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JesterOfDestiny
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 2:42 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Hungary
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 2:30 pm 
 

A common criticism of nu metal I see is the notion that combining rap and metal is a terrible idea and why the hell would anyone think about it. Now ignoring the fact that nu metal and rap metal are two separate if similar things, I honestly don't get where they're coming from. I mean a lot of metal bands already include rapping. A lot of thrash metal is nothing just really aggressive talking. Throw in a rhyme scheme and a solid flow and you have rapping.

Obviously, when we're talking about a combination of two styles, we're not just talking about a loose connection. So in the case of rap metal, it's more an intentional combination of hip-hop and metal. One reason I think this combination could work really well is because we're talking about two very rhythm based genres. Hip-Hop generally doesn't focus that hard on riffs, only a very baseline rhythmic pattern, but the genre isn't stranger to using repetitive melodic patterns (a.k.a. riffs) and some of them can get as hard as a lot of metal.

Of course, rap metal still failed as a genre, but I'd argue, it's not because the combination is inherently bad. It's just simply because the bands that attempted it went about it the wrong way. A lot of them used the metal elements as a gimmick, many of them tried to be gangsta, not realizing that metal doesn't deal with the gangsta attitude. And let's be honest, many of these rappers were just quite simply not good and the riffs they wrote were ass. (Fucking Ice Ice Baby metal version.) But they kept pushing it, everyone got sick of it and eventually, the sucky gimmick bands dragged a whole idea into oblivion.

But I do honestly believe that this combination could have worked. Perhaps not to the point that they get official approval on this site, but they could have gathered some respect by the metal scene.

Just to prove my point, here are some examples that I think are good examples of the combination done right.

Caparezza - Ilaria Condizionata - The metal elements are mostly confined to the chorus, but those are some pretty legit riffs, with lots of aggression. There's even a solo (though I'm not sure if it's a guitar). It kinda sounds like something Mr Bungle would do.

Clawfiner - Recipe for Hate - One of the few examples of pure rap metal. The lyrics can be pretty cringe, but let's be real here, metal ain't stranger to cringe lyrics.

Eyesburn - Fool Control - More reggae metal, but it is pretty legit as far as its metal elements go.

Stuck Mojo - Who's the Devil - This is just thrash metal with rapping.

Death Grips - Giving Bad People Good Ideas - I mean come on!

What do you think? What are some other examples of the combination going well? What would have happened if the idea wasn't ruined by corporate hype? Maybe you really do think it's a terrible combination, why? Do you think I'm a total fool and I should shut the fuck up? Feel free to tell me.

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Miikja
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:36 pm
Posts: 127
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 2:55 pm 
 

Downset is another fine example of rap metal done well. Check out the album Do We Speak a Dead Language? I love the intro and first song Empower. Great riffs, great lyrics.

Quote:
What's up? Death on this kid who believes the mic
Blood on the soul so what that inside be like
A cross carrier with journeys upon self I
Efforts to ashes and hands to the sky


Spoiler: show
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Twisted_Psychology
Metal freak

Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 8:22 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:25 pm 
 

I just mentioned it in another thread but I've really wanted to see a rap/doom fusion for years now. I feel like it could work with the right riff/MC combination.
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Gravetemplar
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:08 am
Posts: 2159
Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:28 pm 
 

I just wish there was more stuff like this:


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Kalaratri
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:22 pm
Posts: 322
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:47 pm 
 

I'm not really into rap at all, but I think the issue for me is that for the most part rap/hip hop is more or less a vocal-centric form of music that treats the voice like a rhythmic instrument, but that's not really something I enjoy in music (at least when it comes to vocals). I can certainly respect the skill of MCs in terms of coming up with clever wordplay and rhymes, changing their tone, and adjusting their flow to work with or against the beat, etc. but those are not things that really draw me in. Even if I can appreciate the lyrical content that's being delivered, the mode of delivery leaves me indifferent.

As far as metal is concerned, the instruments (guitars, bass, drums) already take care of the rhythmic component, so I want the vocals to be doing something else. I appreciate vocals whether clean or harsh, but the moment you start treating them primarily as another rhythmic instrument I start to lose interest.


