The Death of Dubstep?

Dubstep

A friend has alerted me to the current make or break situation for the genre dubstep. I mean, I’m not it’s greatest fan, nor have I been there since it’s humble beginnings in London. However, I can say – as a music lover and someone who appreciates a good dubstep track – that of late there has been a few releases that do in fact indicate the impending doom (or, more optimistically; a heavy blow) to the dubstep scene. I may just be cynical, but with a bit of looking around, there is evidence to suggest that dubstep is becoming less of the underground scene we all know, and having more commercial tendencies. This is, no doubt down to it’s massive growth in popularity of late, but I think it’s truly a disappointing sight.

Some of the fans (specifically those from it’s earlier times) have shown discontent at recent releases. Some have said it’s showing tell tale signs of becoming less about the music, more about the money. Comparisons have been drawn between Rusko – who is of ever increasing fame – and drum and bass outfit  Pendulum, which – after hearing his new, pretty pathetic release (hear it here), I can certainly see what people are griping about. I’m all for success of artists, but the problem is that success often comes with the – as my aformentioned friend aptly put it – ‘dilution of the music’. Granted, this is still early days for us to conclude dubstep is dying, and drum and bass is still going strong despite a few defectors – but I think it’s important to recognise what’s going on in our music scene.

There is word of Xzibit and Busta Rhymes getting into dubstep production to be used as backing tracks for hip hop – I think it could work, but we’re talking about  Xzibit; the man from  MTV’s Pimp My Ride – and I think I can safely say, without any argument, that this will lead to the Rihanna’s and Bieber’s of the world cashing in at the expense of yet another genre, and by default bringing in the Big Nasty Record Labels (and all the attempting to please the public that comes with it) that all music lovers know. Check out this article on the independent for more insight to this hip hop idea, and hear this Snoop Dogg/Chase and Status collaboration, probably the first of many of their type, which I can say isn’t awful – but certainly isn’t my cup of tea.

Maybe I (and many others), am just being too sceptical of the whole popularisation of dubstep, as history tells us that popularisation often means we lose some of the charm and flair we get from the genre when it’s still in it’s underground life.

I hope I didn’t sound too much like the old “fight the corporations” hippy guy, but let me know what you think (if not through comments, then email me at adam@friedmylittlebrain.com), I’m interested to hear some of your views. I hope you enjoy hearing about a genre’s trials and tribulations.

EDIT: A year and a half on and how my views changed… don’t judge my 17 year old self too critically. Slight embarassment at my younger self! Never the less hope it got you thinking?

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKhKvpDI7fI
    “That's that duuuub step!” – Lil Jon

    Even on Rusko's LP it's not all Cockney Thug, he's branched out some.

    Maybe it'll have its day in the sun and then fade back into obscurity, where many fans probably prefer it.

    If not: on to the next one, I guess…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKhKvpDI7fI
    “That's that duuuub step!” – Lil Jon

    Even on Rusko's LP it's not all Cockney Thug, he's branched out some.

    Maybe it'll have its day in the sun and then fade back into obscurity, where many fans probably prefer it.

    If not: on to the next one, I guess…

  • Adam

    Thinking about it, you're likely right. May be too popular amongst it's own to simply “die” as I put it, but a brief period of big exposure may be too much for it?

    I guess only time will tell.

  • Adam

    Thinking about it, you're likely right. May be too popular amongst it's own to simply “die” as I put it, but a brief period of big exposure may be too much for it?

    I guess only time will tell.

  • Debb1989

    dubstep died years ago

  • Debb1989

    dubstep died years ago

  • Caffiends

    I recently talked about this with my mates and there seems to be that feeling running through even dubstep's most hardcore of fans.

    When dubstep first really emerged on to the scene it was quite chilled out and all about vibes. But with this exposure it's gathered, the mass of fans that have descended on it have seemed more attracted to the “filthy” side than the original tunes. With dubstep being generally easy to produce now, you've got hundreds of artists now churning out the same old “filth” just to please the masses and I do think that at some point it will grind to a halt.

    And people say this shift has been because Caspa and Rusko have sold out? I'd say them two have diversified, Rusko more so. And as music artists, they should not be restricted to producing what their fans want.

    Saying that, I still think it's the biggest names in dubstep that are producing the best tunes. Benga, Skream and Joker have not only pioneered the sound but they've continued to be the forefront of the genre and will continue to be there as non-descript producers fade out the limelight again.

    As for hip hop and dubstep fusion tracks. I've got no problem with them. The results haven't been spectacular yet but experimentation and evolution happens in every genre and this is simply just another example. Grime and dubstep go together brilliantly and I think this gives hip hop a great opportunity to do the same. And don't underestimate Xzibit….

    PS. Listen to the intro track of Rihanna's Rated R album…. I guess it's just Bieber who's left to cash in on it all.

  • Caffiends

    I recently talked about this with my mates and there seems to be that feeling running through even dubstep's most hardcore of fans.

