Why Jazz Hop Music Works


Harbor LP Album cover from tomppabeats.bandcamp.com

With the modern age hailing a multitude of entertainment at our phones and laptop screens, it’s hard to decipher what really defines a “young person” of the 21st century. A common trope that music has been dealing with since it’s advent warp with Soft Rock and Psychedelic music in the 1960’s, is that much of the older generations labeled their children’s music as “ignorant.”

Regardless of the time period, the audience exceeding their current time period typically weren’t ready for the next phase music took place in. This labeling happened when ‘Gangsta Rap’ railed throughout the 1990’s, as Thrash Metal was deemed “satanic” throughout the 1980’s, and currently as Drill music is looked down upon as “Mumble Rap.”

Now with the internet introducing many more forms of genres and experimentation, there are just one too many ways to look at a “young people’s” music.

Jazz music has always been stipulated as “laid-back” or “cool.” The smooth tunes of the arcane brass and string instruments emit a softening or calming aura in almost any room, regardless of the circumstances. As for Hip-Hop music, it’s fixation could vary in terms of its purpose.

Each decade after the 1960’s held different torches for Hip-Hop music, as the genre went through its “break dance” phase, evolved into its prominently lyrical phase, then took twists and turns that share way too many respective paths. In the earlier days of Hip-Hop, producers took the chance of reworking their parents’ boring Jazz records and flipped them into something new.

As a result, Hip-Hop introduced the works of Miles Davis and Bobby Hutcherson to the youth, without them really noticing it. As an example, the legendary song “Electric Relaxation” sampled Blue Note Records organist, Ronnie Foster.

Video uploaded by TheCrunchySopa (YouTube)

Ever since the death of an infamous Disc Jockey and producer hailing from Japan in 2010, Seba Jun, many musical laureates and listeners have been adamant to let his legacy die with him. Back in 2011, once I’ve become a huge fanatic of his work, I’ve started to witness more beat makers and home musicians create Nujabes-influenced works throughout SoundCloud and Bandcamp.

As the years passed by and digital streaming became the next phase in musical evolution, the sub-genre only grew stronger in numbers. The term “Jazz Hop” was floating around on the internet, as obscure mixes on YouTube began to appear and grow in numbers. These mixes consisted of minute-long Hip-Hop instrumentals, typically warped from Jazz or older Soul records.

The beats were nice, simple without monotony, but mostly, meditative. As these mixes grew in number, so did the movement. Each of these playlists held a different number of producers, all with similar moods.

These odd mixes soon grew in popularity and traversed expectations for underground Hip-Hop. Many of these mixes grew their viewer count into millions, as some of them even dedicate a 24/7 live streaming of these beats. The reliance on the mixes grew large in number in a short span a couple of years. How could a genre boost so much awareness, yet surpass the threshold of the common attention?

The youth, especially students, use these mixes and live streams as a certain tool. Such as how they were taught that Classical or Jazz music could be used to deepen concentration for studying and homework, Jazz Hop proved to have the same effect.

When someone needs concentration to pursue their activity, it helps to activate background noise to cancel out any potential distractions. Students who sit in their school library with their earphones on are most likely listening to Jazz Hop music.

With all the distractions permeating the lives of the 21st century, it’s nice to block the conscious obstacles with some tunes that mean no harm, straighten your focus, and melodically instill you in meditation.

Video uploaded by Chillhop Music (YouTube)

Another plausible observation is how tranquil it could be at times to just sit back and play some smooth tunes. Although music has enhanced in quality ever since the 1960’s, much of the consumer’s attention to music reigns in the heaviness or loudness of the sound.

The loudness serves to entice the nerves and electrify the senses, but too much of anything can be bad for you. Jazz Hop music serves to sedate and pacify the mind. In the age where an unlimited amount of information is on nearly everyone’s fingertips, where gossip runs amok and rage becomes a constant reverie, music like this serves to momentarily escape from those tribulations.

Beat makers such as Limes, Wun Two, and tomppabeats understand how to create tranquil beats. Their taste in Soul music along with their added flare from their MPCs makes for a humanized form of escapism.

There aren’t any lyrics about flaunting, violence, relationships, or turbulence. These are simple instrumentals that just reach the soul without any articulation or dialogue. Jazz Hop works because of how it could calm down our youth, or allow them to concentrate on their activity. It pleases them in ways where even their favorite Rap bangers or EDM raves wouldn’t.

Which only serves to show that the sub-genre isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.


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