There’s a mutually beneficial relationship between rap and EDM. This shouldn’t come as a surprise – for every “Wild For The Night” (a star rapper getting an assist from a star DJ), there’s a song like Steve Aoki’s “Pursuit of Happiness” remix, a rap song warped by a DJ to better fit dance halls, or a complete collaborative EP between established genre stars. This reality is part of the reasoning behind the Steve Aoki/Waka Flocka bromance. The two have been on tour together (including an appearance at Ultra Music Festival), recently recorded “Rage The Night Away”, and from the sounds of this interview with HipHopDX they credit each other with a lot of their respective successes.
On EDM reinvigorating Waka’s career:
Waka Flocka Flame: Honestly? Steve put life back in me musically. I was disgusted with the politics and the people in general. It wasn’t the essence of music, just the people in it.
When I got to the Electronic world, it was just like, “Fuck everything. Just let it go.” So when I let it go, I was like, “Damn! This is it.” I had so much energy and so much love for Electronic Music, that it just put a spark back into my Hip Hop.
On trap, both as an EDM and a rap term:
Waka Flocka Flame: Trap? Man, that shit is crazy. I feel like genres got they own trap. When people say, “Trap,” they mean underground. It’s like a new word for underground music. So when I hard Trap/Electronic music, I was like, “What the fuck [laughs]? What is this?” Then I heard it.
This is how I found out about it: a producer named Mayhem did a song called “Brick Squad Anthem,” and I started getting booked for EDM shows. I’m like, “What the fuck is this? This is Techno.” But it wasn’t, because the beat was harder. I was fuckin’ confused until somebody broke it down to me and said, “Bro, this is EDM. This is Trap of Electronic.” I had to get down with it.
DX: What about you, Steve? You’ve previously pointed out how Trap has different BPM levels.
Steve Aoki: Yeah, what Waka’s talking about is funny, because Trap is a Hip Hop term. Electronic producers took it, and they called their music Trap taking from that term but without any vocals…
Waka Flocka Flame: That’s the most amazing thing about it…
Steve Aoki: Right. I think it was like you said, this kind of, “What the fuck?” reaction. I could see that happening, where people would go, “Wait, there’s no rapper on this shit? It’s just samples.” But now it’s turned the corner where it’s accepted…
The interview goes on and includes more insight into the ever-growing hybrid genre.
Again, dance music getting heavily integrated into rap and pop isn’t exactly news. Ryan wrote about it several years ago, and anybody who pays attention to what’s getting fed to us through commercials will recognize the style’s popularity.
Might as well embrace it. Rap fans have expressed their disinterest in the cross-polinization, but balk when EDM takes one of Hip-Hop’s actual stars and causes him/her to ditch a winning formula. If Kendrick decides to hang up his microphone in favor of a turntable and a laptop? Yeah, that would kinda suck. But we’re talking Waka Flocka, and as fun as DuFlocka Rant 2 was for all of us, he admits to having reached something of a creative ceiling. The high-energy sound that Aoki conjures befits an emcee as raucous as Flocka.
I’d rather see him do this branching out and explore something new than tread water with more of the same. And the way things would appear to be heading, it’d be smart to get used to the thought of Waka yelling over an Aoki beat. You don’t have to like it; just don’t act like it’s ruining anything.