Last edited by Kalaratri on Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ezadara
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:32 pm
Posts: 324
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:11 pm 
 

I love hip hop, I love metal, for the life of me I can't stomach putting the two together. I've never been listening to Rakim and found myself thinking 'Man, you know what would really put this over the top? The guys from Cannibal Corpse.' The same goes for, say, country and metal, or country and hip hop. Far as I'm concerned, some things are just best enjoyed on their own.

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Morton Salt
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:25 pm
Posts: 196
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:18 pm 
 

Great thread idea. I was actually thinking about this recently. I think the person who has best combined the two is Harley Flanagan. I've been listening to these two tracks a lot recently:
Spoiler: show



I can definitely see people not digging that second track but those two songs make a pretty legit case for rap and metal being cool together.

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Lord_Of_Diamonds
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:23 pm
Posts: 563
Location: Asheville area, NC, US
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:35 pm 
 

Rap and metal can never exist together because their characteristics go against each other. Rap is all about creating a groove, emphasising the percussive rhythms so people can "get down with it". Metal is very much a guitar-driven genre, with certain types of guitar parts that are note-centric. Most nu/rap metal uses the guitars as another percussion instrument, embedding them in the established groove, and only incorporating the metal in terms of sound. So there can never really be a true fusion of rap and metal.
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JesterOfDestiny
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 2:42 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Hungary
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:49 pm 
 

Lord_Of_Diamonds wrote:
Rap and metal can never exist together because their characteristics go against each other. Rap is all about creating a groove, emphasising the percussive rhythms so people can "get down with it". Metal is very much a guitar-driven genre, with certain types of guitar parts that are note-centric. Most nu/rap metal uses the guitars as another percussion instrument, embedding them in the established groove, and only incorporating the metal in terms of sound. So there can never really be a true fusion of rap and metal.


This is an interesting point, because metal has become increasingly rhythm-centric/percussive. I'm thinking of the way lots of modern metal bands have went with a djenty sound and lots of chugging, which does away with the note-centric structure of metal.

I honestly hate it, because it sounds like complete shit. But when they add hip-hop into the mix, it starts sounding good. Probably because of the hip-hop elements creating a consistent groove, so the chugging feels less grating. There are a couple djent-rap acts out there and... Well saying they're good is a bit of an overstatement, they make the combination actually work.

The best example of the sound I can think of is the mashup between the Doom 2016 soundtrack and Death Grips - No Love.

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jimbies
Noose Springsteen

Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:52 pm
Posts: 3083
Location: Ontario, Canada
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 5:26 pm 
 

Ezadara wrote:
I love hip hop, I love metal, for the life of me I can't stomach putting the two together. I've never been listening to Rakim and found myself thinking 'Man, you know what would really put this over the top? The guys from Cannibal Corpse.' The same goes for, say, country and metal, or country and hip hop. Far as I'm concerned, some things are just best enjoyed on their own.


Same. I listen to a bunch of hip-hop/rap. All kind of different subgenres of Hip-Hop music, but I've yet to find one band I really like in the Rap Metal world. I do like the first Slipknot record for nostalgic reasons, which has songs like Spit It Out on it.

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Slater922
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:24 pm
Posts: 430
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 5:56 pm 
 

I'd argue that we should have a reform in rap metal. So instead of having a bunch of Limp Bizkit knockoffs, we should have the genre lean more into what OP recommended. I listened to these songs before, and if rap metal was like Death Grips or Stuck Mojo, rap metal would get more respect.
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BastardHead
Worse than Stalin

Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:53 pm
Posts: 10162
Location: St. Charles, Illinois
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:04 pm 
 

The hip hop that I do like tends to err on the aggressive side in general but even then I can't really imagine it working well with metal music. I'm not saying it's impossible, but the goals of the two macrogenres are incredibly different and hard to gel together. Those artists we got in the 90s like Rage Against the Machine or that one Kid Rock album are probably the best case scenario when it comes to combining the two and I think they both fucking suck. Maybe it's just that I'm mind-prisoned and can't imagine something better simply because I haven't really thought about it or heard it yet, but my best guess would be to either treat the guitar more like a turntable (like RATM) or just write big dumb wrestling riffs (like that Kid Rock album) and they were both successful but, to my ears, sounded like shit.

