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Top 3 Reasons behind the Rise of Lo-fi hiphop.

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

Welcome to another great exclusive brought to you by , in this interesting article the writer will be taking a deeper look into the top 3 reasons behind the rise of lo-fi hiphop.

Written by The Vitalist | Dec 11 , 2018 | Staff pick

Screengrab from YouTube channel ChilledCow

A warm, jazzy hip-hop loop washes over an infinitely repeating image of a tired girl, sitting in a warm and cosy bedroom as she studies with her old school headphones. This warm and nostalgic atmosphere (reminiscent of a studio Ghibli movie) is often mixed with a couple of other recurring themes and elements such as: enigmatic vocal samples from N64 games (Zelda in particular), older Cartoon network bumpers or shows from Toonami which introduced westerners to the unique style and sound of series such as Cowboy Bepop and Samurai Champloo that had a wavy hip hop soundtrack produced by the legendary Nujabes.

Nujabes portrait by Omar palma

This meshing of western style bumper music (often using hiphop beats and aired late at night, when audiences were in a twilight or late night mood) with moody Anime visuals and the introduction of Nujabes’ unique fusion style became the cornerstone for this new hazy state of mind or as the cool kids like to say its “aesthetic”. Mood is heavily emphasised in Lo-fi hip-hop; environmental sounds such as a subway train or the sound of rain are common in the repertoire of Lo-fi hiphop. It invokes an atmosphere suitable for relaxing and studying; something that is vital for a student struggling to cope with his/her studies. The availability of free streaming services such as Youtube and the combination of these elements has led to the creation and popularisation of lofi hip-hop. However, we will be taking a deeper look into the top 3 reasons behind the rise of lo-fi hiphop.

Handpicked playlists vs. playlists made by algorithms

The value of a handpicked playlist made by a familiar face resonates deeply with audiences worldwide as we live in an age where most streaming services use algorithms and machine learning to create suitable recommendations or playlists based on the data they receive. Despite the noble intentions of big name music services such as iTunes,Spotify… they often force their audiences into a dead end or worse; peeving them with Drake recommendations. The audience that was a synthesis of wavy hip hop and anime fans has now grown up; they long for that late 90’s and early 2000’s adult swim nostalgia. This in turn enables them to see the intrinsic of the curated playlists/live streams. It should also be noted that this was mainly made possible by the lax attitude towards copyrighted music on Youtube since other services such as Twitch are not friendly to copyrighted music being mixed or played on their platforms.

Universal appeal

Unlike genres such as Acid or Dubstep, the growth of Lo-fi hip-hop is not connected to any specific geographical area; it is entirely universal and online with no real age limit (much like Vaporwave). Most of the samples used in this genre come from public access sources and share a great deal of synergy with Bandcamp and Soundcloud artists.

In general

Lo-fi artists have a laid back attitude towards other artists remixing their material or chopping it up for samples as the plunder phonic spirit is nothing new in the realm of Lo-fi. As a result, many have been intrigued to produce tracks of their own or even create an animated music video for their favorite tracks. All of these elements make the world of Lo-fi to appear less daunting for up and coming artists.

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