I know that talking about “mumble rap” has been done to death at this point. People have spent years complaining about how it’s ruining the genre and is an affront to the art of music. But I believe it gets a really bad rap (I’m so sorry). At this point the term itself has become a bit of a misnomer. Just to clarify, I’m going to make all of my former teachers cringe and use the Wikipedia definition which defines it as a term that “generally refers to rappers who do not share the genre’s typical emphasis on lyricism”. That’s just a more sophisticated way to say it’s party rap about money and drugs, and not much else. Guys like Lil Pump and 21 Savage are favorite targets of the mumble rap critics, as they’ve had the most success with that style. “Gucci Gang” is especially hated, and is really the only song these critics bring up if you actually pay attention to it. And sure, the song’s not great. It’s one of the weaker songs on his debut album in my opinion. But that’s because it’s just not very interesting, not because of the lyrical content. It misses out on what makes for good mumble rap: fun. All of the good songs by artists like Lil Pump are incredibly energetic and fun, with hard-hitting beats and catchy hooks. It’s the Funyuns of music: there’s not a whole lot of substance and you have to be in a very specific mood for it, but when you are in that mood, nothing hits the spot better. Imagine you’re at a party and someone hands you the aux. Are you gonna start bumping some Wagner? Of course not. If you did, I guarantee you wouldn’t be invited to the next party. That doesn’t mean Wagner isn’t a good artist (Ride of the Valkyries absolutely SLAPS), but it’s just not the time or place for it. Mumble rap doesn’t have to be high art to be enjoyable. For some reason, it seems to garner way more criticism that its peers in other mediums. Hell, at one point Jersey Shore was the biggest show on TV, and you don’t hear people constantly whining about that. I imagine that the people who are still complaining about it are the kinds of people who have a robust collection of NPR and PBS tote bags. At the end of the day, everything should be considered in its own context. Sometimes you just want to shut your brain off and have fun. And when you do, mumble rap will never ever fail you.