That said, the vocalist of Archspire has said (I believe, this is secondhand knowledge but is quite plausible) that his biggest vocal inspirations are actually Tech N9ne and Twista instead of any actual death metal vocalists. And I can hear that, the influence is definitely there, but even then he still comes off like a guy doing really fast DM vocals instead of rap-growling.

I think part of the problem might be how a lot of people (metalheads especially, though this is mostly speculation) seem to think of rapping as "rhythmic talking", which is really reductive and completely breezes over the entire concept of flow. There's more to rapping than rhythmic mastery. 12tone has a good video about it. I think the few legit metal bands I've heard that tried to implement rapping have completely blown it due misunderstanding this. I've never heard Black Thought and wondered if he'd be better with fat slamz behind him, and that's probably why he's a great rapper and not a metal singer.
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LithoJazzoSphere
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:11 pm
Posts: 1674
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:15 pm 
 

I agree, and I think it's just the sour taste of the worst nu-metal bands that have tarnished the concept of it. When done well it's ripe with opportunity.

I'm glad someone else finally brought up Stuck Mojo. I mention them every months but no one has bit yet. They used to be one of my favorite groups, though their reunion material has been really spotty. I'd have picked different songs though, like these.

Spoiler: show






Kalaratri wrote:
I'm not really into rap at all, but I think the issue for me is that for the most part rap/hip hop is more or less a vocal-centric form of music that treats the voice like a rhythmic instrument, but that's not really something I enjoy in music (at least when it comes to vocals).


In almost any form of extreme metal the vocals tend to be more of a rhythm instrument though. Some are just more obvious about it than others, but when melody/harmony are removed then you're mostly dealing with rhythm and timbre.

Lord_Of_Diamonds wrote:
Rap and metal can never exist together because their characteristics go against each other. Rap is all about creating a groove, emphasising the percussive rhythms so people can "get down with it". Metal is very much a guitar-driven genre, with certain types of guitar parts that are note-centric. Most nu/rap metal uses the guitars as another percussion instrument, embedding them in the established groove, and only incorporating the metal in terms of sound. So there can never really be a true fusion of rap and metal.


See, I don't agree with this. Part of the issue is that our definition of "metal" is really restrictive and demphasizes the rhythmic potential of riffs, leaning towards counting the number of different notes played. But I still think you can have some of both, like particularly in my first two Stuck Mojo examples.

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Kalaratri
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:22 pm
Posts: 322
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:33 pm 
 

LithoJazzoSphere wrote:
Kalaratri wrote:
I'm not really into rap at all, but I think the issue for me is that for the most part rap/hip hop is more or less a vocal-centric form of music that treats the voice like a rhythmic instrument, but that's not really something I enjoy in music (at least when it comes to vocals).


In almost any form of extreme metal the vocals tend to be more of a rhythm instrument though. Some are just more obvious about it than others, but when melody/harmony are removed then you're mostly dealing with rhythm and timbre.


In extreme metal there's usually a contrast between the instrumentation and what the vocals are doing. The rest of the band is not confined to playing solely in a percussive style, so it's not really something that's overly emphasized even if extreme metal vocals are more rhythmically focused than say a power metal band. And as BastardHead said, rap has this whole concept of flow that goes just beyond rhythm to include fairly complex rhyming schemes, the way certain syllables are stressed depending on what sort of beat one is working off of, changes in timbre, tone and volume of the delivery, how the transitions between one line and the next are treated as well as complex uses of literary devices like alliteration and other forms of wordplay. Some metal vocalists may be more considerate of the rhythmical nature of the music they're vocalizing on top of (like Jens Kidman from Meshuggah for example) but there is still a clear difference between extreme metal vocals (in general) and rap in terms of how this idea of cadence or flow is treated.

