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: “Whether I want to draw, paint, read, study, or dance, influences the kind of music I listen to.”—Female, 25, GA

Brands  are increasingly using emojis within their messaging—and for good reason. A new survey from mobile app engagement provider Appboy found that 39% of U.K. and U.S. mobile phone users 14 and up view brands that use emojis as fun, and 13% found them more relatable. Only 12% of respondents refer to emojis as childish, and 11% as inappropriate, and younger mobile users were even more likely to see emoji use as a positive than older users. Between June 2015 and June 2016, the number of messages brands sent that contained emojis increased by 461%. (eMarketer)

Musical.ly has attracted 70 million users of mostly teen, tweens, and kids within two years—so what makes the app that allows users to record 15-second music videos so successful? For starters, it’s a gateway to social media. Young “musers” who aren’t old enough for Facebook and Instagram are getting the opportunity to showcase their talents, and accumulate likes and followers within a platform that encourages viewers to “say something nice” in comments. (Kidscreen

Food Network is giving YouTube sensation Hannah Hart a show to cook up more young viewers. Hart’s YouTube series My Drunk Kitchen, gives a comic take on cooking, and earned her 2.5 million subscribers with whom she has “tremendous rapport and engagement.” On her Food Network show, she’ll be travelling the U.S. learning about the local foods, and dining out on a budget “determined by the city’s average dining price.” The series will also include digital content of behind-the-scenes footage and vlogs. Millennials have shown “they love digital content and they love food,” and have helped “the food vertical [reach] explosive heights online.” (StreamDaily

Giant food manufacturer Mondelēz International recently teamed up with Fox Networks Group to strategize ads that will be more appealing to the ad-skipping generation. According to the brand, “We don’t deserve consumers’ attention. We have to earn it,” so they plan to decrease “consumer time with commercials, and [increase] the impact.” As young consumers have become “less tolerant of traditional ads,” brands have begun experimenting with digital marketing that lets viewers choose what ads to watch, and Fox is working to serve up ads that are more customized to individuals watching based on what brands they already know about. (Variety

The new generation of employees are seeking out side hustles. A report from FlexJobs revealed that one third of Millennials would like to have part time work along with freelancing on the side. The number one reason: necessity. According to Student Loan Hero, a 2016 graduate has an average of $37,172 in student debt, so it’s not surprising that Millennials are looking for additional income outside of their 9-to-5 jobs. Need for income has also limited them in terms of pursuing their true passions and finding their purpose, which can be fulfilled by an outside role or project. (ForbesCNBC)  

Quote of the Day: “Political correctness is voicing your beliefs but not at the expense of other's identities.”—Female, 15, NY

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