Despite narrowly avoiding collapse, SoundCloud still remains a commonly-used music streaming service. SoundCloud, unlike competitors Spotify and Apple Music, allows new, unknown artists to upload their music easily. Therefore, up-and-coming artists — particularly hip-hop artists — are often discovered on SoundCloud. But by allowing a wide spectrum of experienced and inexperienced artists on SoundCloud, the platform also gained a reputation for primarily hosting tracks with low production quality and amateur lyricism, discouraging those with a self-proclaimed “sophisticated” taste in music. What those skeptics fail to realize, however, is that the new style marks a generational shift that’s consuming the hip-hop scene.
SoundCloud has largely been responsible for supporting a subgenre of hip-hop known as “mumble rap.” Described as having “incomprehensible” lyricism with rappers typically using mumbling in tune with the instrumentals to create an appealing flow, the subgenre became prominent in the United States,and later made waves internationally. Artists such as Lil Yachty, Playboi Carti and Desiigner are especially notorious. “Mumble rap” has influenced artists such as Rich Chigga, Higher Brothers and RIN. It’s given birth to a new subculture focused around “Soundclout.”