The Apache Pow Wow

The Next Generation of Rappers

Jennifer Fuerte, Staff Writer

With popularity, there are trends, and when there are trends, there is always the inevitable death of these trends. This is especially applicable to the current popular music genre, rap. Rewind to a couple of years ago: Eminem was at the height of his music career and nearly all music listeners considered him a rap legend. Nowadays, most people think of Drake, Travis Scott, or Kanye West when thinking about top rappers in the music industry, without thinking of the rappers before them who paved the way for success. Applying this logic to the present, it’s not long before these rappers descend from the Billboard 200 and newer rappers take their place. From my perspective, these are rappers and rap groups that I believe have the potential to surpass currently popular rappers in the future.

1. Brockhampton
Brockhampton is a musical group and self-proclaimed boy band that consists of fourteen members, six of which serve as the vocalists of the group, while the other eight contribute to the group by composing songs, designing concepts, and mixing beats. The group’s leader, Kevin Abstract, started the group in 2015 and provides vocals alongside members Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, Dom McLennon, Joba, and Bearface. Their latest full album was Saturation III in 2017, the third part of what is known as the “Saturation trilogy”, after albums titled Saturation and Saturation II in previous years. On the side note, my music taste is not representative of any trends on music charts, but I have been listening to songs by Brockhampton for the past month on repeat. Although their songs are primarily rap, the group has done a wonderful job creating songs of many styles and colorful beats, allowing for a variety of different genres and tones that appeals to many tastes in music. This is evident in the group’s gradual climb up the Billboard 200 chart: from not charting at all with their debut album Saturation, to eventually charting at 57 with Saturation II, and to finally peaking at 15 on the chart with Saturation III, all within the span of a single year. Their rapid ascension of the chart is evidence of their growing popularity, and in a few months, I can picture the group transition from being an unknown underground rap group to one known to frequent the top ranks of music charts. Give Brockhampton a listen because their songs will blow you away with their unique concepts, versatile beats, and captivating personalities.

2. Offonoff
Offonoff is a South Korean duo that produces tracks that feature rap and electronic beats of varying styles. The duo originally started its career on Soundcloud before getting recruited under YG Entertainment. It consists of members 0Channel and Colde, who both produce tracks and provide vocals for its songs. They have released multiple albums in the past, but they have not gained much attention as compared to various singles. The term “rapper” applies loosely to them because while they do rap in their songs, the vocals often complement the music of the track rather than the other way around. This creates a large emphasis on the beats and rhythm of the song rather than highlighting their vocals. While this can be unappealing to certain audiences who enjoy lyricism and flow of words, other audiences might find their style more attractive. Moreover, this type of beat emphasis is on the rise in popularity, as seen in the increasing popularity of chill and indie music tracks in both the U.S. and South Korea. That being said, Offonoff is not really known at all in the western music industry, but it does have a decent following in South Korea while maintaining a  niche audience in the U.S. Either way, the duo isn’t at the top of the ranks for rap and hip-hop in either country because of little promotion and exposure to the general public. Hopefully, Offonoff will become more popular in the future so that more people can appreciate its music since it’s so good.

3. Rich Brian
Rich Brian is arguably already a mainstream rapper because he is acknowledged by the western music industry and has released multiple popular tracks. However, none of his music tracks has topped music charts for a significant amount of time, and he isn’t widely regarded as a top rapper in the industry. In fact, more people view him as a rookie rapper since he started in early 2016 with his debut single “Dat $tick”, which is one of his few tracks that has received substantial attention from the general public. After that release, none of his songs have been particularly chart-topping. On the plus side, Rich Brian is a very unique artist, which gives him potential for future success. What makes him unique is that he’s one of the few prominent Asian rappers of this generation, being the only well-known Indonesian artist in the market. He works alongside a few other Asian rappers in his entertainment agency, 88rising, but he is debatably the most popular among them. Contrary to his appearance, he has a deep voice, and this serves as an attractive aspect and makes him far more memorable. Aside from his ethnicity and voice, Rich Brian has a talent for making music. His flow of lyrics and pronunciation is groovy and interesting, allowing him to make music of a certain, distinct style. His songs are somewhat diverse in sound, but simultaneously, they retain a tone that is unique to him, which has been described to be “ironic” by New York newsletter UrbanDaddy. If Rich Brian continues to produce good, memorable tracks, he’s less likely to dwindle in popularity and more likely to become one of the hottest rappers of the next generation.

Although it isn’t confirmed by any means, these three artists are most likely to become the next generation of top rappers in my perspective. All three of them have unique music styles, personalities, and tones that are expressed in the music they make. Music will always evolve and change according to trends, but these three have the highest potential in adapting to them. I recommend giving them a listen before they become the next big thing, so you’ll have the right to say “I listened to them before they were popular,” without the irony.

 

Photo courtesy of YOUTUBE.COM

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