Of all the genres that have emerged in the internet age, few are more actively online than hyperpop, digicore, and all of the subgenres that have emerged from the movement. But what is hyperpop and what do its artists do? This is a difficult question to answer. To put it simply, hyperpop is a meta commentary on pop music, accentuating the things we all associate with the genre (catchy hooks, repeatable melodies) but exaggerated to an almost surreal degree. As the genre picked up speed and began to intertwine with more traditional streams of popular music, the maximalist style was born in the mid-2010s with a number of musicians who had an uncanny ability to blend electronic experiments from avant-garde with melodies and harmonies that would stay in your head for days.
100 Gecs are commonly (and rightly) called the pioneers of hyperpop, but the genre was bubbling in the early 2010s before exploding onto the indie scene with 1000 gecs in 2019. The experimental pop record found the duo of Laura Les and Dylan Brady dives into the production crevices of rap, pop, R&B, electronic music and more, then distills it into a perfectly chaotic mix of all these styles. Imagine a smoothie made up of Little babyDua Lipa girls talk Disclosureand Aphex Twin, and you can land somewhere near where 100 Gecs landed with their debut.
But before helping create this new landscape, artists like the late Sophie and the mid-2010s discography of AG Cook’s PC Music collective, along with dubstep experimenters like Rustie and Hudson Mohawke, helped push other forms of music to what is now known. like hyperpop. Cook’s PC Music is more collective than a label, with tons of artist collaborations on the roster and a slew of aliases to keep the focus on the music. A number of artists on PC Music are LGBTQIA+, which has helped provide a stage for kids who previously couldn’t find communities to identify with. As The Independent put it, “It’s impossible to fully understand hyperpop without considering its extremely online context and its prominence among LGBTQ+ youth.”
Also important: Spotify editor Lizzy Szabo’s hyperpop playlist. As The New York Times reported in 2020, the global platform created a way of thinking about this music that somehow brought together people like Charli XCX, Dorian Electra, Soundcloud rap like Lil Peep, pop punk, chiptune, trance, the blackwinterwells, and more. By bringing together all these seemingly disparate artists and genres, it has become a gathering place for fans and a way for the music industry to understand the hyperpop scene.
A new generation of hyperpop artists have sought to make this scene an open and inclusive community. That’s no surprise, given how many trans and non-binary people were involved in its debut. But emerging stars of the genre, many of whom are profiled in the article below, make inclusivity and active alliances with marginalized communities a central tenet of their work. The sound also exploded outside the country, with Nylon pointing out that Spanish stars such as “Rakky Ripper, eurosanto, PUTOCHINOMARICÓN and Autotune Angel are among the biggest names in the scene creating their own mix of bubbly hyperpop that strikes the perfect balance between escapism and nostalgia.”
This balance between daydreaming and looking to the past has been upended by a number of artists looking squarely into the future and deciding what it will look like. For those unaware of hyperpop social media, Discord, or emerging Spotify playlists that haven’t reached critical mass, here are seven artists who are changing the game of hyperpop and, therefore, the future of music.
Ericdoa is a modest 19-year-old kid from Connecticut who has become an online superstar thanks to his brilliant distillation of hip-hop, pop and emo. On singles like 2021 Euphoria the soundtrack “sad4whattt” and a 2022 track, “fool4love”, eric makes his subject very clear, with lyrics about broken hearts and relationships that never were. eric is on the more aggressive side of hyperpop, trading synths and drum machines for screaming guitars and soaring melodies. eric mixes the seriousness of emo with the punch of punk, creating a new mix of genres that has helped create a microgenre that is equal parts My Chemical Romance and Grimes.
Extremely online hyperpop digicore prodigy dltzk showcased his favorite music in an interview with The FADER, and the variety of artists comes into its own when you listen to zk’s brilliant mix of pop, emo and electronica. . There’s Skrillex, Porter Robinson, Kill The Noise, Shawn Wasabi, and Virtual Riot., plus a variety of video game influences like Pokemon and Undertale. Perhaps more telling, however, are the final two influences they note, Skrillex’s “Bangarang” and Because the Internet by Childish Gambino. In dltzk’s music, he enjoys blending the up-and-down catharsis of EDM with the heady, referential nature Childish Gambino loved to play with on Because… In the hands of zk, all these inspirations merge into a new style of hyperpop that no one else creates.
Florida teenager Ash Gutierrez, who performs under the name Glaive, first appeared after posting a bunch of hyperpop songs on SoundCloud at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He quickly amassed a loyal and rabid following, which only grew after the release of the EP. All dogs go to heaven in 2021 via Interscope. glaive is known for veering off the hyperpop label, but it’s hard to hear the music he makes, the way he blends heavy pop, electronica and hip-hop into a delicious assortment, and to see it. fit into any other world – even as it expands it.
Quinn, who has just turned old enough to get a driver’s license, is the hypothetical great of hyperpop. In 2020, quinn became the mysterious new face of hyperpop thanks to her brilliant and impressive debut album, driving lullabies. quinn first exploded onto SoundCloud and YouTube, and released music under pseudonyms like “p4rkr”, “cat mother” and “osquinn”. But a few months later, Quinn deleted all hyperpop songs from the internet and started creating mood music and music for video games that don’t exist. They became disenchanted with the genre and the scene around it, but in their heyday few made more exciting music.
Swedish rapper Bladee started releasing projects in 2016, before hyperpop really took off, but found himself lumped in with the new generation of artists in the genre thanks to his penchant for Auto-Tuned vocals, quirky synth lines and electronic instrumentation. He is a member of the Drain Gang collective, which also includes his frequent collaborator Ecco2k, who is a singer, designer, model and director. Bladee makes music in the vein of many American rappers, but lends him a cold, electronic European sensibility that tips his scales closer to hyperpop than any other rapper in his sphere.
in the middle of the street
Indiana-born midwxst is on the cutting edge of hyperpop rap, leaning more towards hip-hop and R&B while playing with electronic flourishes and emotional, high-energy vocals. Born in Columbia, South Carolina, midwxst began recording in GarageBand, which gave his music a lo-fi, DIY flair. He was introduced to music by his parents. Her mom listened to TLC, Aaliyah, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child, while her dad rocked Pharrell, NERD, the Neptunes. He discovered J. Cole, Lil Wayne, and Nas, and eventually used this wide array of rap and R&B artists to help shape his unique style of hyperpop-leaning hip-hop.
aldn grew up in Reston, Virginia and emerged overnight to become an internet sensation. aldn quickly racked up co-signatures, collaborating with other hyperpop stars like Glaive and Midwxst. aldn has found a large following with their 2021 album, Tight, which became an instant classic in hyperpop circles, due to its unique approach to vocals and its willingness to blur the lines of what exactly hyperpop can be. As the genre continues to grow in the years to come, aldn is surely an artist pushing the sound into new territory.
Listen to the swords All dogs go to heaven here.