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Rap Is Going Through Its Emo Phase Now

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Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 10.49.59 AM

Push me to the edge,
All my friends are dead,
Push me to the edge,
All my friends are dead

She say I’m insane, yeah,
I might blow my brains out

Xanny help the pain now,
Please, Xanny make it go away,
I’m committed not addicted,
But it keep control of me,
All the pain now I can’t feel it,
I swear that it’s slowin me

No, that’s not the from the diary of an emotional 6th grader wearing a trench coat. Those are some of the lyrics from rapper Lil Uzi Vert’s hit single XO Tour Llif3. I know it sounds like something an angry, suburban white kid would carve into his wrist while screaming “I HATE THIS TOWN” at his stepdad, but it’s not. It’s from one of the best rap songs of the year.

Rap music seems to be going through its emo phase and it’s pretty interesting to witness. XO Tour Llif3 has been one of the most popular songs out for quite some time, and it bangs pretty damn hard. The hard-hitting lyrics mixed with his emotionally exhausted and mumbly delivery gives it a uniquely catchy yet oddly stressful vibe. The song is popular because it’s a damn good song. But its popularity is also indicative of a bigger trend. Rap is emo as fuck now.

Drake kinda played a role in laying the groundwork of making it cool to be an overly emotional pussy (FINALLY). Kid Cudi played a role, too, with his lonely stoner style and apathy towards conforming to norms. But emo rap is growing up now. It went from being an adorable kid to a frustrated teenager who wears black fingerless gloves and a My Chemical Romance backpack while jotting down cheesy poetry in the back of algebra class.

Back when he was the biggest and most controversial star among angry suburban moms, Eminem used his visceral angst to draw listeners in. Using his music as a journal to document his problems in very non-vague ways. We all feel like we know Eminem. We don’t just know his life story, we know the names of his family. We know his mother Debbie, with whom he had a turbulent (and downright horrifically dark) relationship with until they finally made peace on his 2013 song Headlights. We know the name of his ex-wife Kim who he fantasizes about stabbing to death (he’s a real hopeless romantic, that Marshall). We know the names of his daughters, Hailie, Whitney and Lainey, and we’re TERRIFIED for the guys they end up dating that have to deal with one of the scariest dads on Earth.

Even 2pac showed his emo side from time to time. And Kanye’s 808’s & Heartbreak turned him into a depressed robot. All of this paved the way for dudes like Drake, Kid Cudi, and now Lil Uzi Vert. Just look at rap new’s polarizing star Xxxtentaction. Obviously, he has the worst rap name of all time and even HE doesn’t know how to pronounce it. But his new album 17 is a good indicator of the direction rap is going. The whole damn thing sounds like a suicide note that accidentally rhymes.

I don’t think the phase is permanent. Rock went through an emo phase, too. Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte and (ESPECIALLY) Simple Plan, among others, taught suburbia the value of crying in the shower for five hours and hating your loving parents for no reason. What’s interesting about XO Tour Llif3 is that when you read the lyrics, it could easily be a 2000s pop punk song. Rock band Fame On Fire recorded a pop punk cover of it and it totally works. Even Jay-Z, the richest man in the galaxy with the hottest wife of all time, found reasons to get sad on his newest release 4:44.

In rap culture, it’s dope to be sad now. So ditch the baggy pants and backwards hat and replace them with overly tight jeans and social anxiety. Rap is gonna be emo for a few years. It’s gonna scream “IT’S NOT JUST A PHASE, MOM” while it listens to Blink 182 and complains about conformists. It’s gonna carve a frowny emoji on its knee with its dad’s razor. It’s gonna post Kurt Cobian quotes on its MySpace page.

Don’t worry, it is just a phase.

Image via Youtube

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Wally Bryton

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