Today, the definition of musical genre has been tampered with because of the new sensation of cross genre blending. This craze first became popularized with the hit “Walk this Way” by Aerosmith featuring the rap group Run DMC. By adding simple rap lines, the song was opened to a whole new group of listeners. Many up-and-coming bands have taken this cue from the past to bring in more listeners. Rock and hip-hop have united in many new groups, not only to appeal to a broader audience, but also to enrich their sound. At this year’s Relay for Life, I had the chance to hear a band, The N Result, that did just this, and it inspired me to look for similar bands.
A Cool Stick, a band from Baltimore, gained its growing following from this idea of genre blending. College students, such as those from Loyola University in Baltimore, say that this combination is a great idea. I personally have to agree; the idea of a catchy chorus mixed with a rap verse or two does work very well. The rap flows smoothly into the rest of the song, which gives listeners the notion that music mixing is working to their advantage.
The duo All Out, a Boston-based pop and hip-hop group, frequently mixes different kinds of music into every song they produce. Granted, most of their fans have come from the singer Matt McCormick’s a capella group, The Beezelbubs, a Tufts University tradition. However, the blending has also contributed to their success. Their song “Lights” demonstrates how hip-hop and rap are coming together more frequently in the music scene.
I recently got to interview the Relay for Life’s band The N Result. A band from Rutgers University, the group has been together for two years, and members describe their music as rock/pop and hip-hop. A group of five, they began playing together at the Cabaret Theater, but soon realized that a certain element was missing. About a year later, the band added a rapper and they couldn’t be happier. The combination of rap and rock complement each other like no other combination of genres can.
According to the band, “It’s fun and we like it,” so obviously it is working for them as well. When they performed at this year’s Relay for Life, they covered traditional pop/rock songs and added rap verses in between. This simple addition is what is setting them and other bands like them apart from the crowd.
Musical genre mixing, such as the ones done by these bands, is becoming more popular and I am glad that it is finally getting the recognition it deserves. It takes a lot of skill for one to fluently blend two completely different types of music into one coherent song, and I applaud them for that. This trend has had a slow but steady increase in the years since 1986, and I hope that it continues to do so. Bands like A Cool Stick, All Out, and The N Result are breaking the mold and music listeners everywhere should be thankful for that. All of the bands mentioned above can be found on MySpace and Facebook.
– Heather Shupe
Freshman journalism and
political science major