For the first 19 years of my life, hip-hop and R&B were a staple into my musical diet. It was really all I knew. During this time, EDM, or electronic dance music (if you’re still unfamiliar with the term for some reason), had been like a foreign language to me. I just didn’t get it or the raves and festivals that came with it. It wasn’t until I spontaneously attended my first event, Hard Day of the Dead in Pomona, California in 2014, where I found myself exposed to EDM. And to my surprise, the one thing that I still remember from that day was something I hadn’t expected: Calvin Harris creatively blending EDM and hip-hop into his set.
On that day, I realized that those two genres just went together like pizza and pineapple: things that sound totally different but just worked well together for many people.
Today’s EDM scene has found itself immersed into the hip-hop sound, especially in the last 5 years. Find yourself at EDC or Ultra Music Festival and you’re bound to be given a healthy dose of the hottest hip-hop tracks in most performances.
It goes as far back as 2013, when ASAP Rocky and Skrillex collaborated for “Wild for the Night.” The track peaked at 80 on Billboard’s Hot 100. And of course, we all know the recognizable hit by Lil Jon and DJ Snake, “Turn Down For What.” It’s pretty self-explanatory on how much that song blew up.
But to keep things a little more relevant to today’s time, consider a few recent collaborations between DJs and hip-hop artists.
In 2017, the late XXXTentacion linked up with Diplo (who happens to be 1 part of Jack U, a duo that consists of he and Skrillex) that resulted in “Looking For A Star.” The track begins with a familiar melody of XXXTentacion singing. But it’s not until the drop of the song where you begin to hear the intertwining of hip-hop and EDM in one. Take a listen for yourself.
Earlier this year and we find another collaboration involving Diplo that gets heads bobbing. Featured on the soundtrack for “Deadpool 2,” Diplo brings French Montana and Lil Pump on board to create “Welcome To The Party.” The trap vibes are clearly imminent and mesh together extremely well. It’s a reliable banger to bump for any turn up.
Even Lil Yachty took to his Twitter to express his interest in getting in on an EDM track.
But moving on from the collaborations are remixes from DJs, most of whom are producers as well. Remixes in EDM are essentially when you take an original track from another artist and tweak it to your own style, whether it be adding, rearranging, chopping or cutting sounds. This is a more frequent occurrence in the EDM.
One of the most popular trap DJs today is RL Grime and he’s had his hands all over the the hip-hop scene as well. Not only do his original tracks resemble hip-hop, but his work has done enough to catch the attention of Torey Lanez. They’ve worked together to release “In For It” in 2015 and most recently, “Undo Me.” RL Grime is a heavy influence in the EDM/trap scene today and another example of the blending of both genres.
Another huge standout is an artist by the name of YehMe2. Formerly one half of the trap DJ duo Flosstradamus, YehMe2 has remixed singles from Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Drake and many more to go along with his original work.
Known for his trap-like percussion and drops, YehMe2’s love for hip-hop and rap have heavily influenced his music and set lists. In an interview with FUXWITHIT, the Chicago-based DJ/producer talked about straying away from the pop sound that’s also prominent in today’s EDM, sticking to a hip-hop style of producing.
Just take a look at his live performance out in Los Angeles last October. He opens up with Kanye’s “Flashing Lights,” leading into Skrillex’s remix of Kendrick’s “Humble.”
This performance and the artists mentioned are only a taste of EDM and hip-hop’s marriage. That alone symbolizes the door opening for fans of both genres to be one and to be open with different types of music.
Of course, how good a song or mix of tracks sounds is solely up to you. Coming from somebody who disliked EDM and grew up on nothing but rap and hip-hop, I’ve found myself keeping up with today’s top DJs because of that festival in 2014. The wave of prominent artists in the EDM world beginning to migrate in the hip-hop direction is only more of a reason to enjoy EDM and its subcategories like trap, dubstep and house.
The relationship between EDM and hip-hop is nothing new. Then again, if you think about it, weren’t DJs originally derived from hip-hop? It’s sort of like the circle of life doing it’s thing and redirecting the art of DJing back to its roots.
So instead of looking at these two genres as two totally different things, let’s just take a look at hip-hop blended with EDM as a long overdue homecoming that’s creating limitless opportunities not only for artists to produce but for fans to discover new music as well.