    When dubstep first really emerged on to the scene it was quite chilled out and all about vibes. But with this exposure it's gathered, the mass of fans that have descended on it have seemed more attracted to the “filthy” side than the original tunes. With dubstep being generally easy to produce now, you've got hundreds of artists now churning out the same old “filth” just to please the masses and I do think that at some point it will grind to a halt.

    And people say this shift has been because Caspa and Rusko have sold out? I'd say them two have diversified, Rusko more so. And as music artists, they should not be restricted to producing what their fans want.

    Saying that, I still think it's the biggest names in dubstep that are producing the best tunes. Benga, Skream and Joker have not only pioneered the sound but they've continued to be the forefront of the genre and will continue to be there as non-descript producers fade out the limelight again.

    As for hip hop and dubstep fusion tracks. I've got no problem with them. The results haven't been spectacular yet but experimentation and evolution happens in every genre and this is simply just another example. Grime and dubstep go together brilliantly and I think this gives hip hop a great opportunity to do the same. And don't underestimate Xzibit….

    PS. Listen to the intro track of Rihanna's Rated R album…. I guess it's just Bieber who's left to cash in on it all.

  • Adam

    'Fraid you're in a better position to comment on the early stuff, I've only within the last year caught onto dubstep, but I can certainly see evidence for what you mean “filthy bass” etc. Thanks for that insight.

    I take your point on the diversification, I never saw it that way – I saw the success and attributed it to that, and don't worry – I'm not saying artists shouldn't be allowed to do as they like, it's just a worry that the freedom might be lost in translation in the drive for success.

    But I do agree with you on the hip hop/dubstep fusion – all for collaborations, it's essential to music to see some crossover. As for Xzibit, guess that's just personal tastes – perhaps I was slightly harsh.

  • Adam

    'Fraid you're in a better position to comment on the early stuff, I've only within the last year caught onto dubstep, but I can certainly see evidence for what you mean “filthy bass” etc. Thanks for that insight.

    I take your point on the diversification, I never saw it that way – I saw the success and attributed it to that, and don't worry – I'm not saying artists shouldn't be allowed to do as they like, it's just a worry that the freedom might be lost in translation in the drive for success.

    But I do agree with you on the hip hop/dubstep fusion – all for collaborations, it's essential to music to see some crossover. As for Xzibit, guess that's just personal tastes – perhaps I was slightly harsh.

  • Basically look at grime and what Wiley said about dance beats and female vocals – they sell more records. His grime sound moved (intentionally or not) towards that formula resulting in more record sales, revenue and exposure. The result is support for the grime scene, on the one hand, but also lots of “grime is dead” conversation on the other.

    Dubstep is going the same way… It's not a matter of “survival” of the sound, genres are far more fluid than that, but a case of when the popular main stream have moved on, what will be left?

    @Caffiends – Benga, Skream and Joker – they'll be there for ever like Andy C, Fabio, Grooverider, Goldie, Dillinja.

    Check out the google trend for 'dubstep' – http://www.google.com/trends?q=dubstep – all upward until the Britney and Rusko on MTV on May 13th!!!

  • Basically look at grime and what Wiley said about dance beats and female vocals – they sell more records. His grime sound moved (intentionally or not) towards that formula resulting in more record sales, revenue and exposure. The result is support for the grime scene, on the one hand, but also lots of “grime is dead” conversation on the other.

    Dubstep is going the same way… It's not a matter of “survival” of the sound, genres are far more fluid than that, but a case of when the popular main stream have moved on, what will be left?

    @Caffiends – Benga, Skream and Joker – they'll be there for ever like Andy C, Fabio, Grooverider, Goldie, Dillinja.

    Check out the google trend for 'dubstep' – http://www.google.com/trends?q=dubstep – all upward until the Britney and Rusko on MTV on May 13th!!!

  • Pete

    i agree with what youve stated. from rusko's essential mix to today, his face is slowly moving away from the dubstep scene. theres more money in pop boys.

  • Pete

    i agree with what youve stated. from rusko's essential mix to today, his face is slowly moving away from the dubstep scene. theres more money in pop boys.

  • Andy

    Every 'scene' will be exploited for commercial gain at some point in time. But you've still got labels like Hyperdub/Skull Disco/etc who are releasing classic on classic with more concern for artistry that profit. That's where the real scene is.

  • Andy

    Every 'scene' will be exploited for commercial gain at some point in time. But you've still got labels like Hyperdub/Skull Disco/etc who are releasing classic on classic with more concern for artistry that profit. That's where the real scene is.

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  • Just went to Ultra a few months before. Saw my friend there and asked who he wanted to see. He said he doesn't care as long as it's dubstep. I don't know about back in Europe, but here in U.S. it has its underground follower-ship and those who only listen to mainstream don't know what dubstep is. Let's hope we keep it that way.