I think those Stuck Mojo songs are actually good examples of the things I don't like about rapped vocals applied in the metal context. There's something to be said about an economy of space, knowing when to speak and when to let the music speak for you. I'm not at all a fan of songs where the vocalist is basically talking over the riff, and those songs are guilty as sin of that IMO. I also don't like the delivery of the vocals at all, but that's a separate issue. Contrast that with this Enforced song, where the vocalist picks his spots to come in and doesn't detract from the riffs. You can say there's some awareness of the rhythmical dimension of the riffs on his part, but he's using the vocals to complement them rather than trying to be the central focus of the song:

Spoiler: show


I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that rap/hip-hop evolved as a fairly vocal-centric style of music, where the beats are there for the MC to play off or play around with rather than necessarily being an end unto themselves. Obviously, you can have instrumental hip hop where they get showcased in much more detail, but in general, the emphasis is on the vocals rather than the background instrumentation. With metal, I don't really need the vocals to take center stage all the time, and there needs to be some recognition as to when to back off and let the rest of the band do their job. One of the most important aspects of rap is being able to maintain a flow, and I think that works counter to what I'd ideally want the vocals to do in the context of metal. That doesn't necessarily mean that vocalists can't take inspiration from rap (like, for example, what Oli from Archspire is doing, although IMO he's growling really fast rather than rapping), but the use of rap in a metal context is not something I'm favorably inclined towards.


Last edited by Kalaratri on Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:14 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Frank Booth
Can Bench 450

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:29 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:37 pm 
 

Dying Fetus and Internal Bleeding were doing this a long while back. Honestly, the loss of hip-hop elements is a big part of why 99% of slam is trash; it just doesn't have the kind of bounce that the OGs were able to mix in. They understood both how to make a groovy beat and how to ride it vocally, and I just don't see that in slam nowadays.

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acid_bukkake
SAD!

Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:45 am
Posts: 1825
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:08 pm 
 

LithoJazzoSphere wrote:
I'm glad someone else finally brought up Stuck Mojo. I mention them every months but no one has bit yet. They used to be one of my favorite groups, though their reunion material has been really spotty.

The only key difference between Fozzy and Stuck Mojo has been the vocals (Chris Jericho vs. Bonz/Lord Nelson), and the former is archived. I've said for years that Stuck Mojo is best described as "Pantera with rapping," and Bud Fontsere's transitions from break beat to steady double kick with Rich Ward's clear Dimebag worship were beautiful at their peak. Rising will always be a favorite of mine, start to finish.

Frank Booth wrote:
Dying Fetus and Internal Bleeding were doing this a long while back. Honestly, the loss of hip-hop elements is a big part of why 99% of slam is trash; it just doesn't have the kind of bounce that the OGs were able to mix in. They understood both how to make a groovy beat and how to ride it vocally, and I just don't see that in slam nowadays.

Aye, and I remember the general hatred that John Gallagher got over admitting there were rap albums he'd listen to over metal ones. The constant groove and hook to both riffage and vocal delivery is what has made Dying Fetus grow to be so popular, even more than the tech tangents or grind-flavored tempo changes.
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wraithlike
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:20 pm
Posts: 154
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:09 pm 
 

City Morgue at least deserves a shoutout in here.

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LithoJazzoSphere
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:11 pm
Posts: 1674
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 12:16 am 
 

Kalaratri wrote:
Spoiler: show
In extreme metal there's usually a contrast between the instrumentation and what the vocals are doing. The rest of the band is not confined to playing solely in a percussive style, so it's not really something that's overly emphasized even if extreme metal vocals are more rhythmically focused than say a power metal band. And as BastardHead said, rap has this whole concept of flow that goes just beyond rhythm to include fairly complex rhyming schemes, the way certain syllables are stressed depending on what sort of beat one is working off of, changes in timbre, tone and volume of the delivery, how the transitions between one line and the next are treated as well as complex uses of literary devices like alliteration and other forms of wordplay. Some metal vocalists may be more considerate of the rhythmical nature of the music they're vocalizing on top of (like Jens Kidman from Meshuggah for example) but there is still a clear difference between extreme metal vocals (in general) and rap in terms of how this idea of cadence or flow is treated.

