Alternative Rap Essentials
As soon as hip-hop went mainstream, the avant-garde was there to subvert it. Emerging in the late '80s, the quirky samples, bohemian clothes, and introspective lyrics of the Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, and De La Soul would be the enduring landmarks of a hip-hop "alternative." The rise of the Fugees, The Pharcyde, and The Roots in the ’90s coincided with alternative rock's ascent. The '00s independent label boom boosted lateral thinkers like Madlib, El-P, Aesop Rock, J. Dilla, and MF Doom. And artists like Earl Sweatshirt, Kid Cudi, and Childish Gambino continue that trailblazing tradition today, changing style and sound from release to release.