Telling the story of hip-hop's most important artists, songs, albums, or beats used to seem a lot easier.
You had traditionalists and the more adventurous. You had The Source and Vibe. You had the New Yorkers and you had the kids from California. There were arguments, and there were debates. But things still seemed a lot simpler then.
At least, it's easy for things to look that way now. Of course, both then and now, there were as many stories as their were people to experience them. The difference is that everyone's experience of everything is so much more public with the advent of social media. Suddenly, the straightforwad history of hip-hop is fractured, drawn along stylistic, regional, and class lines. All of a sudden, we realize there is rap that appeals to lots of different people out there.
This goes for beats, in particular. There are millions of rap beats in existence. And they often serve different purposes. A beat that works in a strip club in Atlanta might not work the same on headphones in New York, or in a car's stereo in Texas.
We recently published a list of the 25 Best Hip-Hop Beats of the Last 5 Years. It was controversial, of course; these things are by definition. But it made us think about the truly huge range of stylistic possibilities hip-hop has created. We felt that needed to be explored a little more, by looking at some of the genre's most underrated beats.
These beats might make your lungs collapse: 10 Underrated Beats From the Last 5 Years.