Music genres are an ever-changing, always evolving phenomenon. What often breaks the mold and boundaries are the artists who dare to push the envelope, showing us how limiting and constrictive genres can be. Some music simply doesn’t fit into restrictive boxes like indie, pop, jazz and rap.
Many artists blend such an array of sound, it’s hard to pinpoint where they sit within a particular genre. For decades, musical artists have attempted new and unique sounds by blending, what would seem like, incompatible genres with unusual instruments or awkward arrangements.
Some examples of this span the expanse of modern music like Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Frank Zappa, Queen, The Fugees and Jay-Z. Bands like Aerosmith and Run DMC as well as Public Enemy and Anthrax were the forebears of mixing metal and rap that made way for bands like Linkin Park.
The following is a short and sweet list of newer artists you can’t relegate to any single genre:
Since 2015, Fetty Wap reached fame with his debut, “Trap Queen,” which features trap, rap, hip hop and pop amid accents of grunge metal guitar. Gucci Mane is his main influence and Fetty Wap is gaining popularity due to his genre-blending style with a building number of awards. So, there is not one classification to define what genre is Fetty Wap.
Twenty One Pilots
This dynamic duo, called Twenty One Pilots, gained fast success after their 2012 debut album, “Vessel.” This yielded several singles going platinum like “House of Gold,” “Car Radio” and “Holding on to You.”
But the album “Blurryface” is what propelled them to stardom in 2015. While playing around their home town, Columbus, Ohio, they absorbed the influences of the shows they played at. So their style incorporates a lot of metal, electronic, pop and hip hip in a unique style all their own.
Joël is pretty new to the music world but has made quite an impression in the four years he’s been on the scene. With songs like “Vent” and “Type,” Joël displays a fusion of R;B with gospel and grunge.
This Canadian-born artist takes influences from growing up in the church along with bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Jazmine Sullivan, Post Malone, J. Moss, Kim Burrell, and H.E.R, to name a few. He’s definitely attempting to create his own genre with the album, “Gospel Grunge.”
Learning piano since four years old in New York, Spencer takes a lot of his influences through his father’s exposure of R;B and gospel. Signed onto 4D records and millions of Spotify streams later, Spencer not only hopes to entertain people but also inspire others to create music.
Songs like “Automatic” and “Maybe” display his musical talent that combines a myriad of genres like R;B, hip hop and indie rock amid off-kilter beats, creative bass and rare guitar riffs.
Since 2016, Jelani Aryeh is notorious for being a star on the rise. Her blend of R;B and hip hop with personal anecdotes, raw emotion and powerful vocals bring a sound all her own. She’s influenced by Frank Ocean, BROCKHAMPTON and Odd Future. Her amazing musical abilities are undeniable in songs like “Decide” and “Union Station.”
So much music, so little time to listen to it all. Artists pushing the boundaries of the “acceptable” restrictive boxes genre classifications present deserve a tip of the hat. It’s these kinds of musicians that not only make music a never-ending adventure for the ears but also produce new kinds of genres to capture hearts and imaginations.