Independent, but Never Alone: US Music Culture and Two International Trends
The United States is not the only player in the music industry. From classic additions to music history like 1987’s La Bamba all the way to 2017’s Despacito, international hits are no stranger to US pop culture. In the interest of keeping an eye out, here are a couple of international trends in music that may inspire or even disrupt US musical paradigms.
As first evidenced by 2018’s out-of-left-field hit Was Hast Du Gedacht (Translation: What Did You Think?), German rap is a serious contender for the R&B throne. Hamburg-based rapper Gzuz is all about controversy, and it doesn’t stop at titular sacrilege -- Was Hast Du Gedacht’s accompanying music video rapidly achieved viral YouTube status, wowing viewers with thuggish realism and terrifying depictions of, let us say, the legally-challenged lifestyle.
More recently, German rapper Capital Bra has topped Germany’s Billboard chart with his new, surprisingly melodic single Benzema, which appears to draw inspiration from traditional-Indian-sounding vocal patterns. In general, German’s tough, guttural enunciation and sliding “S” sounds are perfect for rap’s emphasis on hard rhythm and quick wordplay. Don’t be shocked to see more Deutsch rap making its way Stateside!
This one you have no doubt been noticing over time. Latin pop has swung its way into popular US music without complaints. In late 2018, Bad Bunny’s MIA, featuring Drake, was comfortably in Billboard's Hot 100s. Taki Taki, a collaboration by Selena Gomez and several other artists, is currently #4 in Spotify’s Hot 100 Global list. Likewise, Pedro Capo and Farruko’s Calma ranks high on that same list.
In fact, 2017’s Despacito, which we mentioned in our first paragraph, is just another example of Latin pop’s alluring beats -- and Americans seem hungrier for these all the time. Brush up on your Spanish if you want to stay afloat for the foreseeable future!
-- Drew Mortier