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…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Pokémon Go, because it's kinda a big deal for those of us who've been dreaming about it for over a decade.”—Female, 21, NJ 

The hottest new trend at Millennial companies: student loan repayments. In a 2015 Iontuition survey, eight in ten respondents say they would like to work for a company that offers student loan repayment assistance, and about half say they prefer student debt help over 401(k) contributions. The benefit has also been shown to deter employees from job-hopping and instead stay to “reap the entirety” of it. Despite the high interest, only 4% of companies are currently offering such programs—including Aetna, Fidelity Investments, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and SoFi—but a change in legislation that will make the “benefit more favorable from a tax standpoint” may motivate others to follow. (Forbes

Fast casual restaurant Zoës Kitchen sees kids as the “no nugget generation.” The restaurant is debuting an updated kids’ menu that focuses on a variety of nutritious made-from-scratch meals for the “next generation of foodies,” including salmon or shrimp kabobs, ham and cheese piadina made with fresh mozzarella, and an orzo pasta bowl. The President of Zoës Kitchen, who happens to be the father of two young daughters, say that the kids of today “love experiencing new flavors, and gladly choose kabobs and hummus over fries… Ultimately, they crave food that makes them feel good.” (Business Wire

A new documentary is putting six recent graduates in the spotlight as they navigate the startup world in Detroit. Generation Startup, created by an Oscar-winning director, is revealing the “big sacrifices” young entrepreneurs are making “in the hopes of building something new, exciting and, hopefully, financially rewarding.” The graduates are all fellows or alumni for Venture of America, an organization that assists aspiring entrepreneurs, and are faced with challenges that include working 18-hour days, living in uncomfortable environments, and handling disapproval from parents who encourage a more stable career path. (Fast Company

According to a 2016 Bankrate survey, Millennials are great at saving—but that’s mostly because they have to be. About 62% of 18-29-year-olds are saving at least 5% of their income, which has become even more necessary in unreliable workplaces of today. Employers are increasingly hiring temporary employees or independent contractors, and as a result are not offering benefits like health insurance and paid leave. Many Millennials who can save have also been privileged with access to their parents’ financial help, which white children are three more likely to have than black children. (Quartz

Pokémon mania is passing its peak. Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia data have revealed that “Pokémon Go's daily active users, downloads, engagement, and time spent on the app per day are all well off their peaks and on a downward trend,” which many have observed is expected of any app that receives such intense initial attention. In our recent survey on Pokémon Go players we found that more than half consider the game a fad that no will care about a year from now. Google Trends data is also showing declining interest in augmented reality, however the possibilities of the technology shouldn’t be discounted after so many young consumers showed they will embrace it. (Bloomberg

Quote of the Day: “Political correctness is a two-way street of respect and telling the truth.”—Female, 17, WI

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies