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Thread: Progressive Rap / Hip-Hop

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    Default Progressive Rap / Hip-Hop

    Hi,

    Lately I've wondered if there is such a thing as "Progressive Hip-Hop", as there is Progressive Rock.

    What I mean is Rap/Hip-Hop with long and intricate song structures, complex harmonic progressions and complex time signatures / rhythms.

    Are there any such artists you can recommend?

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    It so happens that there IS a subgenre called Progressive Rap or Progressive Hip Hop, but the "progressive" part seems more reflective of the complexity and depth of the lyrics.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_rap

    Evidently it can include other aspects of the production: "Productions in the genre often take on avant-garde approaches and wide-ranging influences, such as jazz, rock, and soul, having included the works of De La Soul, Fugees, Outkast, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar. The music of such acts, especially in the 21st century, has impacted the mainstream sensibilities of hip hop while countering racist stereotypes prevalent in Western popular culture."

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    Generally complexity in hip-hop will either be in highly unusual production techniques, or via poetic techniques (including things like rhyme schemes, and the depth of the lyrics itself).

    Hip-hop is a descendent of a dance music scene, and for obvious reasons, this type of music tends not to favor heavy shifts in time signature or tempo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fbjim View Post
    Generally complexity in hip-hop will either be in highly unusual production techniques, or via poetic techniques (including things like rhyme schemes, and the depth of the lyrics itself).

    Hip-hop is a descendent of a dance music scene, and for obvious reasons, this type of music tends not to favor heavy shifts in time signature or tempo.
    I'm aware of hip-hops origins but I don't think musicians are obliged to strictly stick to their roots. I thought there may be more creative artists who try to expand the musical language.
    After all Jazz and Rock'nRoll also used to be dance music.

    In my opinion rap has much more potential than what most artists actually do.
    Last edited by chipia; Sep-09-2021 at 13:20.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipia View Post
    What I mean is Rap/Hip-Hop with long and intricate song structures, complex harmonic progressions and complex time signatures / rhythms.
    Be careful with trying to map "progressive" features derived from classical music onto hip-hop. Rap songs rarely feature "complex harmonic progressions," but that doesn't mean they aren't progressive in other ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by chipia View Post
    In my opinion rap has much more potential than what most artists actually do.
    Bold claim. I don't know how familiar you are with hip-hop, but judging from your posts you seem relatively new to it. Someone who is equally new to classical music - perhaps they've heard only a symphony or two - might feel similarly (that the genre has more potential than composers tend to exploit in their music). It would be interesting to see if your thoughts on this change as you get to know the genre better. My guess/hope is that they will.

    But to answer you question, the late MF Doom is often jokingly referred to as "your favorite rapper's favorite rapper." You might want to start with him, specifically the albums Madvillainy and Mm.. Food.
    Last edited by Portamento; Sep-09-2021 at 20:52.

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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Dalek




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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Also some jazz crossover

    Roy Hargrove and Erykah Badu


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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Agree that some of the criteria - complex harmonic progressions and complex time signatures / rhythms - are bogus

    Hip hop came from Funk - and like funk it is inherently polyrhythmic

    If you have a complex groove - like classic James Brown, how is, say a 5/4 time signature more complex? Is clave a 'complex time signature'? Meter is not an African rhythmic concept, there is a cycle of beats that forms an underlying structure for a polyrhythm

    you also dont have functional harmony, its groove and vamps with often complex textures so not sure why the criteria of 'complex harmonic progressions' makes sense

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post

    you also dont have functional harmony, its groove and vamps with often complex textures so not sure why the criteria of 'complex harmonic progressions' makes sense
    But why does music have to stay the same? Can't it evolve forwards? Rock was originally also about simple 3-chord progressions, but that didn't prevent later bands like the beatles from making more involved harmonies, not to mention prog rock and jazz-rock

    Also I wouldn't call most hiphop grooves "complex" given that they are most of the time just repeated without much change.
    Last edited by chipia; Oct-02-2021 at 19:35.

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    Senior Member Simon Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipia View Post
    But why does music have to stay the same? Can't it evolve forwards? Rock was originally also about simple 3-chord progressions, but that didn't prevent later bands like the beatles from making more involved harmonies, not to mention prog rock and jazz-rock

    Also I wouldn't call most hiphop grooves "complex" given that they are most of the time just repeated without much change.
    Seems to me, if rap or hip hop took on too many of the attributes that make up prog, it may make it unrecognizable as rap of hip hop.

    But then, I guess the same things can be said about some subgenres of prog, like quite a bit of avant-prog sounds more similar to contemporary classical ensembles, than any sort of rock, to me.

    But then, there is, jazz pianist Andrew Milne (part of the "M-Base collective" school of jazz), and his group, Dapp Theory. His stuff tends to be pretty complex, with rap like vocals. Not being a rap fan, I am in no place to know if this would be considered rap or not.

    Either way, this band is loaded with incredible musicians.




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