Here’s Why Hip-Hop Can Learn From the Values of EDM


DAD stirred up the proverbial hornet’s nest, huh?

Yesterday, we offered 10 reasons why EDM is crushing hip-hop in 2013, taking a pointed look at the ways in which the EDM scene is winning while the rap game is slacking. Coming from a hip-hop background, we’ve seen the rise of hip-hop (both as a culture and as a commodity). With EDM’s current rise in the American mainstream, how can one NOT look at both worlds and pit them against each other? Rap music has impacted ALL music, and like it or not, dance music is currently doing the exact same thing—from A$AP Rocky rapping over Skrillex beats to Usher bringing in Diplo for production. If hip-hop has taught fans anything, it’s to look at the movement with an eye to the business side. 50 Cent making sport of a release date with Kanye West. Jay-Z letting us know how many Ms he signed a deal for. The weekly Soundscan scramble, and propping up or panning the winners and losers. Financial implications have been implicit in the discussion about rap music for the last few decades.

Yet, when we take a look at rap vs. EDM, we’re somehow not playing fair?

Drew Millard responded to our piece on Noisey. He, like many commenters on Facebook and Twitter, grasps at a few straws in the story without assessing the points in context of all ten reasons.

Let’s begin by talking about the idea of rap and EDM operating in “different worlds.” From the onset, rap and dance music have collided way more than Drew Millard wants to remember. Afrika Bambaataa, the entire UK grime scene, the current trap scene, hip-house, and the art of DJing are obvious moments of correlation. Some of those examples are better than others, but don’t act like there aren’t grounds to compare both scenes. “Occasional” cross-pollination is far from the mark, when you consider that just this year we’ve had Just Blaze team up with Baauer, Flosstradamus remix a song that had Jim Jones, El-P, and the Flatbush ZOMBIES on it, Diplo making a reggae album with Snoop Dogg, and Waka Flocka talking about making an EDM album. Again, don’t get us started on how the world of trap has ignited both the worlds of EDM and hip-hop. Now is the time to look at how the scenes are doing against each other, especially given that everyone involved, from the DJs to the check writers, feel that EDM is poised to overtake the position of youth culture influence that rap has held for so long.

The second point of contention is a misunderstanding on an assertion that hip-hop DJs can’t really get down on the ones and twos. Can you deny the overabundance of rap mixtapes, many listed as being presented by a DJ, that are devoid of mixing? DAD highlights mixes weekly, and we post mixes on the regular. Talk to some of the older hip-hop DJs out there, and ask them how they feel about the current crop of spinners. You’ll get a lot of eye rolling. The role of the DJ in the hip-hop community has obviously diminished greatly; while we’d love for all hip-hop DJs to be as skilled at rocking parties (and educating crowds) as a Jazzy Jeff or a Kid Capri, the times have called for the DJ to take less and less of an active role, especially when it comes to signing artists. “Curating” is not an excuse for dismissing craft, and the hip-hop crowd is equally responsible as well—people should be held accountable for the product they’re promoting. Criticism, thanks to expectations of skill, isn’t dead in EDM.

While Drew correctly points out that the “PR firm” handling Skrillex also works with Freddie Gibbs and Disclosure, he fails to note is that two of the principles behind Biz 3 are also major factors behind OWSLA, Skrillex’s label!  Being a blogger for years, I’ve run into my share of managers, publicists, and firms that don’t operate in nearly as efficient of a fashion. With many other you’re getting misinformation, no information, or a jumbled mess of emails before you get down to the basics: the music, the press release, the artwork. Find us a number of rap PR firms that operate as well as Infectious PR, or Backdrop Promotions: We’ll ask, “where have you been all of our lives?”

Ninja Tune taught us that you can have a broad selection of beats in one mix. We love Danny Brown just as much as we love Flosstradamus, and want both of them to succeed. We’ve been around long enough to see the bloggerati complain time and again about hip-hop’s failures and disappointments, and we’re wise enough to realize that a lot of the hip-hop game needs a shot in the arm. Are we getting our Nas on and proclaiming that hip-hop is dead? Not at all. But in looking at the year 2013 for hip-hop and EDM, side-by-side, you can’t help but say “wow, what is rap doing wrong that EDM is doing right?” Hopefully, hip-hop can fix some of its problems and get back up to speed.

Learning from the attention to quality of sound found in EDM would be a start.

  • Dick ENYA Mouf

    Hip Hop paved the way for edm jerk off. Now they are both using each other as a means to make progress. You fucking suck at intriguing articles

    • khal

      your skill at intriguing comments is lacking. further explanation of how hip-hop “paved the way” for EDM is required, and how EDM is using hip-hop to make progress.

