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Experimental hip hop

Experimental hip hop, also known as abstract hip hop, is a genre of hip hop that employs structural elements typically considered unconventional in traditional hip hop music. Some notable experimental hip hop record labels include Definitive Jux, Anticon, Big Dada and Ninja Tune. While most experimental hip hop incorporates turntablism and is produced electronically, some artists have introduced acoustic elements to the music to facilitate it being performed live.

Experimental hip hop is typically believed to have originated during hip hop's "golden age", usually thought of as occurring from the mid 1980s and the mid 1990s, a time that many fans and critics believe that hip hop was at the peak of its diversity, quality, innovation, and influence. As a relatively young musical style, hip hop during this period was about new ideas and experimentation. Fueled by themes of Afrocentricity and political militancy, coupled with experimental music and sampling techniques, led to great of number of stylistic innovations.

Experimental hip-hop production is highly eclectic, drawing influences from a vast array musical genres. Along with elements of electronic music and dub, artists drew from other styles including rock, soul, reggae, classical, and jazz. In general, experimental hip-hop production builds and expands on the sounds of early 1990s hip hop artists such as Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, as well as others.

One influential pioneer of experimental hip-hop production is J Dilla or Jay Dee. J Dilla's approach included an innovative use of sampling as well as non-quantized drum rhythms. While sampling is the basis of much traditional hip hop production, J Dilla's approach to sampling was unique and innovative, employing what other producers would consider insignificant elements from his source recordings and using small musical phrases to build major musical themes. J Dilla also rejected the hip hop convention of Quantization—or the mathematical gridding of precise rhythms via electronic means. --of rhythms. J Dilla was also a pioneer for eschewing quantization. and instead performed rhythms by hand on the pads of an Akai Music Production Center (MPC). This technique gives his music more of a non-mechanical natural groove or swing, as a human behind a real drum kit might play. Some producers influenced by J Dilla's approach include Madlib, Flying Lotus, Karriem Riggins, and Hudson Mohawke. While some experimental hip-hop follows the traditional use quantized rhythms, the vast majority of it does not. Other producers often cited as influences on experimental hip hop include DJ Premier, 9th Wonder, Hi-Tek, Pete Rock, Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, and RZA.