WHAT IS PUNK RAP?
Punk rap is a hiphop genre influenced by the musical characteristics of Punk Rock. Punk Rap originated in the early 2000s and early 2010s but had predecessors within the 80s and 90s as well. The genre has been influenced by trap music, punk rock, and heavy metal. In current years, Punk Rap was categorized as a South Florida sound before many realized that it had been around alot longer than the 2010s.
A BRIEF SUMMARY - BY GENIUS
PUNK RAP CHARACTERSTICS
Punk Rap has similar characteristics to Punk Rock, in which they use a fast tempo and distorted riffs. They will also use shouted vocals, with characteristics of rap, you would also hear repetition, rhyme, and mimicry. The point of the Punk genre that differentiates it from Rap, is that punk focused heavily on teen rebellion and alienation often characterized as “edgy.”
PREDECESSORS (80s and 90s)
The rock band, The Clash has often been credited with giving an early style of Punk Rap with their song “Maginificient Seven” in the 1980s. Though, they have a contender with Public Enemy also being credited with brining the two genres and audiences together in the late 80s early 90s, with their song “Bring Tha Noise.”
RAP AUDIENCES AND PUNK AUDIENCES
Rap audiences have changed immensely over the years, originally starting out underground in their regional night clubs and basement before the sound became mainstream. Rap originally was centered around a predominantly black audience, it wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990s with the rise of MTV that rap was opened to the white audience.
Punk Audience’s were similar to rap audiences, in which they attracted a predominantly white audience. Most of the audience were mostly teenagers, as during adolescence most teenagers would use music to escape the everyday life and feeling the sense of companionship with the bands.
THE BLENDING OF AUDIENCES
As stated above, it is believed that when Public Enemy and band Anthrax collaborated on the song “Bring Tha Noise” it was the first time that punk audiences and rap audiences crossed over and united under one song. In present time with Punk rappers, we see that they span over many diverse audiences but for the 90s in which music was delegated to speific audiences, it was especially notable that these two different artist were able to unite two different group of fans.
CURRENT ARTIST AND SOUND
- Death Grips
- Gullotine (2011)
- Playboi Carti
- King Vamp (2020)
- Ski Mask the Slump God
- Burn the Hood (2020)
- Real Nega (2018)
- Blood Waves (2016)
- Rico Nasty
- Princess Nokia
PlayBoi Carti (2010-Current)
Yeah, that’s me
Yeah, that’s me
I’m a dark knight, bitch, yeah, I can’t sleep
I fly in the sky, I got wings on my feet
When the sun goes down, yeah, it’s time to creep.”
Song Analysis — PlayBoi Carti’s “King Vamp” takes a gothic style in sound and in the lryics. He describes himself as a vampire, going as far to proclaim himself as the vampire king. In the song he refrences bats, which are often attributed to vampires, they are also nocturnal animals; meaning they sleep during the day and are awake during the night. This is very different from typical rap in terms of sound and having a “mythical” meaning in the words.
DEATH GRIPS (2010-Current)
And they all fall down yah
Cobra spit over apocalyptic cult killer cauldron smoke
Stomp music seriously yah
Fit to knock you from here to that g-spot body rock connected
We got it why not come get it, stick your head in that hole
And watch me drop this cold guillotine death sentence yah.”
Song Analysis — This song is extremely dark in terms of the lyrics. It starts off with the main rapper contemplating a moral descion on whether kill people or not. We also have inclusion and references to witch craft, but he directly talks to the audience. He says his music is everything his audience could ever want and he relates his music to the gullotine; his lyrics have the power to kill you.
“Niggas always wanna get buck ’till they meet 50 Cent
Fuck a subtweet, Sub-Pop niggas heads off like pez
Alt-right want war, well that’s fine then
Bitch niggas in the way, well that’s common
White boys getting mad cause of my content
Y’all brave on the web, keep it in the comments
Sock it to a nigga like mankind
And motherfuck that flag nigga, we dying
Song Analysis — In this particular song, according to The Fader, “JPEGMAFIA declares war on the alt-right, screams, ‘motherfuck the flag’.” Drawing back to Punk Roots, in terms of rebellion. In his lyrics of fuck the flag, he says this because of the police brutality and unjustified deaths of black people within America.
“Tell me what your country, your religion
What your gun says
No justice, no peace
Just war and torture
The more you bleed
The more we conquer
The system set you free
But you’re never, never free
But you’re never, never free
Never never never free.”
Song Analysis — In this song, similarlly to JPEGMAFIA, Ho9909 (or horror) is mkaing a statement about the problems that often plague black people or people of color. Despite the music video, he talks about how even though the system says “we are free” the actions of the people within that system would state otherwise. In the first part of the song, he may be making a statement in how the people that shed the most fear are often doing it under the guise for their country, their religion or even out of self-defense.
SKI MASK THE SLUMP GOD (2014-Present)
“I am considered a rebel ’cause I never settle
Ah, pshht, ’cause I’m hot like a kettle
Your bitch is a rental, I had to pay incidentals
And they act funny, Jay Leno
Twisted my metal, now they actin’ shaky like treble
These niggas food like kibble
Said, “Fuck, my president, Donald Trump”
Life Alert, I’m stuck off the Perc’, I can’t get up
I call them underwear ’cause they can’t seem to get off my nuts
Song Analysis — Thoguh it difficult to tell, this is a song against white supremacy and racism. Ski Mask uses this song to talk about the police brutality and racial injustice in America. Parts of the songs that show this is in one line he says, “America sucks, U.S.A to me mean us.” Throughout the song he also mentions his disdain for the government and the former president at the time donald trump.
The current audience is mostly teenagers and people in their 20s, this genre goes across all demographics and is an emerging genre that is growing in popularity.