  • fck EDM

    asap rapped over 1 edm beat .. lets see if that ever happens again. This whole article is easily dissmissable in just about every way .. fuckin edm cornballs

    • khal

      asap rapped over one. just blaze produced a number of them. redman’s rapped over one. as has method man. dj craze makes a bunch. a-trak does, too. daft punk produced a number of tracks on Yeezus. Hudson Mohawke has credits on Cruel Summer. Rockie Fresh bought a few beats from Lunice. Lil Wayne bought a TNGHT track. need i really go on?


        Yes. Go on .. until then .. Hudmo and Daft Punk are the respectable mentions you happen to stumble upon. HOWEVER, both were subject to Kanye’s final approval. If, for example, what they made (and I’m sure they made quite a few) was too EDM, Kanye wouldn’t have used it. Hudmo recently said 90% of his beats are rejected by rappers. Maybe sit back and ponder why … its because he walks a very fine line between his trap and EDM so anything which sways to much to EDM won’t attract the attention he wants. Trap-edm shouldn’t even be under the edm category. IT IS glorified hip hop. They are literally taking everything they liked about hip hop and turnin the fuckin 808 up … how is this edm? because lasers effects were added? As for Just, Craze and A-trak they are all very talented dj’s especially in respect to the craft of turntablism, which edm learned from hip hop (along with a number of other things) .. Redman is shit and not respectable in the hip hop world. Method mans edm song will be forgotten and by NO means will be the reason method man will be in history. EDM is doing well in 2013 because similar to hip hop a couple years ago, they tapped into the middle school white suburbia which now makes EDM as a whole .. the new Britney spears of music .. probably lasting for about one more year. Thats why this article is a fucking joke .. I’ll be waiting for your response blogger man ..

        • khal

          lol @ “happened to stumble upon.”

          if you understand the structure of dance music, you’d realize that these “trap EDM” tracks you speak of are more than just amplified hip-hop. the structure of these songs are directly from dance music – build-ups, breakdowns, etc.

          LMFAO @ “Redman is shot and not respectable in the hip hop world.” how are you trying to prove a point then discrediting your knowledge on what you’re trying to argue for?

          you’re killing me. i can’t even take you seriously, “commenter.”

          • COOL_ARTICLE

            Soooo .. you really didn’t go on anddd at this point you are boring me. You’ll put up your little two cents after this to get the last word in and that’s cool .. hopefully this is your job and your getting paid. Congrats.
            Tha’ts fine if you support Redman, but he is a cheeseball. Early to mid 90′s I would of backed your statement .. but any artist trying to bite whatevers popular in order to still try n get a buzz .. corny. Thats the problem with edm .. its popular for whatever reason (white youth and molly) and older hip hop heads are gettin on board to stay ‘relevant.” This phase will die out and hopefully the next “pop” thing will be less lame then this current fad. However, your entitled to your opinion on this one and if you liked redman on the edm track .. great for ya! :/
            With that said; those “build-ups, breakdowns, etc” can all be found on hip hop records far before these orginal hip hop artist and dj’s start making “trap edm-ish” songs. The difference however, is the accentuated build ups, drops, and breaks this new phase just pushed that farther .. making glorifed hip hop instrumentals ..
            Maybe i’ll check ya other articles n see if I thorougly disagree with you on other matters you write about .. keep up the good work hero!

          • khal

            LOL still with the jokes about Redman. I can’t. That’s too hilarious. Hip-Hop tracks have dance music build-ups and breakdowns? So me where you find that like dance music does. Hip-Hop tracks can’t survive with 1:30 of the track building it up to a drop. the entire song structure of 16 bar verses and 8 bar hooks don’t even have room for that. Are you serious?

  • lee

    So you’re saying the same year that jay dropped magna carta ye dropped yeezus drake dropped nothing was the same and cole dropped born sinner nothing happened in hiphop? I think as a “music” blogger you should get more in touch with other styles of music besides just edm. Hop off edm’s dick and let it pee, yes edm is having a shining year but as we’ve seen with every genre that has come around in the past 20 years most of them are just trends, edm will get old and we will move to a day where the genre inspires something else ( though i think the electronic methods of creating music will last forever i dont think things such as house, dupstep, and trap will), the only thing that has lasted us this long is rap, and though I believe electronic music will live on forever so will hip-hop, hip-hop is in a great state right now, its going through a rejuvenation and its ignorant to think that edm is the only thing doing it big. Check your stats chance, gambino, cyhi, action, asap mob, tde, and many others are re-innovating hip hop as we know it, get your head out your ass and take a look.

    • khal

      You’re assuming that we said nothing happened in hip-hop in 2013. Point me in the direction of where we said that. And at DAD we’re just as into hip-hop as we are EDM. Maybe you should check the site before making assumptions.