How the triplet flow took over rap


If you listen to mainstream music these days,
you know this rap flow. If you love it, you’re in luck – It’s
probably not going to go away anytime soon. If you hate it, I’m sorry. But, hey, you have something in common with
Snoop Dogg now. Everybody tryin to rap the same style. I don’t know who created it if it was Future
or Migos but all them ni**s sound the same. That rapid fire style of rap has been dubbed
the “Migos Flow” even the “Versace Flow.” It’s come to define mainstream artists in
recent years. But the musical principle that drives that
flow — the triplet – It’s been around forever. In 2013 Migos, the Atlanta rap trio – released
a song called “Versace” I’m just gonna pause that for a second. Drake loved it so much, he freestyled over
it. and it blew up. You can’t deny “Versace.” Like my grandma would walk around singing
Versace and she didn’t even know the words of the song or what it’s about but the hook
is so catchy that’s how big of a song it was. That’s Justin Hunte you might know him as
the former editor in chief of Hip Hop DX. He covers hip hop trends and news on his own
youtube channel. you have like a lot of forces that just sort
of combine at the right time for that flow to finally to make it to prominence even though
its origins have been around for a while. Triplets are a standard in musical composition. They occur when you divide one beat into three
notes instead of their usual two or four. Recognize this? That’s probably the most famous measure
with triplets. But they go back even further. These are types of rhythms that have been
at the foundation of cultures where hip hop came from in the first place. It’s African rhythms and so that’s as old
as the equator. In rap, triplets work the same way. Just take a listen to Young Thug’s “Get
High” featuring Snoop Dogg. Now, compare that to earlier in the song where
there are no triplets. And you start to hear the difference. It’s hard to say exactly when the first
triplet was rapped, but a lot of people point to Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” as
one of the earliest examples. Another track with triplets from 1987? The Dismasters’ “Small Time Hustler.” Triplets existed during the east coast / west
coast era of hip hop, but they didn’t define those artists. They emerged out of the midwest and south
when those communities started developing their own style. Like that whole Ohio down to Tennessee corridor. There was a lot of stylistic similarities
to a few of the different artists. Listen to Krayzie Bone verse off of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s debut album. That flow stands in stark contrast to the
way Easy-E approached the same beat on that song. And then there’s Three 6 Mafia from Memphis. I think it’s very difficult to give anyone
else credit other than Lord Infamous. Mystic Stylez is a joint that I remember really
early. Tommy Wright III – he’s another artist from
Memphis as well. He had a song called “Gangsta Forever.” All these artists released their debut albums
in the mid ‘90s. And they weren’t just rapping fast, they
were manipulating the beat with triplets. So how exactly did they pull it off? You have to look at the structure of the beat. For triplets to really eventually come and
be so famous they needed to steal the show and to steal the show they needed space. That’s Martin Connor. You might remember him from these two videos. So, you can create a hip hop beat in a couple
of different ways. This is the beat, and I can interpret this
beat in a rap song in two different ways. I can go. Boom, tuh, boom tuh, boom , tuh, boom, tuh. Or I can go like this. Boom, tuh, boom boom, tuh, but my snaps have
always come at the same speed, right? But the snare drums? They come half as often giving the rapper
more space to play. “Notorious Thugs” illustrates this perfectly. And it’s also one of my favorite songs so
I want to talk about it. This instrumental sounds like a slow downtempo
beat, that’s because we’re used to hearing the snare on the two and the four. The acutal bpm though is double the speed. Essentially the instrumental beat has two
rhythmic lanes for the artist to rap in. Biggie, Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone, they all
keep you on your toes by constantly changing those lanes. Because the beat is stretched out and feels
slow, they can very naturally divide those notes further into triplets. Let’s switch back to Lord Infamous of Three
6 Mafia. That slow beat allowed him to rap an entire
verse in triplets. From the 90s till the mid 2000s southern hip
hop artists slowly took over the charts and with that they brought the sound of trap. That stretched out beat is the foundation
of that sound but you’ll also hear, a deep 808 kick drum, driving synths, and rapid fire hi-hats that
are often programmed in triplet patterns. Triplets were always in rap. Triplets were waiting for trap music to come
along, and then trap music came along and it was just a marriage made in heaven. A song like “Versace” made the sound and rhythmic
feel of triplets super catchy. Just listen to how that hook plays back and
for those explosive hi-hats. Five years later it’s pretty easy to see
why triplets are Migos’ bread and butter. I don’t think Migos trailing off or fall off. I think they have legitimate star power and
most importantly I think they put together an incredible album this year. Not only that, they’ve been featured on
tracks by some of the biggest artists of today. Triplets aren’t just popular, though. They’re really complex. The triplets sort of challenges the
rhythms and the counts that we’re used to. They can rev up the energy of a song almost instantly. Kendrick used them on Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
and then five years later on one of the most dramatic moments of DAMN. I got loyalty got royalty inside my DNA. This is why I say that hip-hop has done more
damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years. Chance the Rapper has a similar dramatic transition to
triplets on the opening track of Coloring Book When he starts flowing in triplets there are no
base kicks there are no snares. So what does Chance do, but he makes the triplet
the manifestation of the beat. These are two of the biggest artists outside
of the south using triplets. They’re no longer a niche southern style. They’ve been the dominating sound of hip
hop for over five years now. Now, when a rapper uses that rhythm they’re
tapping into this great collective artistic movement. So Snoop’s not entirely wrong That’s what’s wrong right now everybody try to rap the same. I don’t know who created it if it was Future
or Migos but all them ni**s sound the same. But he kinda misses the point. The fact that triplets are super popular now
shouldn’t undermine the fact that they’re actually a really powerful rhythmic tool that’s
been around for a long time.

