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A Personal Intro To Gentle Hip-Hop

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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about hip-hop? Obnoxious gangsta rap such as 50 Cent’s mind-numbing In da Club, accompanied by too much bling and too few clothes? Or perhaps “brag rap” or the controversial east-coast VS west-coast, usually ending in a murder or two? When someone asks me what kind of music I like, I sometimes have difficulties breaking that controversy. If you’re into gangsta rap, see my rough hip-hop intro.

My brother in law is really into (death) metal and tried introducing me to the genre (using, among others, this track, which blew my socks off, wow!). Admittedly, a hard hitting double bass and crazy guitar riffs are difficult to digest if you’re not used to it. But his admiring effort made me think, why can’t I convince others to get into hip-hop? Then I drew a few taxonomies of rap styles and subgenres, which paled compared to Wikipedia’s extensive list of hip-hop genres.

No categories then. Instead, I want to focus on personal highlights in what I call “gentle” hip-hop. Hip-hop without the typical explicit themes (sex, murder, drugs, street life, …) that perhaps keep people from enjoying a good beat. Hip-hop without the penetrating noise of boom rap or hardcore rap, starting with stuff that is easy to to get into, and ending perhaps a bit weirder—but in a happy weird way.

This is my gentle hip-hop top 11—in no particular order—I recommend people listen to when they know nothing about hip-hop. Note that I prefer to use hip-hop (the “life style”) instead of rap (the “rapping”), I found it helps people keep their prejudices at check. Give these a try and then re-evaluate what you think of hip-hop music.

I kind of cheated, it’s still 11, but hey, who’s counting! Most tracks are from the early to mid noughties. My hip-hop knowledge is firmly rooted in the nineties (see the rough hip-hop guide) and early 2000s—I hope the experienced reader will help fill the gaps, let me know!

I'm Wouter Groeneveld, a Brain Baker, and I love the smell of freshly baked thoughts (and bread) in the morning. I sometimes convince others to bake their brain (and bread) too.

If you found this article amusing and/or helpful, you can buy me a coffee - although I'm more of a tea fan myself. I also like to hear your feedback via Mastodon or e-mail. Thanks!