When Lil Uzi Vert was a guest on New York’s Hot 97 with Ebro Darden this past February, he shifted into view a different focal point of Hip-Hop. “You see me, bro --- I’m a rock star. I’m not rapping on that type of stuff.” Lil Uzi Vert refused to freestyle for Ebro, an exercise he uses on all MC’s on his show, leaving Ebro in bitterness and disbelief. “I’m telling you right now, you pull up one of them old beats, I’m not rapping on it,” Vert said. When asked to list his main influences, Vert replied Marilyn Manson and Gg Allin. Vert's self-proclaimed rock star image has gained him a massive fan base and even

When asked to list his main influences, Vert replied Marilyn Manson and Gg Allin.

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Vert's self-proclaimed rock star image has gained him a massive fan base and even secured him a spot on 2017's Coachella lineup. Vert's inability to connect to “old beats” demonstrates the next generational divide in the genre. While Kanye was technically the first rapper to call himself a rockstar in 2013, the Rock influence among upcoming rappers such as XXXTENTACION, and Ski Mask The Slump God, has never been stronger.

Who is XXXTENTACION?

XXL Magazine announced their 2017 freshmen class on Tuesday, and while Vert was in the 2016 class, the Rock and Roll image that he portrays has taken a serious hold on this year’s class. Rapper XXXTENTACION was the tenth, and final, pick for this year’s incoming class. X exploded on the scene when Drake supposedly stole his flow for the song “KMT,” but as X’s song “#Look At Me!” has slowly climbed the Billboard charts, listeners can hear a dark, almost gothic rock influence.

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“That little b****h got her throat (expletive), I like to rock out like I’m misfits, my emo b***h like her wrist slit,” the rapper screams on the 2-minute track. The untamed subwoofer bass, along with the beats piercing high hat, causing X to almost crumble beneath the sheer weight of the songs wobbly instrumental. The aggressive force that “Look At Me!” carries demonstrates a new, rock out persona taking over hip-hop.

Who is Ski Mask the Slump God?

Underground rapper Ski Mask The Slump God, a personal friend of XXXTENTACION, exemplifies a similar rock and roll influence in his music. The track “Off The Wall,” features a low, almost ghostly groan, with abrasive high hats and a deep bass. It sounds as if Slipknot tried their hand at producing instrumentals. With lyrics like “(expletive) on your mommy, my flow be sick like that b***h gotta vomit,” Ski Mask The Slump God is another rapper who’s obsession with the dark and grotesque has captivated a growing number of fans.

What’s the wave all about?

With rappers of a darker caliber growing in popularity, the personal demons of these artists seem to be at the forefront of their image, which has proven to be controversial.

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While notoriety and Hip-Hop have always gone hand in hand, critics have been reacting differently to the infamy attached to these young rappers.

On October 8 of last year, XXXTENTACION was arrested on charges of “aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering.” X’s allure began to grow as he sat in prison, with Lil Uzi Vert tweeting “free the xxxster,” in addition to other rappers calling for his release. While many expected X’s lukewarm career to diminish after his alleged assault, it only grew at a wildfire pace after his indictment. While in confinement, X met Ski Mask, who was serving time for gun charges, according to X himself.

On June 7, in a separate incident, X was knocked out unconscious at a San Diego show, with the scuffle that ensued leading to a concertgoer getting stabbed and put in the hospital. “How does it feel knowing your friend might die tonight because of you?” X said on Snapchat following the assault. The Observatory in Santa Anna, California later postponed X’s appearance amid “violence” and “security concerns” at the venue. Even amidst the chaos, X, and Ski Mask The Slump God have not lost their traction to fame. While notoriety of this caliber has only helped rappers in the past, critics worry for the teenage kids who might idolize these artists. In an interview with XXL, Ski Mask said, “I want to be the next problem. People are gonna see, and then they’re gonna have no choice but to give in...like if you can’t beat em, join em. Me and X are about to break the world this year.”

Even so, they’re rocking out!

Controversy aside, the break from tradition these new wave rappers represent is a sign of the times. Lil Yachty, the bubbliest of these new artists, has refused to call himself a rapper and even sparred with hip-hop veteran Joe Budden over the meaning of life. “I just want to have fun,” Yachty has said on multiple occasions.

The values that Yachty expresses hold true for X, Lil Uzi Vert, and Ski Mask. Each artist doesn’t look upon Hip-Hop’s forefathers for inspiration, they instead plan on being that inspiration. When Ebro first asked Lil Uzi Vert to freestyle, he reacted “lemme hear [the beat] and I’ll let you know...my fans won’t be disappointed, they’ll get it...your fans will be disappointed tho, all the old guys.” While Rock and Hip-Hop have never seen eye to eye in terms of musicality, the future looks bright for those who have craved that partnership. #Hip Hop