Overhated & Underrated: 3 Overlooked Rap Genres That Get A Bad Rap!


From left-to-right: Chief Keef, YN Jay, and two members of Three6Mafia

Michael Pickett, Reporter

With so many different pieces of media being created every second, it was only a matter of time before humans came up with the concept of genres. A genre is defined as any category of media that differs from it’s contemporaries. One could argue that the idea of a genre is most commonly seen by many when it comes to music.

Music has so many genres, in fact, that there are actually genres OF genres. These are called subgenres. A great example of this concept can be found in categories such as rap, where there are so many different sounding versions that putting them all under one term would just feel wrong. That’s why there are terms like trap, boom-bap, and even recent phenomena such as rage. While all of these ARE rap, they all sound incredibly different.

With so much rap to pick from, there are bound to be a few subgenres that don’t click, haven’t been fully appreciated, or have even been a fad of the past. To dive deeper into the rabbit hole, we asked 3 students what their favorite overlooked, overrated, or under-appreciated rap genres were, and these were the results.

1. Chicago Drill

Recommended by David Portillo

For big rap fans, this might be the most recognizable subgenre on the list. Even without being big on hip-hop knowledge, you’ve probably heard at least one Chicago Drill song, or at least one influenced by the sound.

“It used to be kind of popular, but not anymore,” says David. “[the] instrumentation is super unique … lots of trumpets and sh** … [the] beats just be feelin’ EVIL sometimes … there’s lots of energy.”
David tells no lie about the “trumpets and sh**”. Chicago Drill often consists of a melody that uses lots of brass instrumentation, plucky strings, sharp hits of a short sound (usually in synth form), or any mix of these.

“Chief Keef carries the genre I think, but that’s just me … he’s recently [been] blowing up again … Songs on TikTok and a new album on the way … Prayin’ it’s good.”
No doubt a name you’ve heard of if you’ve spent any time enjoying rap, Chief Keef was the pioneer of this subgenre in the early 2010s with mixtapes like Back From The Dead and smash hit songs such as Love Sosa and I Don’t Like. This success landed him deals and features with people as big as Kanye West at the age of 15.
“He [has to] be a top 20 rapper, period. Underrated … among modern rappers.”

Chicago Drill still finds it’s influence among these current artists, however. Rappers like Lil Durk and most recently Trippie Redd have taken pot-shots at Chief Keef-adjacent material, sometimes with his help:
“Trippie Redd recently did a lot of Chicago Drill beats on Mansion Musik (an album by Trippie Redd) … some tracks even had Chief Keef on them … that album was a** but I hope people get inspired to make that kind of beat more.”

With modern artists finding inspiration from their old idols, and with a new album by Chief Keef himself coming out in April (itself being a long-awaited sequel to one of his most acclaimed mixtapes Almighty So), Chicago Drill might find a resurgence in popularity very soon.



I Don’t Like – Chief Keef
Dis Ain’t What U Want – Lil Durk
MURDAMAN! – YungManny


2. Modern Detroit/Michigan Rap

Recommended by an anonymous student

Often looked down upon within the recent rap scene, Michigan-style rap has probably divided hundreds if not thousands of rap fans. You either love it, or hate it. There’s no in-between.

“Everyone … hates on it but I don’t know why” this fan states. “People say they [rap] offbeat but they really don’t … The flows are super energetic and unique”
Our fan here brings up a common criticism of this particular rapping style. Instead of going for a certain flow to match the beat or using a varied vocal range, these rappers often spew full-on sentences on loose, open instrumentation. Sometimes these sentences are so packed that they have to overlap the ends of each verse on top of eachother in editing software, a common practice within the Michigan scene .

Beat-wise, Michigan rap goes for lower tempos than most modern rap, with spaced out snappy hi-hats, snares, and other interesting soundbites to vary up the track. Oftentimes, the mixing (the arrangement of the sounds) seems to be either very crude and amateur or purposefully bass-heavy to give it a kick.

