Kanye West Bridges the Musical Divide

Electronic and Hip Hop merge to make some of the best music today.
Electronic and Hip Hop merge to make some of the best music today.

Kanye West might be leaving his fans behind age wise (the musician turns 36 today); but, Kanye is bridging the musical divide: he will be collaborating on two tracks with Daft Punk on his upcoming album, “Yeezus”, which signals a trend of hip hop and electronic music mergers.

The French robotic duo conjured some more funky recollections for Kanye West’s upcoming album Yeezus, which is reportedly due for release June 18, reports Yahoo news. Daft Punk collaborated with West on two new cuts, including “Black Skinhead,” which West debuted on “Saturday Night Live” on May 18. This is not the first West/Daft collaboration, of sorts. West sampled Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” for his hit single “Stronger” in 2007.

However, some have jumped the gun by assuming electronic music will replace hip-hop outright. Rob Fields, a cultural blogger, rightfully stated that “it indicates a sea change in terms of musical tastes and preferences. On one hand, it’s somehow inevitable, given that hip hop is pretty much mainstream.

There may soon be new frames around what sounds and looks are “cool”. Perhaps also new frames around gender ideas, particularly that of masculinity, states Fields. Hip Hop made a breakthrough recently with Frank Oceans revelation that he was bisexual.

Given that the youth are accustomed to gravitating towards music that is anti-mainstream, it seems only natural that electronic music gain traction here in the United States (whereas overseas it has been on the ground running for a long time already). Many Europeans wonder in amazement at how resistant Americans have been to electronic music, but the times are changing, and Americans are catching up.

But hip hop is far from dead. Not only is Kanye West helping to bridge the musical divide between hip hop and electronic music–Kid Kudi’s new album, Indicud, is a mix of rap and house/electronic beats, which combine to make an exceptional album, without losing the integrity of the rappers artistic style. New artist, such as the U.K.’s own Jessie Ware, have also mixed R&B/Hip Hip and electronic music successfully, among many other artist.

It will be interesting to watch (and try to predict!) the repercussions of this shift on business, says Fields. For example, such a shift should start to show up in marketing investments. After all, if hip hop moves away from being the music of youth, something will certainly replace it. There may soon be new frames around what sounds and looks are “cool”. Perhaps also new frames around gender ideas, particularly that of masculinity. He goes on to ask, will brands only leverage hip hop for mass reach, but look elsewhere for what’s “cutting edge”

All of these are good questions. But enough of all the hip hop is dead rhetoric, it’s been said about many other genre’s that have grown to international fame (e.g. rock) but rock is still around—it’s heyday is just over, which is just: who want’s to hear the same type of music every decade? So congrats to artist such as Kanye West who are bridging a peaceful connection between hip hop and electronic music—relieving our auditory senses of the redundancy of the past couple of years.

Sources

http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/stop-the-presses/daft-punk-collaborate-two-songs-kanye-west-album-230451305.html

http://robfields.com/

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