These artists are blurring the lines between the grimiest of hip-hop, and the heaviest of metal.
Rap and metal have always shared a lot of common ground. Both represent a way for people to rebel against society’s norms and have barraged their way into popular culture in the most anti-establishment of ways. It wouldn’t be peculiar for a Slayer fan to enjoy the music of Big L, because the aggression and confidence in taboo are so alike. But it hasn’t been until now, that we’ve seen the sounds and aesthetics intertwine like they do in 2018.
Of course, we’ve had acts like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit delve into the realms of hip-hop, but it was these acts bringing rap into the world of metal; now, it’s the other way around. Screams and yells over 808s, producers sampling Slipknot, it’s more apparent than ever that the boundaries that separated these genres are fading. In an effort to take a deeper look at this phenomenon, we’ve put together five artists that are bridging the gap between hip-hop and metal and would destroy mosh pits all around the world.
Scarlxrd is one of the newer rappers in the Soundcloud scene that has taken the sounds of metal in to the underground realm of rap music. His sound consists of flurrying triplet flows that often maximize into a large, high-pitched scream; which becomes a deadly combination with the growling 808s his production often consists of. His biggest song to date is “Heart Attack”, which is sitting at over 46 million views on Youtube. Scarlxrd is also playing a punk and metal festival called Good Things in Australia at the end of this year; which is a testament to the genre gaps closing in.
Zillakami & Sosmula make up hip-hop group City Morgue, and this year have become one of the biggest acts blending hip-hop and metal. Not only does their sound consist of guitar samples, huge bass-lines and scream-like vocals from both Zillakami and Sosmula, but their videos also use a lot of dark, NSFW imagery in a style that can be compared to acts like Slipknot and Marilyn Manson. Their debut album Hell Or High Water Vol. 1 dropped this year, with an abundance of songs that contain both gritty New York raps and metal-inspired, anthemic choruses.
Looking at the video for a song like “Kyoto”, it would be hard to draw any comparisons between Yung Lean and metal. However, with releases like Stranger and the recent Poison Ivy, it’s obvious that he borrows a lot of elements from black metal acts like Darkthrone and Burzum. The airy, lo-fi synths and the overwhelming sense of melancholy that you often find in Leandoer’s recent material is very reminiscent to the metal movements you find in countries like Norway, and that’s not even taking into account the black and white paint he wears on his face during recent live performances. It’s seeming that the more he experiments, the more his appreciation for black metal music shows.
Denzel Curry’s aggressive, fiery flows have always been suited for mosh pits. But his latest project Taboo almost feels like a testament to his love for the high-octane energy of metal music. Denzel has mentioned his love for acts like Pantera, and it shows on songs liked “Vengeance” and “Black Metal Terrorist”, as his menacing, lyrics flows often move into growls and screams at the end of each bar. If you listen to Denzel and can’t hear any elements of heavy metal, just attend one of his shows, and it’ll become obvious.
Jpegmafia almost feels like both a thrash metal and a hip-hop act, especially on his 2018 album Veteran. Sporadic beat changes, yelled verses and short song durations make every song feel as if they were punches to the face, with Jpeg’s undeniable energy being the K.O. Plus with song titles like “I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morrissey Dies”, you know Jpeg is ready to throw-down whenever.
Bones is a pioneer in mixing the sounds of metal and hip-hop, with a slew of his mixtapes incorporating elements of emo, screamo, black metal, punk and more. Heck, the man even brought Fred Durst out at a Teamsesh show. Bones’ love for metal is especially notable on mixtapes like Garbage, not only because of his screams and flows that make up the project but because of the eerie, gloomy atmosphere, his production creates.
Sybyr (fka. Syringe)
Sybyr incorporates a lot of sounds into his music, and each one would feel just at home at a metal shows than it would a hip-hop show. Much like Jpegmafia, Sybyr’s music is very thrash and in your face, switching between auto-tuned croons screams and straight out rapping. His lyrics are often nihilistic as if the only things he cares about is the end of existence, and when listening to projects like Hellhorse, you’re going to want to jump into the mosh.