Recently, Genius released a video about the use of ‘ayy’ or ‘aye’ in hip-hop songs. The short 2 minute clip mentions current artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Chief Keef, Young Jeezy, Drake and Kendrick (who we will discuss separately) and lyrics from each rapper that include the keyword “ayy.” Unashamedly, I will say I enjoyed the comments on this video more than I believe that ‘ayy’ is sweeping the nation. Sure if you enjoy this music, I will gladly let you stand by your argument, but as a historian, I will tell you that this decade of “trap music” will be just a phase, kind of like Disco.
Story | Sara Loretta
Image | Genius
If you are unaware of the different sub-genres within hip-hop, one of them is called “Mumble Rap.” Personally defined, Mumble Rap includes the following characteristics: trap instrumentals, marijuana (discussion on tracks), lyrics that don’t make the audience think or are mind-opening, and lastly vocabulary that includes “hoe,” “drank” and of course “ayy.”
Rappers who have jumped on the AYY train have found an easy way to fame. These rappers aren’t laying down lyrics about experiences or hardships. Instead, they are trying to be relatable to every “gangster” out there. You want to hear a real G flow? Go check out Ice Cube, he just got a new deal with Interscope Records.
Now, if you watched this Genius video, you saw that they included Kendrick Lamar’s ‘HUMBLE.’ In my opinion K-Dot was using “ayy” as an attention grabber to make sure the audience was really hearing him, but also to make fun of these fake rappers trying to make their trap music fetch.
But it is fetch, it’s hot, it’s the new Soulja Boy’s “YOOOUUUUU” (or maybe it’s more popular than that). However, I believe it’s popular in the younger generation because this type of music allows listeners to not think about the negative world around them. Just like we have seen in progression of rock and roll, bands like The Rolling Stones who just wanted to have a good time or any disco band (i.e. Bee Gees and the Village People) knew there were problems in the world, but they just danced their cares away. Their music allowed the audience to just be engulfed in having a good time at least for a few hours.
Not everyone is interested in lyrics or to better understand gun violence, which is why this subgenre of hip-hop has grown astronomically in popularity, though it’s hard for me to appreciate an artist who doesn’t spend time developing their art, especially in the rap game. While I understand why the “ayy” phase is continuing, I refuse to stand by this trend.
The Mumble Rap audience doesn’t listen to artists to learn or feel something, instead they are simply looking for a good beat while they smoke and hang out at a club. They (I would assume) don’t spend time looking for creativity in hip-hop, they only want comfort in hearing the same sounds.