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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Quote of the Day: “I don't drink on a typical night, but my choice when I do have a drink is often red wine.”

—Female, 34, FL

13 Reasons Why, the Netflix series about a teen girl’s suicide, has some mental health professionals worried. While some applaud the show for increasing awareness about teen suicide, others fear the series could act as suicide contagion, increasing the risk of an individual engaging in copycat behavior. School districts across the U.S. are sending letters to parents to discuss the show and red flags to watch for in teens’ behavior, while counsellors are having conversations with students and patients. The National Association of School Psychologists has recommended that at-risk youth shouldn’t watch the series, and cautions adults to help teens differentiate “between a TV drama and real life.” (CNN)

U.K. Millennials consider themselves ‘grown up’ at age 27, according to a recent survey by Nationwide Current Accounts. With shifting paradigms surrounding adulthood, Millennials are defining maturity differently, and over half surveyed feel like entrance to adulthood depends on particular milestones rather than age. One in five believe they’re mature when they have children and another one in five when they move out of their parent’s home. Interestingly, Ypulse’s Adulting trend found that paying their own bills is the top sign of adulthood for Millennials in the U.S. (Telegraph)

Millennial shoppers are re-defining retail by purchasing on mobile, returning at higher rates, and ‘showrooming’—selecting clothes in-store then purchasing online—as a part of their “normal” purchasing process.  According to Criteo, as more clothing is purchased online, retailers can expect larger cart sizes at checkout, and return rates as high as 30-50%—which could create an opportunity to get young shoppers back into stores. Successful retailers are ““moving seamlessly between” online and off by covering return shipping costs or allowing in-store returns, innovating their online experiences, and keeping a high volume of product available in both spaces. (MediaPost)

Mexican wine country is becoming a top travel destination for Millennials. Cheaper, artsier, and arguably more authentic than Napa or Sonoma, Valle de Guadelupe is quickly accruing acclaim with twenty and thirtysomethings, who Ypulse has found love their wine. The small strip of vineyards and restaurants is shifting to suit their needs with food trucks, modern art, and even Uber for wine tours, when just a decade ago, the area didn’t even have the necessary roads to facilitate tourism. One winery owner observes, “What used to happen in this part of the world was that no one had anything to do and now everyone has appointments every hour.” (NYTimes)

The restaurant industry currently employs one third of all working teenagers, thanks to a recent uptick in teen employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teens made up 35% of all restaurant workers in 2016, the highest percentage since 2009. Teen participation in the restaurant industry was above 50% until the Great Recession when it started a steep downward trend, causing staffing challenges across the industry. But it’s too early to know if the recent boost in employment signals a new trend or is just “a temporary blip.” (National Restaurant Association)

Quote of the Day: “If a brand is going to interact with a 'fandom' of any sort, they’d better either A) Know what they're talking about and have someone lead the interactions who is a fan as well, or B) Be honest in a funny way…”

—Female, 21, Virginia

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