OP-ED: Mumble rap broken down

Joseph Kamin, Editor-In-Chief

The term Mumble Rap was coined in 2016 by several notable rap artists such as Wiz Khalifa. The term originally was used to describe artists such as Future, Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty and others. While the term is used a derogatory term for these artists, mumble rap provides an interesting view into the disenfranchised and rebellious youth.

Throughout the years music has been used as a form of expression and rebellion. The youth of every generation has listened to music that the older generation did not understand or like. This is evident through artists such as AC/DC, The Beatles, Queen, N.W.A, Dr. Dre and countless others. However, this is simply the development of music. If music had stayed stagnant and never upset the elders, we might still be listening to Ludwig Van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach. Both of which are amazing composers and are on several of my study playlists. The point remains that the new artists and new musicians will always upset someone simply because that form of expression is not understood by them.

To understand mumble rap one must first understand what the artists are using their art to express. I refer to mumble rap as sad boy rap and I feel like that is a term which encapsulates a majority of mumble rap, because most of the lyrics in the genre of mumble rap cover topics which are depressing in nature. The lyrics do not reveal the splendor and bright side of life, it covers the dark and depressing side of the life. This depressing and dark side of mumble rap is quite evident in the lyrics of many of the artists. The lyrics which might seem simplistic can be broken down into deeper meaning which is evident to the people who actively listen and interpret the lyrics. This deeper meaning and sad side of mumble rap is what attracts the ever-growing fan base of mumble rap artists.

An excellent example of this would be the 2016 song white wine by Lil Peep and Lil Tracy. In the chorus of the song Lil Peep has a line which states “Lord why, Lord why do I gotta wake up? More wine, more wine, baby pour another cup.” These lyrics were about Lil Peep having an existential crisis. Later in the song Lil Peep has the line “I’ma get a Maserati just to take my life inside.” Regardless of whether or not you appreciate mumble rap, those lyrics convey a sense of deep depression and these lyrics are consistent throughout Lil Peeps music.

These lyrics resound to a generation which quite often uses alcohol or drugs to help fight their depression. This is quite evident in Stephenville to be honest. We all know people who almost openly use alcohol to combat their inner demons. I am not saying that the solution to depression is drinking and drugs, it is quite the opposite.

This depressing side of a genre is not new to the rap genre either. In every genre there are typically two sides to the music. For example, take Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Allison Kraus. This is a song which covers alcoholism, heartbreak and death. While a majority of Paisleys music is not focused on this dark side of life, it is a song that rose to fame through its heartbreaking tale and story.

This principle applies to mumble rap as well as normal rap. Another example would be I Fall Apart by Post Malone. A majority of Post Malone’s music is not sad, however, I Fall Apart became popular due to so many listeners resonating with the depression and heartache that Post Malone was trying to express in his music.

Mumble rap may not be understood by many listeners, but at its core most mumble rap is sad boy rap. The people who avidly listen to mumble rap and many of the artists inside the genre are people who in some form or fashion understand the hurt that they are trying to express. I am not saying that all people who listen to mumble rap are people who abuse drugs, alcohol and sex in an attempt to cure their inner demons. I am simply saying that many of the artists like Lil Peep use their music to express their hurt and pain, which is what the artists know and it results in their music being brutally honest about their depression and inner demons at times.

This honesty in their art and expression of their art is a powerful force. In OMFG by Lil Peep he has the lyrics “I used to wanna kill myself. Came up still wanna kill myself. My life is going nowhere. I want everyone to know that I don’t care.” To me, these lyrics perfectly encapsulate the genre of mumble rap. Lil Peep is expressing his suicidal thoughts and how even though he is successful, he still has this melancholic approach to life and how he still is fighting these demons.

It is a dark genre of music. But in the darkness they are reaching an audience which can either relate to or empathize with this darkness and enjoys it. The listeners are either relating to the music because they’ve gone through that dark period where life is melancholic and suicide seems like an escape, or the listener can hear the pain and empathize with this dark outlook on life.