Critical Criticism Of Modern Autotuned Mumble Rap

“Back in my day we had REAL music” Is the new generation of rap music harmful to its younger audience?

By: Bailen Hayford

“What I bump in my car was nothing like what you youngsters jam out to now,” I say with my best impression of an old man shaking his cane and shouting off his porch. I will proceed to criticize this new generation of autotuned mumble rap artists that is sweeping teenagers—they lack lyrical prowess and have a heavy reliance on autotune. Because of these two factors, I am confident that they are ruining the rap scene.

Modern autotuned mumble rap is a term I like to use to define what mainstream autotuned rap sounds like. This sound can be heard in songs like “Gucci Gang” by Lil Pump, “Poland” by Lil Yachty, and “Right Foot Dreap” by NBA Young boy. What these songs all have in common is a repetitive non-lyrical song. With Lil Pump’s song “Gucci Gang” the song consists of him saying Gucci gang 53 times in 2:03, along with vocals that are high-pitched and robot-like in their rhythm because of their overuse of autotune.

Autotuned mumble rap is destroying the rap genre because it is dismantling what made rap great – lyrical mastery. The triple entendre is one such example of lyrical mastery. In this rapping, a rapper uses wording that can be understood in three ways. Tyler the Creator said, “alcoholic way I handle the bars,” in which bars means drinking bars, rapping bars, and handlebars on a bike. In autotuned mumble rap it is not uncommon to repeat 10 words back to back to back to back and back again. The songs are repetitive and lack a soul. Another criticism of autotuned mumble rap is its heavy reliance on autotune to pick and change the rhythm of their voice. The rapper will step into the recording studio with no energy and trudge their way through a verse. When a top mumble rap artist is asked to freestyle live they will sound like an old man who lost his dentures asking his wife where his hearing aids are.

Rap is an integral part of a teenager’s life. And yet this autotuned mumble rap music is filled with references to drugs, money, and girls. In autotuned mumble rap music videos, scantily dressed women dance in the background while the rapper sits on top of a Rolls-Royce pressing stacks of money to his face. Now girls, money, and drugs aren’t any new references in rap but they weren’t always so prominent. Eminem has songs about how he wants a better life for his daughter, Ice Cube’s biggest song is about how no gang activity happened in a day, Kendric Lamar’s newest album is about his life experiences during his therapy, and Tupac, who Ice Cube and Snoop Dog say is the most gangster person they knew, has a verse where he says that a man has no say in whether a woman gets an abortion. These verses, songs, and albums are about hard-hitting subjects, yet autotuned mumble rap music is about money, drugs, and girls. Autotuned mumble rappers are gentrifying the gangster lifestyle of fast cars, big chains, gang killings, and hot girls. They do nothing to push our society for the better.