Tag Archives: No Genre

The Walking Billboard

What does music and fashion have in common?

Not much to be honest, other than the fact that they both are often classified as “art”

One thing that people often overlook about contemporary music artists are the amount of social media attention they get. Celebrities are constantly photographed, even when they are doing everyday normal things like shopping, eating, and driving around town.  In this way, many clothing companies use this to make these celebrities a walking billboard. If you pay attention to celebrity photographs, you will get the idea that because they are wealthy, they are able to afford designer clothing. Although there is some element of truth in this, most celebrities acquire their expensive clothing for a discounted rate or even free, just because companies know that photos of the celebrity wearing their clothing will be circulated online.

In this sense, celebrities are the new billboard. Sometimes, they are literally on billboards.

Moreover, music figures have started to use fashion as more of a reason for people/fans to look up to them as an icon. A great example is Harlem Rapper A$AP Rocky, who consistently talks about and gets interviewed about fashion, seen dressing well, and even raps about fashion. Here’s A$AP Rocky hit song “RAF” rapping about the designer brand Raf Simons.

More than this, many celebrities have started their own fashion lines/collaborations.

What’s the deal with this? Is musical fame new the key to blooming the talent for fashion design?

This is not just a coincidence. Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd, Young Thug, Rihanna, and many more celebrities have close ties with clothing brands in terms of collaboration and promotion.

Breaking this down, I think it is evident that being “cool” as a public figure is what makes fans/followers of that figure to consume their products and ideas. Many critics (and just normal people) initially saw Kanye West’s questionable clothing line and thought that his clothing looked “bummy.”

In a way I’d have to agree, but when we recognize that what is considered “good looking” in fashion, it is almost absolutely socially constructed. Of course certain patterns feel psychologically appealing, but fashion as something outside of covering our bodies is something that is based on status.

With this, Kanye Wests’ clothing line doesn’t look bummy, but it looks minimalist. In conjunction to what we wear, the face that you represent and the context of you as a person wearing the cloths you wear says something about your cloths. With this, I think Kanye is trying to pull of the “i’m so rich I can afford to look poor” kind of look.

 With this, I conclude that much of what high fashion is about nowadays is what brands cool people like to wear, which is overtaking the previous idea of what was considered cool. In this case, it was what the “rebels” wore such as skater wear.

In addition to this, I feel that it is worth noting that the influence of the internet is so great that high fashion is often recognised through how the brands are interpreted online through this “walking billboard” concept.

Pretty cool, in my opinion.

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Genre diversity in artists

In the contemporary world of music, I can think of endless examples of artists expanding their genre focus.  The best example I have for this point is one of my favourite artists of all time: Young Thug. 

To give some context to Young Thug, he started off (and still is for the most part) a trap music rapper. Gaining popularity from his hit single “Stoner”

Using his eccentric vocal abilities, Young Thug’s musical style is a bit ambiguous to start with. The most accurate articulation of Young Thug’s vocal style is best described by “The Fader” music magazine. They say that “in a typical Young Thug verse, he slurs, shouts, whines and sings, feverishly contorting his voice into a series of odd timbres like a beautifully played but broken wind instrument.”

Although his voice may not sound like the typical masculine voice you would hear in most trap songs, the themes that Young Thug explores in his music is very generic and similar to to the themes of most trap music. If you don’t know what these themes typically entail,  trap music usually explores themes such as violence, gloating about expensive material goods, money, coming from a dark place, sex, and objectifying women.

Listen to this song by Young Thug. It’s one of my favourites and exemplifies my following point very well. Oh, and you might want to see the lyrics since Young Thug is a bit hard to understand in a lyrical sense.

Young Thug’s mumbly style vocal style does not stop him from expanding his genre. Compare the following two songs and tell me if can identify what genre Young Thug belongs to as an artist.

Seeing Young Thug’s diversity in vocal delivery ability, I personally think that he should not be associated with any genre, and should simply seen as a singer.

What do you think?