Lil Peep during a photoshoot by photographer Miller Rodríguez, better known as Pretty Puke.

Emo Rap: A New Wave of Hip-Hop

By Bridget Dunbar
Music Journalist

For years, musical styles have remained separate: rock, pop, and hip-hop each have their own unique sounds that can be appreciated in different ways. However, starting in the late 2010s, independent musicians on websites like SoundCloud effectively created a new genre: emo rap. 

Emo rap is recognized as a combination of hip-hop and emo music. The genre originated from online audio distribution sites like SoundCloud and Bandcamp, which promote user-generated content. Many popular names of this genre include Lil Peep, Trippie Redd and JuiceWRLD. Locally, Kydd Jones could fit into this genre. He has uploaded two albums to his SoundCloud, both in 2018. Another local artist is EMOtional xan. These and many other independent artists drew their inspiration and samples from the music they listened to when they were younger, like emo and pop-punk bands like My Chemical Romance, and “conscious rap” of the mid-2000s. These musical influences and samples are paired with distorted beats and vocals rapping about heavy topics that the musicians often deal with in their own lives.  

The genre quickly came to popularity on streaming sites like Spotify and even in live concerts and tours. The genre has been particularly successful among millennials, who are often close in age to SoundCloud rappers and grew up with many of the same musical influences.  Many have similar struggles, such as mental disorders, addiction and even suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, much of the popularity of this genre is attributed to the death of one of its pioneers, Lil Peep, in 2017. However, the genre is filled with underground talent that deserves all the attention it gets for the hard work and dedication to their art. 

To an extent, SoundCloud and emo rap have created a new internet subculture, “sad bois,” a trend that has populated internet forums and social media sites for several years and some of whom even create their own music on SoundCloud. It is evident that the emo rap and SoundCloud subculture has had a large influence over the late 2010s. The artists are passionate about their music and have fun producing new albums. I highly recommend listening to artists of this genre.

Featured image by Pretty Puke.

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