Cloud rap

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Cloud rap (also known as trillwave[3] or based music)[4] is a microgenre[5][6] of hip hop music. It is typically characterized by its "hazy", lo-fi production.


The production of cloud rap music has been described as "hazy", often including "ethereal vocal samples" and the "aesthetics of bedroom electronic producers".[7] In a 2010 article, Walker Chambliss presumed that the term was invented by music writer Noz while interviewing rapper Lil B, but the interview in question did not actually include the phrase.[8] Cloud rap artists have been noted to employ "chant-like" vocal samples, as to create a "surreal" effect.[9] According to Nico Amarca of Highsnobiety, the genre was initially defined by the use of "nonsensical catchphrases and Twitter baits", as to parody and embrace internet culture, from which it was created.[9] Amarca also believed Yung Lean to have changed cloud rap through his "melancholic, dreamy rapping".[9] According to FACT, the genre describes "pretty much any lo-fi, hazy rap that makes its way to the net". Although the term "Cloud rap" has only existed since 2010, lo-fi production in Hip-hop can be traced as far back as underground Memphis Hip-hop from the 1990s.[8]

Producer Clams Casino has been credited as pioneering the cloud rap sound as early as 2010,[7] but the general sound predates to 2006, with Viper's second album, Ready... and Willing - and especially his fifth from 2008, You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack.[10] Phonk, which was popularized by SpaceGhostPurrp takes a lot from underground Memphis Hip-hop from the '90s which was first known to have lo-fi production in Hip-hop. The genre garnered mainstream attention when rapper A$AP Rocky debuted in 2011.[9] Cloud rap has gotten popular on the "blogosphere", but its general interest has waned.[9] ASAP Rocky's Live. Love. A$AP and Long.Live.A$AP have been described as cloud rap.[9] [example's importance?] Walker Chambliss, also known as Walkmasterflex, released 3 Years Ahead: The Cloud Rap Tape, which FACT described as defining for the genre.[8]


The Characteristics of Cloud Rap is similar to lo-fi and chillwave type beats but strays from those styles with the emphasis on distorted, psychedelic samples and the inclusion of rap, which both lo-fi and chillwave traditionally lack.[11] Cloud Rap lyrics usually revolve around themes of love and betrayal but this isn't always the case.[12] Cloud Rap is unique as it was internet born and its simplicity allows for amateur producers to create cloud rap beats. Cloud rap tempos can range between 80 to 160 BPM.


Cloud rap originated as in the late 2000s as a subgenre of southern rap and trap music that came out of Atlanta, Houston, and Memphis.[11]

Cloud rap lyrics cover a wide range of topics and ideas such as sex and drugs in the lyrics of ASAP Rocky, while Swedish producer and rapper Yung Lean focuses on topics like depression and loneliness.[11] Internet rapper Lil B may have been the first to coin the phrase "cloud rap".[11]

Artist and producers[edit]

Notable artists of cloud rap include ASAP Rocky, especially his album Long. Live. ASAP.[9] Playboi Carti, Main Attrakionz and Nacho Picasso have also been described as cloud rap artists because of the dreamy landscape beats in their music.[7]


  1. ^ a b "The history of cloud rap | Red Bull Music". Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  2. ^ says, Chris Ellenwood (10 April 2017). "I write raps not tragedies: Finally! The emo-goth-rap hybrid you didn't realise you were waiting for is here".
  3. ^ Colly, Joe (29 March 2012). "Wiz Khalifa: Taylor Allderdice Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  4. ^ Lindsay, Drew (July 1, 2016). "WHY LIL B IS ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL RAPPERS ALIVE". Paper. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  5. ^ Friedlander, Emilie; McDermott, Patrick D. (October 8, 2015). "A Recent History of Microgenres". The Fader.
  6. ^ Marcus, Ezra (May 12, 2017). "Wave Music Is a Marketing Tactic, Not a Microgenre". Vice.
  7. ^ a b c Kramer, Kyle (June 3, 2016). "Collect This Rare Clams Casino and Lil B Interview About the New Clams Casino Album '32 Levels'". Noisey. Vice Media. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "The FACT Dictionary: How dubstep, juke, cloud rap and other genres got their names". Fact. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Amarca, Nico (25 June 2015). "Cloud Rap: The Spacey, Cyber-Born Hip-Hop Subgenre". Highsnobiety. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Chamber 38 releases You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack by Viper". Sunbleach. 2017-01-01. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  11. ^ a b c d Retrieved 2020-04-03. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Cloud Rap: The Spacey, Cyber-Born Hip-Hop Subgenre". Highsnobiety. 2015-06-25. Retrieved 2020-04-03.