  • Just went to Ultra a few months before. Saw my friend there and asked who he wanted to see. He said he doesn't care as long as it's dubstep. I don't know about back in Europe, but here in U.S. it has its underground follower-ship and those who only listen to mainstream don't know what dubstep is. Let's hope we keep it that way.

  • Scherzo

    Dubstep will simply transform just like jungle, 2-step, and garage. I look forward to the next emergence of the Hardcore Continuum. Let the creativity flow and the bass cabinet boom.

  • Scherzo

    Dubstep will simply transform just like jungle, 2-step, and garage. I look forward to the next emergence of the Hardcore Continuum. Let the creativity flow and the bass cabinet boom.

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  • Taicrane

    I am looking forward to the fusion of hip hop and dubstep. Since i first heard it i wondered why other rap and hip hop artists had not tried it before and then i realized the answer was that it was still partially underground. I think that it might loose some of the underground feel but like some other ppl on here have already said, pioneering artists like skream, rusko, benga…etc. will keep the heart of it going and when those ppl who just produce the crappy easy to produce filth that sounds ok and 'pleases the masses' fade away because they realize they can't keep up, i believe we'll get back most of the underground flare from the artists that we love! Also dubstep and hard rock/screamo have been having some great colaborations recently. Usually it's more like a dubstep 'breakdown' in the middle of a song but i'm curious to see if it will go any further!

  • Taicrane

    I am looking forward to the fusion of hip hop and dubstep. Since i first heard it i wondered why other rap and hip hop artists had not tried it before and then i realized the answer was that it was still partially underground. I think that it might loose some of the underground feel but like some other ppl on here have already said, pioneering artists like skream, rusko, benga…etc. will keep the heart of it going and when those ppl who just produce the crappy easy to produce filth that sounds ok and 'pleases the masses' fade away because they realize they can't keep up, i believe we'll get back most of the underground flare from the artists that we love! Also dubstep and hard rock/screamo have been having some great colaborations recently. Usually it's more like a dubstep 'breakdown' in the middle of a song but i'm curious to see if it will go any further!

  • “Dubstep will simply transform just like jungle, 2-step, and garage. I look forward to the next emergence of the Hardcore Continuum. Let the creativity flow and the bass cabinet boom.”

    Well said.

    I've been following Dubstep since it's inception, and esp since it's introduction to the US.

    For a while I was disappointed with the popular direction it was going. And of course everyone who feels cool about being an early adopter of anything, always feels a tinge of regret when it becomes popular.

    But I continued to find amazing tracks buried in the stacks. And I've now gone from “dubstep sold out” or “is mainstream” to being thrilled that it's “just another genre” to pull from. It means it's here to stay, and the sooner people stop thinking about the state of a genre, the more it can just be good music.

  • Djdelysid

    I have to sadly agree, when it was underground coming out of London it was truly something, and didn’t expect it to get that big so quick. But then the dirty heavy stuff started dropping and people got carried away. the new style that was unique at is just getting played out and def diluting the genre. I have been saying this summer would be the last for true Dubstep, Id say now its not dead completely, but it is shot n bleeding to death, there still might be a chance tho

  • I disagree with you, my friend. Although there’s a rapidly growing commercial trend going on, I keep finding new exciting underground and indie dubstep tracks coming out all the time. More than any other genre of music I know, dubstep has just been mixing things from all over the musical spectrum (kinda like DnB still does), among them crunk, heavy metal, jazz, grunge and rocksteady. It amazes me, when I discovered dubstep, the sheer variety of sounds impressed me. Hell, I even began a project where I mix ranchera music from Mexico with dubstep… rancherastep! It kinda started as a joke with a friend, a poster of a Mariachi at a rave party and all that…
    ”¡Es masivo, güey!”

  • Proxi

    dubstep has gone to commerical to quickly and the masses are cashing in on it, like what happened to rave music the genre got sold out and people went to jungle that later became drum and bass, and the music itself can sometimes get really boring, 6/10 dubstep tunes start of promising then never go nowhere, i don’t care if dubstep dies anyway i do like some of it but i have to be in the mood, i prefere drum and bass.

  • Dennis_seerden007

    i’m searching for a song that go’s like ‘ You will still remind ‘ ‘dubstep’
    can any1 help me 🙂 thanks

  • En

    I used to go alot to dubstep parties in early 2000.. but nowdays i dont even want to listen it anymore.. it just sounds so fkin cheap, like said its relatively easy to produce but seriously theres not too many ways to go in terms of creating “new” dubstep. Now it seems like that more disturbed sound gets the better.. it wasnt like that awhile ago.
    All i can say that i wont miss it.

  • We are keeping an eye on this, just wrote a post on the situation, and we would appreciate your point of view!

    http://www.theelectroblog.com/2011/07/reply-the-death-of-dubstep/

  • HaterzSMD

    Haters gonna hate

  • poopyFarts

    dub step is talentless. I’m currently making a dubstep song on the toilet. The bowl has nice resonance for that wubwubwub sound

  • Daniel Huffman2010

    dude go check the greek latin and hebrew….roots