“It blew up [in recent years], Like I be seeing it a lot more.”
As for the recent niche popularity of the subgenre, Lil Yachty, TikTok, and surprisingly memes could all be reasons for the recent spike. In 2021, Lil Yachty, A relatively recent rap star, released Michigan Boy Boat, an album all about the subgenre. He got together tons of less popular rappers in the Michigan scene over numerous tracks in attempts to show off their capabilities. The album received mixed reviews on release, but it put a lot of artists such as Tee Grizzley, Babytron, and YN Jay on people’s radar.

As for recently, TikTok has spread a lot of unique music to many viewers, with Michigan rap being no exception. Songs from artists like YN Jay or Teejayx6 blew up among comedic posts as background music for videos of people acting crazy or saying absurd things. Some modern Michigan tracks even play into this and use purposefully absurd lines to draw the listener in. Syrup by Slump AK comes to mind, a meme-centric song where he raps about scamming people for gorilla glue and making fun of broke people for not being able to afford ice cream.

As for the off-beat accusations, yes, some Michigan rappers do tend to have a sloppy flow. However, a lot of the hate feels unjustified. From the tracks recommended, the rappers do appear on beat, just with very wordy sentences or awkward rhythm. Go into the genre with an open-mind, and you may find a rapper you really enjoy.



Bag It Up – YN Jay
Fight Night Round 3 – Lil Yachty
Rage Quit – Babytron


3. Horrorcore

Recommended by Landon Lacey

After the interview I had with him in my previous article, where he recommended a rapper known as Semetary, Landon’s choice in artists striked me as quite unique. I just had to interview him again in order to learn more about this type of rap.

“Semetary is a rapper in a genre called horrorcore … particularly modern horrorcore,” Landon clarified. “The whole vibe feels like … a slasher movie … lyrics about creepy woods and stuff like that.”
This is very prominent wherever you look in this subgenre, modern or not. Themes of dark nights and violence akin to the kind you’d see in a movie like Texas Chainsaw Massacre are always present. These ideas are often combined with gritty or washed out production in the instrumentals to give a more sinister sound.

“Three 6 Mafia, Tech N9ne … even artists like Eminem and DMX used to make horrorcore stuff.”
The genre became prominent after 1994 with songs from artists like Gravediggaz and Flatlinerz; artists so obscure nowadays that you’ve probably never heard of them until you read this article. After birthing this weird, twisted genre, lots of odd characters emerged in the scene, such as insane Clown Posse and their devout following called Juggalos, or even Eminem who put a more modern approach to the horrorcore subgenre while still carrying the same themes of over-the-top violent activities. Despite this, you won’t really see Eminem or DMX being called horrorcore artists upfront, considering these themes only really lasted for a few albums.

It wouldn’t be a proper recap without talking about the Memphis scene, either. Horrorcore was very prominent among old Memphis rappers such as Three 6 Mafia, a group who probably was doing a majority of the stuff they rapped about considering their gang affiliations. This differs from a good chunk of horrorcore in the aspect; Lots of the subgenre contains exaggerated characters or personas, or people just rapping about violence as a front, whereas Three 6 Mafia and some other memphis rappers were stone-cold serious about all the things they were rapping.

“It’s making a slight resurgence … Semetary is a great example like I said … it’s still pretty underground”
Recent artists emerging out of the underground scene such as Semetary or $uicideboy$ have been trying to revive the subgenre with their own spins on it. Semetary adds a Chief Keef influence, and $uicideboy$ puts a more sad twist to it. Even artists like Tyler, The Creator previously dabbled in horrorcore with mixtapes like Bastard and Wolf. Underground Soundcloud producers have also taken cracks at remixing old horrorcore vocals or beats into their own dark creations.

Ranging from goofy to downright chilling, horrorcore has something you just don’t see much in rap anymore, which just makes it that much more special.



Live Evil – Flatlinerz
Favorite Scary MovieThree 6 Mafia
Yonkers – Tyler, The Creator