Rap-Metal Is Back...and It's Actually Good

Categories: Hip-Hop, Metal

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Press photo
Body Count, who performed last night at Mayhem Fest, are a shining example of this unexpected phenomenon.
Metal is an ever-turning and twisting genre, following wormholes into subgenres and melding any and all techniques and sounds along the way in a constant struggle to create something new and original. It doesn't always work, and anyone who lived through the '90s can attest that the addition of hip-hop elements like rapping and turntables were a serious low point.

Except now we have a whole generation who grew up on that music and wants to give it another whirl. You can find bands like Whitechapel and Suicide Silence admitting how much their sound is indebted to Korn and Slipknot, while others are even busting out those turntables again.

There's a difference this time, though. Insane as it may sound to say it, now it's working.

I'll be the first to slam '90s rap-metal. Even those who hand in inventing it, like Mike Patton of Faith No More, came out strongly against it; he famously once said, "Don't blame me for that shit." Yet his part in its creation is undeniable thanks to the massive success that was "Epic."

And "Epic," along with various other experiments in the idea, like Sonic Youth's "Kool Thing" with Chuck D, Anthrax and Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise," and Run DMC's version of "Walk This Way," proved that the idea could work. It just...didn't.

As bands copied the idea, not just collaborating with rappers but making it a vital part of their sound as rappers and DJs became full-fledged members, it became increasingly trite and awful. You may feel nostalgic for Linkin Park, but go listen to Hybrid Theory again. It was shit. Search your feelings; you know it to be true.

But here we are in 2014, and that generation who grew up on that kind of music, who have been influenced by it and are unashamedly fans of it, are now creating. The most bizarre thing is that they're creating well.

Maybe it's because of how far metal has come since then. One of the most aggravating things about the original rap-metal movement was how it tried to combine bad rapping with bad Pantera-esque groove-metal riffage.

These new bands are drawing instead on death metal and technical metal influences to shape their riffs, and apparently have been paying attention to better rappers over the years. After all, rap has come a long way since the '90s, too.

Continue to page two.


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26 comments
ChrisXtopher Roles
ChrisXtopher Roles

Eh, Body Count isn't really that good. The vocals don't match well with the instrumentals. Maybe for a different type of intstrumentals, but to me it doesn't sound good. Rage Against the Machine, though, they killlllllled it.

Angel Dais
Angel Dais

Ice-T was so freakin' badass at Mayhem Festival!

Cee Major
Cee Major

Then you've come to the right place\U0001f633

Scott Cool
Scott Cool

What about an article on local black metal?

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

Ice t just talks he doesnt rap or sing. Lol

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

Body Count was shit then and its shit now...Main sales were from the controversy of the cop killer song. Album is fn horrid.

Bill Long
Bill Long

...and really. Ice T didn't rap metal Body Count up. That album was good old fashioned hardcore with a sprinkle of cheese dick ballads for good measure..who could forget this line: "you think it's a game that you play, but the winners lose it all some day".

Paula Williams
Paula Williams

I grew up in the 50's and 60's. I dislike rap. Too much talk of violence and bitches.

Bill Long
Bill Long

Dare I say: Rage Against The Machine? Loved them..and the first Body Count record with Cop Killer. That album is solid.

Wes Slocum
Wes Slocum

Linkin Park isn't rap-metal, they're alternative. And the only album the put out that was actually good, was Hybrid Theroy

Rich Wilson
Rich Wilson

Listened to Metallica , motley Crüe ,ozzy and that was considered metal also a faze of rap nwa , dre now alternative !!

James Muchow
James Muchow

I completely agree with the part about Falling in Reverse. Compete garbage. Limp Bizkit did have a couple of solid albums though.

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