What the hell is frat rap, you ask? Congratulations -- this means you are (1) likely of legal drinking age, and (2) spend your spare time doing things other than wiping away spittle as you click through yet another Tumblr page. (Um, when we do it, it counts as research, we swear.)
Allow us to school you. If the new class of young rappers like Drake, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, et al. represent a more pop-oriented turn of the genre that's less obsessed with being hard enough, frat rap is, in many ways, its pale, logical conclusion.
Hand-wringing over the racial integration of hip-hop long ago became a moot point. Rap music -- though maybe not hip-hop culture, per se -- has become the lingua franca of American youth. And anybody born after, say, 1980 feels a right to participate.
With more complete integration, though, comes, shall we say, a broadening of the rap perspective. The average white suburban kid who grew up on rap and wants to rap himself couldn't possibly talk about street life without getting clowned. In the past, this meant a wordier, more willfully avant-garde tack, along the tongue-twisting lines of the old Definitive Jux collective (RIP) or the Minnesotans of Rhymesayers.
Those were the days, though. Because the new pack of pasty rappers, many born after 1990, don't seem to concern themselves with either engaging with hip-hop culture as a whole or even proving their lyrical mettle too much. Rather, up-and-comers like Mac Miller are, like the first rappers, just narrating life as they see it.
If you weren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth and came up feeling nurtured by hip-hop, these melanin-challenged dudemanbros might make you feel embarrassed for the state of your favorite genre. Hell, if you are melanin-challenged and privileged and a fan of "real" hip-hop, these guys might make you feel embarrassed too.
And what to make of the groups with actual black members, like Dean's List, who the Tumblr gods have decided qualify as frat-rap too? We may not be on enough collegiate postracial theory to tackle that one right now. But these guys are coming for the airwaves soon, and we had all better be prepared.
Case in point: This Saturday's local performance by Miller, probably the biggest name in the budding scene, is sold out. And that's at America's Backyard, the sprawling outdoor venue attached to Revolution that may hold a bigger capacity than the club itself.
OK, so Miller and his cohorts aren't all 100 percent bad. Probably, a lot of these are kids getting thrust into the bloggy spotlight way more prematurely than would have ever happened when there was still a music industry. Others, maybe, really just are Rainbow flip-flop-wearing d-bags. Whatever the case, here's a guide to five "frat-rappers" you need to know now.