Trip Hop: Influence Of Electronic Music Beyond Boundaries
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Trip Hop: Influence Of Electronic Music Beyond Boundaries

A look at the brief peak of trip-hop in mainstream culture.

When people talk about their favorite music genre, answers vary. Yet, they usually aim to one of two directions. Either to a rock & roll kind of genre, or an electronic-based genre. Though, not many people will end up saying; “Trip Hop”.

Sitting firmly on the electronic side of music, trip hop is one of the most unique of genres. Beginning in the early 90’s, it blends England’s house and hip hop scenes. Adding hints of acid jazz and psychedelic rock, all into a down tempo, chill-out vibe. Being influenced by the Bristol Underground, trip-hop spread all round Europe by the decade’s close. With such a fusion of groovy genres, they all get blurred into one cool whole.

As DJ'ing and MC'ing were emerging during the 80’s, electronic genres were reaching prominence in culture. Hip hop and reggae became popular, reaching mainstream consciousness. Towards the end of the decade, Massive Attack signed their first record deal. Starting off as The Wild Bunch, they helped kick start what would become trip hop.

Opening with their debut Blues Lines, they reached enormous success upon its release in 1991. Tracks were seen to be unique to the British hip hop scene, although not in any conventional way. By the time of their sophomore project Protection, they became influenced by also the dance scene of the time. The re-mix of all these genres, with a down tempo beat, expanded to the mainstream. Musical acts like Howie B, Naked Funk and Portishead have all played their own part growing this genre.

Massive Attack’s rapper Tricky, formerly Tricky Kid, released his debut solo record. As oppose to the ubiquitous rapping style hip hop tends to have, his vocals were whispered. His lyrics come almost like murmuring, in an abstract stream-of-consciousness way. After that success, he helped produce alongside new acts and bands.

After trip hop’s dizzying peak, many bands surfaced as post-trip-hop. Bands, such as Morcheeba, Cibo Matto and Sneaker Pimps, pushed trip hop into jazz, R&B, ambient, amongst other genres. Though the term trip hop was coined as Massive Attack were rising, post-trip-hop was not acknowledged until 2002. It was not until newspaper The Independent coined it for Second Person, and their distinctive hybrid sound. Through diversity of genre influences, trip hop was becoming not as dark as its initial years.

Trip hop has gone onto influence as many genres as genres influenced it. Progressive rock, psychedelic rock, and even industrial genres were influenced by trip hop. For a relatively contemporary genre, it sure has turned music as a whole on its head.

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