How Music Got Its Edge Back: Indie Meets Rap

Hip-Hop and rap are experiencing a strong resurgence of late (don’t call it a comeback!). After years of indie rock and pop ruling the airwaves, young people are looking for a new sound to call their own, branching out into electronic and rediscovering rap.At SXSW this year, fans could catch shows from heavy hitters including Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Wiz Kalifa, as well as lesser-known acts.Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are headlining Coachella this summer.

The meshing of the indie and rap scenes is having an interesting effect on music. Taking a cue from indie bands, newer acts like Azealia Banks are creating a new sound that could almost be called “Indie Rap.” The Harlem-native’s songs are most definitely “R-rated” and fierce, but instead of rhyming about “thug life,” she raps about urban life, making her badass, but also relatable. It’s that cross-over potential that brings both rap fans and indie fans to her shows.

Urban music needed an infusion of edge to recapture the attention of young people. Hip-hop legends like Jay-Z and Kanye have gone mainstream, getting wider airplay and gaining older fans (while simultaneously cleaning up their style, rapping less about illegal activities and more about luxury lifestyle). Young music fans were looking for something to call their own — music their parents wouldn’t listen to but that they could still relate to. It’s the same reason they’re straying away from the indie genre: hipsters and soccer moms aren’t supposed to like the same music.

In the same vein as acts like Odd Future, Azealia Banks is making her mark by being irreverent and very NSFW, simultaneously alienating older audiences and intriguing young Millennials. The video for her biggest hit so far, “212,” has been viewed more than 7.5 million times, but contains so many naughty…

 
 

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—Male, 29 VA

Over half of Millennials believe “money can buy happiness.” Fifty-three percent of 22-39-year-olds believe the more money you have, the happier you are, compared to 38% of Americans overall, according to Mintel. The research also shows Millennials are optimists: a little over half are confident in their financial futures, although nearly a third consider paying off credit card bills their greatest financial challenge. Considering the Ypulse financial tracker shows 59% of 18-34-year-olds have debt, we’re not surprised. (MediaPost)

Mickey Mouse Club is coming back for a new generation, and they know just where to find them: social media. Disney announced at Vidcon that the new rendition of the variety show will be released in snackable snippets on social media only. The show will search for future stars with little to no social followings, but big, undiscovered talents, such as choreography and songwriting. Disney is winning out with Millennials and this nostalgic hit should be right on brand; you can see it at the end of August on the Oh My Disney Facebook channel. (THR)

Summer camp costs more than ever before, and some parents are paying big bucks for their children to rough it. Sleepaway camps cost an average of $768 a week, up from $397 in 2005, for often less-than-luxe accommodations. Affluent parents who want their kids to “just be normal” are sending them to camps that can cost $20,000 for basic room and board that “smells a little mildewy,” where kids do their own laundry, clean their rooms, have roommates, and engage in typical camp activities—macaroni art, anyone? (MarketWatch)

Taco Bell has built brand love and a loyal fan following across digital. Their record-breaking giant taco head Snapchat lenswas just the beginning of their successful social marketing strategy, which involves treating each platform differently. The latest example is their YouTube series, Taco Tales, which includes 40 pieces of long-form content catered to their fans. They’ve accrued 10.5 million Facebook fans, 1.85 million Twitter followers, and 60,000 YouTube subscribers with their “wacky,” authentic brand voice in an effort to not just people-please, but to be themselves—which may be why they’re one of young adults’ favorite fast food restaurants.

(The Drum)

More evidence that Millennials still love analog books: They’re the most likely generation to use public libraries, according to a Pew Research Report. More than half of 18-35-year-olds have frequented a public library in the last twelve months, compared to 45% of Gen X, 43% of Boomers, and 36% of Silents. University libraries were specifically not counted, so being college-aged isn’t giving them any advantage, either. The finding goes hand in hand with Ypulse data that shows reading is 13-34-year-olds’ biggest hobby. 

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