The secret to a successful “Rap/Rock” project is just as elusive as the answer to what actually constitutes this ill-defined genre.
There are only a handful of groups who have successfully married the two genres for more than a track or two, and even fewer that were able to base the majority of their career off of it.
With Tech N9ne’s rock project Therapy dropping in a matter of mere days, the opportunity presented itself to delve into the past of the Sasquatch of musical genres.
Below are five groups (in no particular ranking) we feel successfully pulled off the perfect blend of hip hop and rock n’ roll.
1. Limp Bizkit
We may as well start with the one everyone expected. Like them or not, Limp Bizkit was one of the first bands to achieve huge commercial success with the rap/rock formula. The band’s heavy riffs and Fred Durst’s rebellions yell-rapping complimented DJ Lethal’s frenzied scratching in a perfect balance that could arguably be credited with turning an entire generation of suburban white kids onto hip hop (and into fake Yankees fans). Also “N Together Now” is the shit, I don’t care who you are (shout outs to DJ Premier on the board for that one).
2. Linkin Park
Linkin Park definitely picked up the torch where Limp Bizkit left it (or set it down for a while anyway). Although their sound has changed over the years (as any smart group’s sound is destined to do) Linkin Park were rap/rock to the core when they first broke onto the scene. Mike Shinoda’s chill rap style was the perfect yin to Chester Bennington’s hardcore-tinged screaming yang. After their debut album they even did a remix album featuring lyrical heavy hitters Black Thought, Chali 2Na, Pharoahe Monch and more. And that Jay Z collaboration? Don’t get me started.
3. Rage Against The Machine
I’m still of the opinion that Rage deserves their own genre, but technically they did rap and they did rock, so fuck it. These guys were the quintessential “Fuck the man, man!” band, and in this writer’s opinion, are a driving influence for both rock bands and hip hop groups to this very day. Rage Against The Machine made the marriage between black and white urban rebels into an explosive mix that no one has come close to. Zack de la Rocha’s vocals style has yet to be imitated (because it’s just not possible) and Tom Morello single-handedly reinvented the use of electric guitar. If I ever find a genie…a new Rage album might be my first wish.
There’s no denying that these guys successfully blended the genres of rap and rock, their self titled album 311 is actually one of the finer examples of this elusive formula. They’re also a testament to the downside of being a rap/rock band, in that it’s REALLY hard to remain one and stay relevant. These guys did things the smart way and kept things moving musically and have managed to stay relevant and successful almost 20 years after that album, but we’ll never forget their awesome rap/rock roots.
5. Beastie Boys
Granted, these guys are one of the most influential straight up hip hop groups of all time, but their utilization and acceptance of the rock genre is so prevalent and awesome that we had to include them. Hell, even their lifestyle and demeanor was tinged with bits of the ultra-popular rock era that preceded and ran in unison with theirs. While their overall catalog was so genre-transcending and influential we can’t fairly label them a rap/rock group, we can’t overlook the awesome ways they used their guitar & leather surroundings to shape the genre into what it is today. R.I.P., MCA.
So now that we’ve gone over 5 of the best to ever do it, we sit and wait for Therapy to see if it makes this list a solid 6 (it totally will).
Therapy drops November 5th!
Leave a comment below and let us know!