Many rappers have paved a career for themselves through intense, violent rap, also known as “shock rap”. Shock rap is a specific style of rap in which the lyricist delivers lines of “normal” content, then quickly transfers to violent, unexpected lyrics that “shock” the listener. Artists such as Eminem and Tyler, The Creator built their careers off of this form of rap before transferring to more popular, mainstream lyrical content. 

Other artists such as XXXTentacion and Tay-K don’t rely on shock as much as they do overall violent lyrics. Ranging from self-harm to pulling up on their enemies, this form of rap is far from new to the music industry. It’s been around for decades, but a new wave is surging through to the mainstream. With the aforementioned, late XXXTentacion having paved the way for this modern-day resurgence of this expression, other rising artists are following suit with the hope of reaching his level of stardom. 

It’s a method of musical expression that allows the artist to pursue capturing the true feelings that were felt during the time of writing through a stunning delivery. But, while it does have a “therapeutic” aspect to it at times with many artists, is it effective in terms of sales and streaming? To answer that question, this form of expression has to be looked at as if it were any other emotion being conveyed through music. 

It can be compared to sad/emo rap, or any other rap subgenre for that matter, that people can listen to when going through a specific feeling or emotion. While it may not be for everyone all the time, as most mainstream rap music aims to be, it does have an essence that captures the listeners when they’re in the “right mood” to enjoy this music. 

When examining this subgenre further, it’s evident that these songs are much more likely to go viral. Songs such as Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady” and “My Name Is” propelled Eminem’s career to a status like no other. Tyler, The Creator’s song “Yonkers”, attached with the now-infamous black and white music video, launched him into the spotlight in 2011 before moving away from this form of music over the next few years. 

While it’s effective and has many benefits, the artist shouldn’t feel encouraged to create such music if it doesn’t suit them and their style. In other words, not many artists can fake the emotion shown in music such as XXXTentacion’s, or be as clever as Tyler, The Creator, or Eminem were with their lyrics in such songs. Rather than pretending to be someone else when writing music, it’s best to write lyrics naturally as they come to the artist. 

If the artist pursues what they’re passionate about in terms of lyrical content, they’re more likely to stay enthusiastic when creating music, as well as creating a more dedicated and relatable fanbase that’s more enthusiastic at live shows. As long as the artist follows what they want to do in their career and what best suits them, they’ll have no issue with staying motivated to rise above the crowd and showcase their talents.