By: Justin Cook
The aesthetic of hip-hop is ever-changing—it in and of itself is a global experiment, living and breathing through a million MC’s. That’s what made this a difficult article to write. Originally, I set out to track the history and evolution of “experimental” hip-hop music. I soon found almost all artists worth fucking with challenge the industry in their own way, and it’s difficult to define what exactly “experimental” hip-hop is. Artists have experimented lyrically and sonically with hip-hop since its inception on the streets of New York. Some do this through live instrumentation, psychedelic/electronic beats or tempo changes. Others do it through interludes, elaborate transitions or by simply being a member of the LGBTQ community. In this day and age if you’re not a Top 40 rapper, you will probably be labeled as “experimental” or “alternative.” So I came up with a compromise. I’m going to highlight some of my favorite scientists of sound, who continually push hip-hop music into the outer dimensions, and break down what makes them so incredible.