Lo-fi is perfectly imperfect music. It is a good type of bad music. It is cheaply and hurriedly formed music, mostly on substandard equipment. Lo-fi is an acronym that stands for “low fidelity”. This is a type of sound that contains technical faults that make the music sound very different than the usual sound being recorded by the professionals. There can be background noise, limited frequency response, distortion, hum, or any of these faults in the music. But these good types of flaws trigger the cerebrum to focus and relax.
But Under What Genre It Falls or Is It a Genre?
There is a lot of debate going on about lo-fi hip hop whether it is a genre or not. Some people argue that it is not a genre but a way of recording music while others claim it to be a sub-genre because of its stylistic constraints and some people claim it to be a real or proper genre. So, there are three approaches to look at it. To come to a judgment, we will look at individual definitions of genre, hip hop, and lo-fi hip hop.
What Is a genre?
Genre is the term frequently used to define the elements that repeat themselves in similar kinds of movies, books, television shows, music, and more. Some features repeat themselves again and again, over time, with few differences. Genre is the name we use to describe the categories that have been established over time for what we read, what we watch, and what we listen to. Besides, the kinds of genres that exist in one culture at one time may not exist in other cultures at the same time. So, it clearly defines that genre is a social construct. Our set values define a genre.
Genres evolve and grow with time. It is not a static concept as Steve Neil said, “genres are instances of repetition and difference.”
What Is Lo-Fi?
Lo-fi, means low devotion music, it portrays the level of precision when something is replicated or repeated. Generally, when we talk about music, low fidelity would mean bad quality, slow, redundant tracks, sometimes with an audible murmur. Yet, not terrible as in awful, but instead the great kind of bad. That is music that is explicitly intended to have repetitiveness organized to deliver a remarkable track.
Lo-fi music is like both R&B and jazz since most lo-fi pieces have a guitar, piano, bass, drums, and frequently trumpet tests or samples. In case you are pondering about the pronunciation of lo-fi, it’s articulated as “low-fai” since it originates from low fidelity, and in music, fidelity defines the quality in which music is replicated or reproduced. People started producing this music because they did not have enough resources to buy expensive instruments. In the beginning, it was a necessity that later begun to be practiced as an artistic choice.
What Is lo-fi hip hop?
As the lo-fi hip hop resembles both vaporware and hip hop so some people believe that it does not sit in the hip hop genre alone, but it is a flyover or a viaduct between vaporware and hip hop. But lo-fi is a child of hip hop while vaporware wedded into the family. So, they are not technically blood, but they spent a lot of trips together.
Lo-fi, is comparable to hypnagogic pop, provides us this nostalgic (Nostalgia is the emotional and burning desire to return in thought to a previous time or place in one’s life that is associated with delight and joy) sensation not only for things that have passed but also for the things that have not yet happened. While listening to most genres of music, individuals will in general recollect a specific verse or a particular vocal that may get jammed in their head. But when it comes to lo-fi, this is unique. What stays in your mind is not the memory, lyric, or verse but instead, a lasting emotion, feeling, or state of mind.
It initially began as imperfect music made by non-professionals by using poor and substandard musical instruments that is why it began to be called lo-fi against hi-fi. But people’s interest in lo-fi kept growing with time and now almost all of us listen to it on an almost daily basis to find solace in it. A popular stream of lo-fi hip hop received an estimated 126.4 million views in 2019 and that number is growing with time. While the micro-genre is the one to which only a few dozen people listen. Then how come lo-fi hip hop can be a micro or sub-genre?
Hypnotizing beats, distortion, background hisses, repetitiveness, and nostalgia all have become the characteristics features of lo-fi hip hop. These are some features, when people find them in some music, they call it lo-fi hip hop. Moreover, the genre is a social construct and the stats and the association of the above-mentioned qualities with this music tells us that people have constructed this a real genre. So next time when someone you love has a lot of things on their mind, tell them to listen to some lo-fi chill beats and relax.