lil Wayne is credited with starting the mumble rap subgenre.
Where did mumble rap begin?
Mumble rap is a subgenre of hip hop that emerged in the 2010s. It is characterized by minimalistic, low-quality production and lyrics that focus on drug use, violence, and sexual content.
Who is the king of mumble rap?
Music is used in medical recovery because it can help patients relax and feel more comfortable. It can also help to improve mood and reduce stress.
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