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    Top Alternative Rap Artists To Consider

    How Alternative Styles Change The Rap Genre

    Avoiding confinement to one musical genre allows artists to explore more novel ideas in music.  Originating in the 1980s, alternative rap started with artists like De La Sol and A Tribe Called Quest. This style of rap utilizes genres like jazz, rock, funk, and soul to create unique sounds. Alternative rap/hip-hop artists refuse to commit to one generalized style of rap. Alternative rap utilizes vocals and musical instruments while also staying with the traditional rap style. Below is a list of some of the top alternative rap artists and their signature styles. These artists are constantly challenging the rap music genre.

    1. Kid Cudi

    A favorite among many, Kid Cudi or Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, is the alternative rap poster boy. Kid Cudi helped transform the mainstream rap genre by providing us with more groovy and unique hits. Some of Cudi’s hit songs include “Man on The Moon”, “Day ‘n’ Nite”, and “Pursuit of Happiness”.

    2. Childish Gambino

    Similarly Childish Gambino, or Donald Glover, altered the alternative rap game in the early 2000s. His hit song “This is America”, highlights gun violence in America and deals with deep issues of racism.

    3. Common

    Common, or Lonnie Rashid Lynn, is an alternative rapper known for his lyrics focusing on love and spirituality. Some of his top songs are: “Blue Sky”, “The Light”, and “The Corner”.

    4. Mos Def

    Mos Def, or Dante Terrell Smith, is a Grammy-nominated rapper and actor. He is best known for his songs “Ms. Fat Booty”, “Oh No”, and “Respiration”.

    Above all, there’s a reason why these last two artists are extremely successful. Their lyrical composition and attention to detail have earned them recognition. Both Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West may not fully be considered alternatives; however, their unique styles and risks have proved otherwise. What separates these artists from the generalized rap genre is their combination of lyrics and music. Both artists intertwine other musical tones and styles into their songs.

    5. Kendrick Lamar

    Additionally, while Kendrick Lamar is not confined to one rap genre, he is possibly one of the best rappers of all time. What separates Kendrick Lamar from traditional rap is his deep exploration of rarely touched-on themes and styles. Moreover, some of his biggest hits are “Mad City”, “HUMBLE”, “DNA”, and “Money Trees.” The Pulitzer Prize winner continues to transform the rap genre with his lyrical composition and attention to detail. You might consider Lamar to be traditional rap however, his new album “Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers” presents a more melodic tone and illuminating beat.

    6. Kanye West

    Kanye West, widely known to many, is one of the best alternative hip-hop artists. While his creative methods are commonly scrutinized by many, we can all agree that West has transformed the alternative rap genre. With hits like “Runaway”, “Black Skinhead”, “I Am God”, and “Hold My Liquor”. Love him or hate him, Kanye’s success comes from his ability to ignore the haters and stay true to his creative side.

    Which alternative rap artist is your favorite? Are there any other alternative hip-hop artists to add to the list?



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