Alternative hip hop  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Alternative hip hop (also known as alternative rap) is a genre that is defined in greatly varying ways. All Music Guide defines it as follows:

Alternative Rap refers to Hip-Hop groups that refuse to conform to any of the traditional stereotypes of rap, such as gangsta, bass, hardcore, and party rap. Instead, they blur genres, drawing equally from funk and pop/rock, as well as jazz, soul and reggae.

Stephen Rodrick cites Arrested Development, Basehead, and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy as examples of such "alternative" hip-hop. In the mid 90's labels such as Rawkus Records and others had mainstream success with alternative rap acts such as Jurassic 5, Brand Nubian, Black Star, Mos Def, Common, Kanye West, The Roots, De La Soul, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Funkdoobiest, Skee-Lo, Fort Minor and Pharoahe Monch.

Rodrick writes that alternative hip-hop has "drawn little more than barely concealed yawns from other rappers and urban audiences". Heywood and Drake counter that "making rap music that appeals to mass audiences isn't simply about selling out", stating that alternative hip-hop is an attempt to counter the association that much of the mass market has between (mainstream) hip-hop music and violence, giving as an example the "Smokin' Grooves Tour" of 1996 (featuring Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, The Fugees, Nas, Ziggy Marley, and Busta Rhymes — all of whom, with the exception of reggae singer Marley, are hip-hop performers who "don't fit the mold of gangsta rap"). Alternative acts have also begun in Latin America, with the rise of Cuban hip-hop group, the Orishas and Puerto Rican hip-hop duo Calle 13.

The Damon Albarn-led Gorillaz project has brought alternative hip hop to worldwide attention, working with producers Dan the Automator and Danger Mouse, and featuring De La Soul and Del tha Funky Homosapien.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Alternative hip hop" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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