Welcome To The Quiet Storm: A Primer on Drumless Rap


Boom-bap be damned! The latest micro-movement in hip-hop involves rappers layering their rhymes over production that either ditches the idea of using drums entirely or mixes any errant snares so low down in the mix as to be barely audible. Hooked around the interchangeable Action Bronson, Roc Marcy and Alchemist trifecta, here’s a primer on the quiet storm that’s beginning to define the tail-end of 2012’s rap schedule.

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5. “We Ill”

A mid-album highlight from Reloaded, this self-produced gem has Roc Marciano spitting over a tough and dramatic series of piano stabs and little else. On the lyrical menu: Mussels, blackened tilapia and a fine rose.

4. “Every…”

Nestled in KA’s overlooked Grief Pedigree project, “Every…” has the Brownsville, Brooklyn, representer dropping raps over production that teases out a tiny clipped snare and little else for percussive impact. It’s a vibe that meshes lovely with KA’s smeared flow.

3. “The Kosmos Part 7”

A case of exquisitely soft drums as opposed to completely drum-less rap, this track formed a closing part of Alchemist’s Russian Roulette project. Taking a cue from the production, guest rapper Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire drops into a hushed flow to up the eerie ambience.

2. “Yacht Rock”

Earlier this year the producer Alchemist dropped the Yacht Rock freebie EP, which hammed-up the leisurely aquatic lifestyle while channeling easy listening music. Side A of the EP contains some prime drum-free rap, with Action Bronson going marlin fishing while wearing an all-important all-white-windbreaker. Elsewhere, rappers Oh No, Blu, Chuck Inglish and Roc Marcy join the soiree. It’s an official movement!

1. “Pouches of Tuna”

A fine dining banquet of a percussion-free beat, Party Supplies serves up a naked bed of classical strings for Bronson and Marcy to rhyme over. Coining dreams of the good life, the rappers respectively speculate about retiring to the Galapagos and Sicily. Drumless rap taken to its regal conclusion!

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