100 thoughts on “How the triplet flow took over rap

  1. Not the migos flow bruh triple 6 did for ever so did almost all memphis rappers

  2. I totally agree with the other commenters here. Snoop is O.G. He's against all the so called "rappers" these days that don't have any musical knowledge, but simply repeat one word over and over again in a specific rhythm because it's the sound du jour. Although you could technically call this rhythm triplets, if it's the entire song, it's not really an effective use of the tool is it? People like Snoop or other actually musicians understand the subtleties and power that the triplet holds. I think moonlight sonata is probably not the best known, it's probably Penny Lane by the Beatles. That's an absolutely stunning, subtle, and effective use of triplets. So much so, that people usually don't even know that it contains triplets. The example in this video of Snoop's is another prime example. He used it, not as a base beat itself, but to add depth and character to the songs standard 4/4 beat.

  3. Good thing they censored the n word, I know they don't have an N word pass.

  4. I always thought Americans did not have the heart for diagnosis, analysis and self reflection how wrong was I. bless u Estelle and thank you have resorted my faith in the power of music to inform instruct and inspire I am forever in your debt.

  5. i still dont comprehend what do the yellow squares signify im sped sorry.

  6. Migos uses it as a gimmick and nothing more. And since most artist care more about popularity rather than the actual rapping skill, well, there ya go.

  7. I agree with Snoop. There's nothing wrong with the triplet flow, but rappers are overusing it.

  8. Talk about missing the point… If I wanna hear things taken out of context I can watch the news, you yuppie filth.

  9. People need to listen to these rappers at 160+ BPM…..call it chipmunk style lol

  10. Snoop was simply right, triplets are poor musical constructions that just make people musically illiterate.

  11. Sound cool but when rappers are simply repeating the last word of their phrase, it's kinda boring to listen to. The music is very dance able but very repetitive as far as lyrics go, add mumbling and you lose an entire generation only to gain people who will stream your music rather than buy it. Having lived through the entirety of hip-hop (so far), I prefer 90's hip hop over today's. I like some Migos stuff but it's not the same.

