Dec 14, 2023 - Music

Detroit's influence on rap music reaches new heights in 2023

Skilla Baby performs "Tay B Style" at The Fillmore on March 13 for the 313 Day Concert. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Skilla Baby performs "Tay B Style" at The Fillmore on March 13 for the 313 Day Concert. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

👋🏼 Sam here! The campaign to fully desensitize rap listeners in Michigan and nationwide to the sound of "Detroit rap" entered its final leg this year.

Why it matters: While some of the hottest rappers in 2023 co-opted New York City drill and Atlanta trap, they also took influence from Detroit.

  • It's not just up-and-comers in Ohio using the city's style — you can hear our signature sound effects and blowout drums in popular artists' music, too.
  • Cardi B and Latto's "Put it on Da Floor Again," viewed 82 million times on YouTube, sounds like an instrumental Icewear Vezzo passed on three years ago.

The intrigue: Veeze had Detroit's biggest album this year with "Ganger."

Milf Melly and King Milo stand in front of 47chops during a set in Brooklyn this April. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios
Milf Melly and King Milo stand in front of 47chops during a set in Brooklyn this April. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Meanwhile, the most exciting thing I listened to this year was Hi-Tech's "Detwat," which Pitchfork called "the best ghettotech rager in recent memory."

  • The group — Milf Melly, 47chops and King Milo — all co-produce and add vocals throughout the 28-minute album, which is currently unavailable on streaming platforms but can be found via fan reuploads on YouTube.
  • Performed live is when the colorful samples shine, and you see the value of the sped-up vocals and ridiculous bars that make up Hi-Tech's sound.
  • "Whoever they were, they were so much fun!" a tall Black woman wearing a miniskirt, heels and a tight-fitting Hello Kitty-branded top yelled toward her friend standing next to me in a packed venue when I saw them perform in Brooklyn this April.

Zoom in: While I didn't listen to it, my alt friends kept Brown and JPEG's abrasive collaboration "Scaring the H*es" in rotation for months after its release, at least according to their Instagram stories.

  • Brown held what he said will be his final Bruiser Thanksgiving concert at the Russell Industrial Center last month after the release of his most recent solo effort, "Quaranta," which Brown called the "spiritual sequel" to his beloved "XXX" album.

What's more: "I get love in Detroit like I'm Skilla Baby," rapper Jack Harlow declares in the hook of his Billboard No. 1 "Lovin on Me," which samples a Detroit R&B singer.

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