Hip-hop is still a young genre and has been in a constant state of evolution since its birth, but right now feels like an especially exciting time for artists who blur lines. Artists are rethinking style, gender, and the genre itself, and the rule-breakers in hip-hop are winning right now.
Maybe it’s just a reflection of culture as a whole, but it’s also good timing for hip-hop in particular. Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Lil Wayne paved the way for a new class of forward-thinkers, and the kids who grew up listening to that music are now the ones making it. These are kids who were always open to other genres like pop, rock, and punk. They’re the kids who have been told it’s okay to be different, and taught that you can be cool and emotional at the same time. They’re the ones who look up to artists like Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug, and Chief Keef, who are still relatively young themselves but have already helped usher in a new wave.
For many young rappers exploring new territory, breaking the rules is the goal, but it still takes effort. For @ , a 19-year-old artist from Calumet Park, IL, it seems to be second nature. Juice WRLD takes some inspiration from rock and says Chief Keef and Chicago’s drill scene served as his main influence, but what he’s making now is a progressive combination of sounds and styles perfectly suited for 2018 and beyond.