Is Mumble Rap Mumbo-Jumbo?

Well known Hip-Hop artist, Nas, has expressed his passion for his genre of music by saying that “Hip-hop is the streets.”

The rapper continued this thought by explaining, “Hip-hop is a couple of elements that it comes from back in the days…that feel of music with urgency that speaks to you.  It speaks to your livelihood and it’s not compromised.  It’s blunt.  It’s raw, straight off the street – from the beat to the voice to the words.” 

Hip-hop has become a genre of music that almost everyone cultivates to. 

Over the recent years, Hip-Hop has taken a turn in which no one truly thought it would.         

This new era has been described as “Mumble Rap.”

It is a type of rap in which the listener is posed with a challenge of strugging to make out the words that sound like marbles coming out of the mouth of the artist.

Most of the popularity mumble rap has accredited is due to catchy phrases or instrumental beats that fans seem to enjoy.

The question that remains, however: is this type of rap and hip-hop here to stay?

Sitting down with Alicia Newton, a junior Music Industry student, she exressed her thoughts on the new genre of music that has taken over the industry. 

Newton said It does not feel like real music.

“If anything,” she explained, “it seems more like music they play in clubs. It has no real meaning, it’s just a beat with someone mumbling over it.” 

When asked what she thought this type of rap would bring for the future of the Hip-Hop industry, Newton said, “I don’t think the music industry as a whole will change because of this but, if this is what is popular now, what is next to come?”

She also stated that it’s more likely these artists are trying to make songs that are catchy, rather than meaningful.

Most artists today will produce songs that fans legitimately have no idea what the artist is saying.

The charts do not lie-- mostwill only listen to a mumbled song because it’s popular.

The overall message that from Newton on this ideal was that there is no real meaning behind these songs that artists such as Kodak Black, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, and others have been notoriously releasing.

Amanda Gangidino, a senior communication student, thinks that mumble rap is a new take on hip-hop that has truly undermined its predecessor’s talent.

She continued, “Mumble rap is just unrecognizable sounds thrown together with a beat and no deeper meaning behind it.” 

Gangidino seemed to be against these “artists” as a whole and the fact they are making millions of dollars to mumble over a beat. 

Additionally, when asked how she thought this type of music would influence the future of hip-hop, Gangidino said, “I think that this genre essentially means that there will be more of an acceptance towards different artist’s style.  The traditional rap structure has drastically changed, in my opinion, not for the better.” 

She then continued to explain that the music industry has drastically changed with styles such as ‘mumble rap’ and auto-tuning.

“Music used to be about utilizing your words to evoke emotion within your audience, not about just a beat with some strange sounds,” Gangidino went on.

“I think that the music industry does not reinforce the need for talent in their audience.” 

The communiucation student seemed to be highly against this music genre and she is left unimpressed and disappointed.

She shared almost identical ideas and opinions that Newton stated earlier. 

They both are visibly against this genre and want any music that becomes popular to have meaning behind it, instead of mumbling over a beat that has no meaning.

Contrasting these student opinions, music industry professor, Joe Rapolla, seemed to be more open-minded about the concept of artists producing “mumble rap.” Rapolla said, “It’s kind of fun and catchy. I know there’s a few differing opinions about it amongst the hip-hop purist, but that happens with any new version of a genre.” 

Rapolla has had the opportunity to work with various artists in a wide range of genres, therefore, he initally nonjudgemental when it comes to any genre or sub-genre of music. 

He also stated, “As always, it’s the fans that decide. If it moves people in a positive way, then it’s doing its job.  Let art be art, and beauty be in the eye of the beholder.” 

Rapolla’s overall message that he was trying to send is that we should be optimistic about this new sub-genre of music. 

It may not be what we have been accustomed to, but the popularity of any genre is based on how fans react. 

In the case of mumble rap,the fans seem to love it, but when digging deeper, perhaps a suggestion from other opinons would to make it more meaningful.

The predecessors of rap and hip-hop such as Tupac, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., A Tribe Called Quest, and many more would most likely be disappointed with what has happened to the genre that they made so popular.

There has been a substantial alteration in the hip-hop and rap genre but, it all comes down to what the fans favor. 

Everyone has their own taste in what they like. 

Whether it is 90s rap, mumble rap, or anything in between, a valuable piece of advice Professor Rapolla conveyed is that audience members should try to stay open-minded about these genres.. 

Ultimately, we have no idea where this type of genre will lead to. As always, we will just have to stay tuned.

For fans that are not fully supportive of mumble rap, all there is to do is hope this trend of music comes to an end, or perhaps becomes more audible, in the near future.