PART 2 (See our part one here)
Understanding Mumble Rap
Remember I mentioned hallucinating reality? I’m going to work this backwards so it makes more sense.
2016, Desiigner, Panda. The moment that clap came in, you just knew this would bang. The fact that Kanye produced this and backed Desiigner, as well as Lil Yachty may be purely coincidental, however in terms of what we are discussing now, I do feel it adds credence to the argument.
Now I will hold my hands up and admit it, I had no idea what he was saying. To the degree where I dismissed it as more of this current generation’s obsession with speed rapping and Lean. [The influence of drugs should not be overlooked in a discussion about mumble rap, however, I don’t feel like it’s relevant in this discussion].
I must of listened to it a dozen times or more, finally with the lyrics on screen I began to decipher his flow.
Fast forward to this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxgIOGzQUKc
Just as I did with Panda, and now hopefully you have too, I experienced a little flip in the way I think about the flow in mumble genre.
For me it really illustrates an intriguing side of vocal performance, especially with mumble rap. Just because you can’t hear the words properly doesn’t mean it is utterly incomprehensible.
To take this a step further, take a look at this interview with possibly the king of mumble trap: Future https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QFasnWddVs
The graffiti analogy is for me the best way to look at Mumble rap critically. It shows that the issue with mumble rap is less to do with lyricism or song writing, and is more a case of perception. Admittedly there are a lot of rappers trying to ride that mumble wave and have dropped off. Like with any new style, there are the originators, the inspired and the copycat.
- A true great will always endure, having paved the way and even lit the path for the next ripples that originate from their wave.
- The inspired, will have their world illuminated in a way previously unseen, and they strike out to continue with their own iteration.
- Then there’s the copycat. They jump on someone else’s wave, ripping off the truly original members of that vibe, for short time exposure and cash rewards.
Now I’m happy to admit that speed does not necessarily mean that you won’t be able to hear what’s being said. Yet even the most accomplished rappers do not escape criticism for this.
Eminem does his thing on Rap God, as impressive as it is, it’s rather difficult to hear and comprehend every word. However this exploration into Kanye and Mumble rap has challenged my perception of that style as well.