What is this new style of rapping?
August 13, 2015 1:20 PM   Subscribe

It seems like lately every single hip-hop song has a particular style of rapping, but I've never seen it acknowledged anywhere, and I don't know if it has a name. I'm no good at music theory, but from my understanding: It's characterized by the rapper constantly doing triplets over a 4/4 bar, and very rarely changing it up. Or another way of looking at it might be a 3/4 verse over a 4/4 beat. Examples inside.

Just listening to the radio today, here are two examples:

Big Sean - Blessings
Drake - Hotling Bling

Also, to my ears, pretty much every song by Migos, Young Thug, Meek Mill, Rae Smemmurd, etc. Every rapper under the age of 25 is doing this. What the hell is it called? Who started this thing? I think it might be "trap" or trap-influenced, but that might be way off. Tell me everything you know.

Also, it was cool hearing it a few times, it's undeniably compelling (matching 3/4 with 4/4 is always compelling and suggests momentum and a machine-gun-like staccato rhythm) but now that every single song is that way, I can't quite understand it. It seems unimaginative and repetitive, and I miss the older days of hip-hop when (from my perspective) cadences were constantly being switched up and there were surprising things happening multiple times within any given verse. If you like this new style, please set me straight!
posted by naju to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Interesting - I don't know anything about rap but I've noticed this too. I just googled "triplet rapping" and found that it's called Migos flow. Here's a reddit thread asking the same question. Migos thinks Drake stole it from them.
posted by something something at 1:26 PM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

It's not really 3/4 over 4/4; it's more like 12/8 or 6/8.
posted by aielen at 1:31 PM on August 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

Triple 6 Mafia and Bone Thugs were doing the triplet flow thing many years before these younger guys, but with more rhythmic variation for sure.
posted by black_lizard at 1:55 PM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

In something something's "Migos thinks Drake" link, you can click through to a video that catalogs recent uses of it and then a few that predate Migos, all the way back to Public Enemy's "Bring The Noise".
posted by hollyholly at 1:56 PM on August 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

Little Dicky is doin' it too!
posted by bensherman at 2:16 PM on August 13, 2015

That video that something something and hollyholly mentioned is great great, thank you!
posted by naju at 2:24 PM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah Juicy J of Three Six Mafia is still up on that scheme; seems to coincide a lot with the emergence of Trap
posted by aydeejones at 2:42 PM on August 13, 2015

Wiz Khalifa does it a lot in his club banger tracks, though he mixes things up and has a few flows. I liked him more when he was paired up with Currensy for a while, and the Rolling Papers era was good
posted by aydeejones at 2:44 PM on August 13, 2015

ailen's right. I can't speak to why it's becoming popular, but it's 12/8 rather than 4/4.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:33 PM on August 13, 2015

Hmmm, I heard Flo Rida doing it in 2009.
posted by capricorn at 7:23 PM on August 13, 2015

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