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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The Newsfeed

“My generation feels entitled and is less willing to put in hard work to get the results they want.”—Female, 17, VA

CoverGirl is getting a marketing makeover to impress Millennials. The brand is changing up their slogan for the first time since 1997, with “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Covergirl” getting traded for “I Am What I Make Up.” To go along with the new tagline, an inclusive lineup of new CoverGirls will debut the revamped brand—from 69-year-old Maye Musk to pro motorcycle rider Shelina Moreda. Finally, products will be taking on the Less is More trend with “sleeker, more minimal black and white packaging” and a logo to match—a familiar branding makeover move. (Racked)

Riverdale’s recent premiere pulled impressive ratings, especially among young adults—and the show may have Netflix to thank for it. The Archie-remake grew in popularity by 67% from last winter’s premiere and 140% with women under 35. But it gained the most ground with teens, jumping an impressive 467% from last winter’s premiere, making it the most popular show from The CW among teens since The Vampire Diaries in 2012. The show’s presence on Netflix during the off-season may have helped attract young viewers, allowing them to binge the series and get addicted on their time—The Binge Effect at work. (Vulture)

Essential oils are the latest wellness trend to gain traction, appealing to Millennials’ desire to ease anxiety. The most stressed generation to date is turning to little vials of “something between a perfume and a potion” to calm their minds and remedy simple sicknesses. Companies aren’t missing the opportunity to capitalize on the growing demand. Two major brands, Young Living and doTerra, “have more than three million customers apiece, and a billion dollars in annual sales.” (The New Yorker)

The majority of teachers say that life skills are more important to success today than academics. According to research out of the U.K., more than half of teachers believe so-called “’soft’ skills,” including perseverance, the ability to problem-solve, and communicate effectively are more important than “academic knowledge and technical skills.” Unfortunately, institutions often focus on test scores instead of “social and emotional learning, or character.” The good news is groups are pushing for change and “teaching ‘character’ is taking hold everywhere.” (Quartz)

Throw that “Me, Me, Me Generation” stereotype out the window, because Millennials are probably not any more narcissistic than previous generations. (Sorry, Time Magazine.) A report published in Psychological Science compared students from a ‘90s study with students in the 2000s and 2010s and found that today’s youth are “at best” equally as self-involved as young people of the past, and may actually be less narcissistic. The professor who led the study reports, “The kids are all right. There never was a narcissism epidemic, despite what has been claimed.” (Uproxx)

“My love of video games and knowledge of technology and streaming naturally eased me into the world of esports.”—Female, 23, FL

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