I think those Stuck Mojo songs are actually good examples of the things I don't like about rapped vocals applied in the metal context. There's something to be said about an economy of space, knowing when to speak and when to let the music speak for you. I'm not at all a fan of songs where the vocalist is basically talking over the riff, and those songs are guilty as sin of that IMO. I also don't like the delivery of the vocals at all, but that's a separate issue. Contrast that with this Enforced song, where the vocalist picks his spots to come in and doesn't detract from the riffs. You can say there's some awareness of the rhythmical dimension of the riffs on his part, but he's using the vocals to complement them rather than trying to be the central focus of the song...

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that rap/hip-hop evolved as a fairly vocal-centric style of music, where the beats are there for the MC to play off or play around with rather than necessarily being an end unto themselves. Obviously, you can have instrumental hip hop where they get showcased in much more detail, but in general, the emphasis is on the vocals rather than the background instrumentation. With metal, I don't really need the vocals to take center stage all the time, and there needs to be some recognition as to when to back off and let the rest of the band do their job. One of the most important aspects of rap is being able to maintain a flow, and I think that works counter to what I'd ideally want the vocals to do in the context of metal. That doesn't necessarily mean that vocalists can't take inspiration from rap (like, for example, what Oli from Archspire is doing, although IMO he's growling really fast rather than rapping), but the use of rap in a metal context is not something I'm favorably inclined towards.


Well, there are as many ways of doing things as there are bands. There's room for vocal-driven ones, instrument-driven ones, and ones that mix it up. Stuck Mojo has plenty of tracks with more band-focused moments, even some instrumentals. And of course there's a difference in how vocals are used in hip-hop vs. extreme metal, it's just a question of what elements can be ported over successfully, and that takes a lot of experimentation to figure out. If you don't like the way Bonz approaches it, their second vocalist Lord Nelson had a somewhat more conventional hip-hop flow, though your mileage may vary there as well. They're just the band that has mixed the elements the best so far to my ears.

acid_bukkake wrote:
LithoJazzoSphere wrote:
The only key difference between Fozzy and Stuck Mojo has been the vocals (Chris Jericho vs. Bonz/Lord Nelson), and the former is archived. I've said for years that Stuck Mojo is best described as "Pantera with rapping," and Bud Fontsere's transitions from break beat to steady double kick with Rich Ward's clear Dimebag worship were beautiful at their peak.


Feeding into their fictional backstory, Fozzy's early albums have covers of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Dio and such, sometimes played faster and heavier than the originals, so that makes it more obvious. SM is usually a bit slower and groovier, which I guess makes it a tad more ambiguous. They are quite heavy (especially for the time) and riff-based though, and months ago I searched and couldn't even find an official explanation or anything, so I've been puzzled. I'd say that Rich and Dime are more of contemporaries though. While I'm sure he's quite fond of Dime's playing (and Wylde's, for that matter), SM were already starting to release demos in '90, before CFH was even out, so while some of his later efforts may be inspired by him, he'd already put in plenty of his own work before then.


Last edited by LithoJazzoSphere on Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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DeadKid
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:51 am
Posts: 244
Location: New Zealand
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 2:35 am 
 

BastardHead wrote:
I think part of the problem might be how a lot of people (metalheads especially, though this is mostly speculation) seem to think of rapping as "rhythmic talking", which is really reductive and completely breezes over the entire concept of flow. There's more to rapping than rhythmic mastery. 12tone has a good video about it. I think the few legit metal bands I've heard that tried to implement rapping have completely blown it due misunderstanding this.

That's a great video, but even the oldest hip-hop with the most basic of rhymes tends to be enjoyable, so 'rhythmic talking' could be too. I think the problem with rap metal is almost always in the metal part of the equation. The metal used seems too much like very basic nu metal, or just doesn't sound how I'd want it to sound.

I'm very picky about what metal bands I like, and I'm even that much more picky when it comes to rap groups. The latter isn't such an issue though as I tend to like gangsta rap delivered with deeper, angry vocals, which fits with typical rap metal. But still, the chance of a band nailing both for me is extremely slim. The one rap metal song I consider a favourite is 16 Stone Pig by One Minute Silence. It's a rather unusual song that spends the majority of its length building up:

Spoiler: show

This song that's more rock/punk also comes to mind: Homosaurus Rap by The Warners. They decided to mock rap by rapping back at it, which is quite mindboggling when you think about it:

Spoiler: show

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