  12. If this triplet rhyme scheme deserves a video , then I believe Eminem's rhyme schemes definitely deserve one too !

  13. Can't watch earworm because need to check out all the songs all the time. +++Argh+++

  14. Awww, for a second there, I thought 'hey! Someone remembers Bettie Serveert!'

  15. I think we are done with the triplet rap, so now let's rap to educate

  16. Lord infamous was the originator but when he spit triplets is was 🔥

  17. Yeah yet Kendrick and Chance got BARS, in his flow ,which the migos DON'T.

  18. At 9: 07 ,Snoop is CORRECT in 1994 east coast sounded different from borough to borough, west sounded distinct and different from the East. In 2019 that's NONEXISTENT , everyone out here wanna rap, sing , and sound THE SAME, that's not art or musuc, that's industry and corperate.

  19. The rappers today use triples cuz 1. They are copycats, 2. They ain't got the originality nor talent to do otherwise.

  20. 7:16 Takeoff's actual lyric isn't "Canada", but actually "Count it up"
    Thought he was bragging about coming through the north, truth disappoints.

  21. You guys overthink Hip Hop it's just music it just makes you feel good if it's right

  22. Nobody dissed the fact that they used triplets. Triplets are cool, but now they’re overused and everyone sounds the same. It’s just another way for people to pander to an audience that doesn’t like change.

  23. it's not even "VERSACIIII" IT'S VERSACEEEEE with italian E. not English E.

  24. See the problem isn't that the flow is bad: It's that its the ONLY flow that modern rappers use. Use a different flow, and your rap keeps it interesting

  25. This is the truth alot of them rap the same but it makes people step up their game

  26. Some of the cadences on "Planet Rock" by the Soulsonic Force use triplets. That was back 1982.

  27. "Never badder than bad 'cause the brother is madder than mad At the fact that's corrupt like a senator Soul on a roll, but you treat it like soap on a rope 'Cause the beats in the lines are so dope. Listen for lessons I'm saying inside music That the critics are all blasting me for They'll never care for the brothers and sisters" PE 1988

  28. When all the music starts to sound the same that’s when a major shift or movement is coming.

  29. Nothing at all complex about triplets. I’ve taught them to elementary school students. shrugs

  30. That music at the end… Right at the outro… Is that from a song… Anyone? Thanks!

  31. Lord Infamous, Tommy Wright III and Gangsta Pat. Listen to their early work and you will see where the triplet flow came from.

  32. And it's not just the triplets. Look how often lines and rhymes are repeated. Compare Bring the Noise or Bones' work and you'll see that the flow is integrated into a grander structure that's not bound by the triplet. It's like trying to get street cred for your style by saying that one time there was this famous guy who used triplets too. Yeah, Beethoven used it, but it doesn't sound like the same 3 notes over and over.

  33. i don't really love this repetitive rap-flows (triplets) all over songs. boring. Sounds like learning how to read tho.
    LOL but i don't care. everyone are similar nowaday..

  34. "People they rhyme like this, we're all impressed by this
    They rip it, flip it, but these are just triplets
    Wrote this in three minutes, three words to a line
    It's just poetry divided,"
    -Message Man, Twenty One Pilots

  35. The graphics looked like they were trying to line up the kick and snare visually with the music but…… it didnt match

  36. Name 10 rappers who have similar flow to Biggy. Hard? Now try and name 10 guys who have similar flow to the Vsause, Vsause, Vsause guy. Much easier? Thats snoops point.

  37. Wow, I just could not understand the triplets thing at all. I just don't have a musical ear and its really apparent on this video.

  38. Vox you're gonna have to stop making incredible content i'm trying to study

  39. Vox

    Please do a video series Metal music… I wanna see deathcore, slam, death metal, technical death etc broken down

  40. Straight up I’m bored with this style, I’ll go back to reggae rappers who really started this style and the tracks are better anyway!

  41. The problem isn't covered here. The problem is the words they say, it's ruthless and uncaring for humanity. Cover that topic

  42. Anybody listen to jazz

    Triplets are older than dirt

    Migos .. powerful…?

    That’s like saying your newly constructed HOA home is a more masterful piece of architecture than the pyramids.

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