Has music ever been as hype as it is right now? I am not speaking of hype as a term that necessarily refers to the quality of the current music scene, but rather, as a term which refers to the particular qualities present in the current music. In particular, I am speaking of energy and the amount of energy that is transferred from the music to its listener. In current music trends and the overall spectrum of music at the moment, there seems to be a peculiar focus on aggressive amounts of high energy, and the melody-focused side of the hip-hop genre exists as the perfect example to hear it. The trends that are currently flooding hip-hop primarily by way of Atlanta and Toronto are boiling over with a tremendous amount of passion, angst, and emotion. Instead of addressing these feelings simply in a lyrically charged manner, many artists are opting to tackle them with production, instrumentation, and lyrically out-of-focus vocal techniques. Hard-hitting cadences, heavy bass lines, triplets, and experimental production have made hip-hop the playground for the angsty, hype youth of the current music industry.
Artists across music and especially within the new era of hip-hop seem to all be striving to create the next party anthem, the next banger. And as a result, the scene is oversaturated with hype songs and the artists that specialize in their production. It’s not just those artists labeled SoundCloud rappers spreading the hype. As hip-hop continues to change, the styling of triplet cadences and melody-focused final products has resulted in the mainstream music scene reflecting the sounds of artists like Migos, Future, and Young Thug. And as some artists have gone that route, another side of the hip-hop spectrum prefers a slow, dark, menacing cadence to spread high energy, hype vibes through with the low-fi direction. Artists like Travis Scott, SAINt JHN, Night Lovell, and K. Forest are leading the charge. Everywhere you look, new music seems to be made as the soundtrack promoting a rowdy night out, the party scene, and the embrace of questionable decision-making. Honestly, there is something to love about it.
One of the exciting, young artists to love excelling in the wave of high-energy, slow cadence, hype music, is British rapper and singer IAMDDB. Her sound, best described as a hybrid of trap-soul with sultry jazz-infused vocals, is mesmerizing, her ability to distance herself from artists with a similar flow is uncanny, and her true strength seems to lie in her ability to align her vocals and production in a way that bleeds energy and inspires hype situations. She is the kind of artist that gets her listeners uncontrollably bobbing their heads on the metro when her tracks are blasting their way through the headphones. She’s the type of artist whose music takes the night from a relaxed evening with friends and white wine to a night maxing out credit cards on bottles in the VIP section of the club. She’s the kind of artist that accelerates heartbeats, influences bold decision-making, and never fails to get her audience moving. IAMDDB is the definition of hype, and at the same she time has the range of talent necessary to create slower, mellower music fitting of an entirely different array of situations. Her 2017 album, Hoodrich Vol. 3, is a journey through her vast ability and her different styles. Though she has become most well known for her cadence and styling represented on hype tracks like Shade, G.A.F., and Ooo, the project is also dotted with moments of relaxed vibes heard on songs like More and Trophy. In a world filled to the brim with hype artists, IAMDDB’s ability to calm it down to a different vibe comes as a much-needed breath of fresh air and a refreshing display of multi-dimensional talent.
If there’s one artist with the ability to keep pace with IAMDDB’s multi-dimensional skills ranging from the ultimate high energy to some sort of relaxed, mellow hype, it’s got to be Travis Scott. Scott has quickly become the king of the off-kilter, the emperor of energy, and the undefeated heavyweight champion of the angsty, emotion-ridden hype hop movement. He almost doesn’t seem like a real person anymore, but rather some sort of demi-god who can do no wrong, which is most impressive because he truly does it all. Production, instrumentation, vocals, lyrics, bars – there is no aspect of his musicianship that he doesn’t see to personally. He does it all with an unstoppable experimental approach, resulting in music beyond our time. He is largely responsible for the breakneck speeds seen in the pace of hip-hop’s ever changing landscape, and because of this, is one of the most influential artists alive. His music is a living definition of the low-fi vibes that producers in the current scene are aiming for. A perfectly unique drum sequence always sets the stage for a bizarre collection of experimental instrumentation. Whether keys, a guitar, or his own auto-tuned voice, Travis Scott’s melodies are always unique and often ground zero for hip-hop’s most progressive trends. His versatility lands him in the driver’s seat or behind the scenes of many of today’s most powerful and hype tracks.
But, like IAMDDB, Travis Scott’s supreme talent gifts him the ability to create music within more mellow vibes as well and that is where the true strength of their collaboration comes into play. They could release a full-length project working with one another that would easily surpass the quality of Scott’s recently disappointing joint album with Quavo. And that’s because Travis Scott wouldn’t be forced to hold back like he did with the Migos front man. IAMDDB’s skillset is sharper and her range wider than that of Quavo and she would have no problem holding her own against the unmistakable vibes by way of a brutal experimentalist like Travis Scott. They both come with a unique styling and a distinctly wide range of talents that would allow them to flow together harmoniously. Travis Scott’s production is certainly fitting of IAMDDB’s sound and her style is strong enough to not only avoid drowning beneath the power of Scott, but also hype enough to create forceful waves of her own. Lastly, a joint project between the two would be multi-dimensional – not simply a 45-minute hype fest, but something deeper and stronger that could come to lay another row on the constantly expanding foundation of future hype hop.