The lines between different genres of music are slimmer than ever, just ask Masego: an up and coming musician who coined the term “TrapHouseJazz.” Which is exactly what it sounds like.
If trap and house and jazz had a passionate night together; this funky jumble of smooth synth, rap, and the occasional sultry saxophone creates a mood unlike anything seen in music in the last decade. An amazing beat, a loop machine, a few perfectly timed adlibs are all it takes to conjure up images of classic nights, sexual freedom, and just a little bit of freak. The South Carolina native isn’t the only voice in music mussing up the boundaries and punching clean holes through the cubicle walls of musical genres.
Artists across the spectrum are dropping albums with an amalgam of influences, with each track whisking listeners off to a different era, part of globe, or side of the conversation.
This is an utterly freeing notion. Traditionally, the lines of genre have been used to package and square away musicians into perfect little boxes, leaving no creative wiggle room. Allow me to test out a bit of a ridiculous term here, but the “respectability clout” of certain genres of music (see: classical, opera) has often been treated as a glass ceiling of sorts by excluding any sort of atypical musician that doesn’t fit the bill. Seeing as how musicians are some of the first public figures to shatter societal norms for the sake of creative freedom, it’s fascinating that it took so long for a wave of awareness to sweep through the surprisingly small world of musicians and artists.
Don’t get me wrong, just because the collapse of the “genre” infrastructure is more visible than ever nowadays, doesn’t mean that artists haven’t been doing this for decades, especially artists of color.
Jazz, R&B, and rap were counter-establishment movements, born of the institutional racism and hardships black communities faced and still face. The conception of these genres –prompted by the lack of acceptance of musicians of color in mainstream spaces– were revolutions in their own right. The creation of these safe spaces in the musical world allowed artists of color to flourish and push even more boundaries. The anti-genre revolution of the last few years is only the natural progression of this boundary-pushing.
And it’s not just the newer, underground artists that are telling the world that the time musical classification is over. Even well-established, mainstream popstars like Shawn Mendes have spoken publicly about this phenomenon. If listeners aren’t confined to listening to one genre, then why should musicians be confined to making music in one genre? Musicians across the board are embracing this sentiment wholeheartedly because it’s a movement for everyone. Why toe-the-line, when you can erase it?