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: “When I’m deciding where to eat for an occasion, I like to pick somewhere different that sounds interesting.” –Male, 31, PA

Now that YouTube celebrities’ influence is rivaling many Hollywood stars’ sway, more brands are partnering up with online video stars to reach a new, larger audience. These collaborations leave traditional advertisements behind, instead asking creators to put their own spin on the brand while still entertaining viewers. Lionsgate gave several popular creators free reign to create original fan videos for the Hunger Games: Mockingjay release, while Proactiv enlisted beauty blogger Eva Gutowski to incorporate the product into a “goofy relatable DIY video.” (Adweek)

The heavy emphasis on STEM education in recent years may have caused schools to neglect social studies’ subjects. According to federal test scores released this week, eighth-graders’ 2014 U.S. history, geography, and civics scores improved only 1% or saw no change compared to the 2010 test results. The National Council for the Social Studies points out, “STEM is not going to do any good if we don’t have the glue of social studies to make responsible citizens.” (Wall Street Journal)

Do you like green eggs and ham? Netflix is hoping you do, and is turning the beloved Dr. Seuss classic to a 13-episode animated series. The brand appropriately announced the show, produced by Ellen DeGeneres, via rhyme, including the lines: “You can stream it on a phone. You can stream it on your own.” The “richly animated production” could appeal to the current generation of parents, who reportedly like and watch the same movies and TV as their kids. (Adweek)

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It’s never been easy to have children, but many Millennial parents today are “expected to do more with less.” According to recent data the post recession period “has been especially hard on young parents” and as many as 23% have been in poverty since 2009. Childcare and education have also become more expensive than when Boomers were raising families. However, there is good news. These parents are better educated than previous generations: 56% have had at least some time in college, compared to 43% in 1995. (Washington PostWall Street Journal

Curious about Millennials’ spending habits? Find out exactly how much they're spending and what they’re buying with our tracked data trends that have all the stats, thanks to our monthly survey of 1000 13-32-year-old Millennials nationwide. Our Silver and Gold subscribers get access to regularly updated charts following average daily spend and items purchased, with spending broken out by age and gender. (Ypulse)

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