In a music scene that's always searching for the next huge fad to fuel record sales, the rap industry has found something worthwhile.
News broke a few weeks ago that hip-hop heartthrob Drake would be collaborating with The xx's Jamie Smith and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine.
Drake has always had a bit of an indie streak in him, having worked with groups such as Lykke Li and Peter Bjorn and John on his career-launching mix tape, “So Far Gone.”
So, while this may not be groundbreaking territory for the former “Degrassi” alum turned rap star, it still poses a very important question: Is the relationship between hip-hop and indie rock the next big thing?
Jay-Z, rap legend and co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, opened up about his thoughts of the future of the indie/hip-hop collaboration.
“Where are we going to go, musically? At the end of the day, are we all going to have one album, everything's going to sound the same? Then people are going to turn away from hip-hop, because that's what happened with rock music when the hair bands invaded and everyone was sounding the same,” said the rap star in a September interview with Fuse.
He continued, “I just was in Brooklyn yesterday watching an indie band, watching Grizzly Bear perform, and they was just destroying things. And I was like, 'This is it. This is what's gonna happen.' 'Cause this was an unannounced show, 12,000 people … This is happening, and the indie rock scene right now is in a great place. I enjoy watching that right now more than hip-hop.”
It’s one thing to talk about the possibility of these things, but it's another thing to actually witness the transformation of hip-hop as we know it.
Justin Vernon, front man/mastermind of Bon Iver, was featured on Kanye West's critically acclaimed “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
While he was featured in just two songs on the album, Vernon revealed in an interview with Pitchfork that in several recording sessions, he had laid down vocals for “at least 10 songs.”
In the past year and a half alone, we find even more instances of the indie-hop craze.
Kid Cudi has worked with MGMT and instrumental electro duo Ratatat on several tracks. Award-winning hip-hop group The Roots hooked up with Monsters of Folk on last year's track “Dear God 2.0.” Lupe Fiasco's newest single “The Show Goes On” samples “Float On” by Modest Mouse.
Evidence of the budding musical union is everywhere.
The potential of this collaboration is immense. The ever-growing legion of conscience-conscious and emotional rappers have the opportunity to combine their smooth, “backpack rap” style with the flow of some of indie's best.
The palette of musical possibilities is nearly endless. As Jay-Z said, “This is it. This is what's gonna happen.”
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