Blockhead on “Drumless” Rap

On July 6, Blockhead launched a fascinating Twitter thread exploring the phenomenon of "drumless rap."

“Drulmless [sic] beats/loops with minimal drums are a big thing now but this has been going on for decades at this point,” wrote New York producer Blockhead in a July 6 tweet. He added that he “just wanted to highlight some of those songs.” The result was a fascinating thread — with other rap heads chipping in — that documents numerous instances where light-to-nonexistent percussion dominate, from the RZA’s beat on Cappadonna’s “97 Mentality” to OutKast’s “E.T. (Extra Terrestrial).” None of these tracks sparked a “drumless” movement akin to the sample-heavy street rap currently made by Westside Gunn, Alchemist, Boldy James and others. However, Blockhead makes a convincing argument that the technique existed long before now.

Blockhead photo by Stewart Munro.



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