“Vaporwave is dead.”
Words said by many in the vaporwave community… Who knows why it’s said; maybe it’s because of the oversaturation of albums with aesthetic, maybe it’s because it’s been commercialized, maybe it’s cool to say it but like hip-hop/rap, vaporwave can’t literally die; it just multiplies.
Vaporwave has spawned many genres… synthwave, retrowave, nostalgiawave, vaportrap and now hard vapor is the newest thing to come out of vaporwave. Personally I haven’t listened to hard vapor (because I haven’t found any yet) but I assume it’s vaporwave in the rawest, most digusting form possible which makes vaporwave even more appealing because many assume it’s just 80s samples pitched down, filtered out and with TV noise in the background; it’s not.
80s music makes for the basis of vaporwave; here’s something similar, 80s music also makes for the basis of many hip-hop rap records. There are many elements in 80s music, synthisizers, real drums, electric guitars, saxophones and harmonic singing; those elements can be adjusted in many ways, some to provide a basis for the beat, others to put you in the mood and or certain state of mind, others to prove that they can take something recognizable and make it unrecognizable. Sampling is what makes hip-hop and vaporwave related to each other and hip-hop has also spawned many genres. nucore, rap rock, boom bap, trap, chopped and screwed, crunk, jerk; there’s just too many to list.
Listen to “Playa” by Nelly and tell me you don’t see any similarities.
The 80’s vibe is there as in many of the vaporwave records that you listen to this very day. Including Floral Shoppe which has connections to hip-hop through Jamie Foxx’s “Sleeping Pill” which while impressive by itself has become a staple within vaporwave with Nmesh even sampling it in a song on his “Dream Sequins” albums.
Nas has claimed that “Hip-Hop is Dead” but with it still having commercial relevance and underground respect. It is far from dead, in fact it has multiplied and it’s even bigger than it was before. Vaporwave and hip-hop will always have commercial sides to it but the main appeal is the underground aspect of it, the art aspect of it, the skill aspect of it. It’s cool to say that something is dead but it’s also cool to appreciate the art behind ever expanding genres that keep on growing and keep on splintering from the mothership.
With so many genres and so much to listen to, vaporwave will never be truly dead. It will become less trendy yes but it will always garner a new audience and it will always have that appeal of being something special that you have to be a part of. While it doesn’t have much of a real life component to it, the haunting sight of malls and the appeal of corporate dreams will always ensure that vaporwave has a community where people can bond.
To put it short, a musical genre can never die as long as people find entertainment in it.