Get Cozy with Lo-Fi Beats

By: Victoria Cymbal

Now that the days are getting cold again, it’s common for most of us to turn to whatever makes us feel comfortable. Comfort can be attained through many different ways, depending on the person. Music is an integral part of the human experience as it helps release and acknowledge our emotions and feelings.

There is an apparent phenomena of new music surfacing the minds of this generation with the title of “lo-fi hip-hop”. The genre is unlike anything else as it combines jazz elements, samples of hip-hop beats and electronic music. It creates a relaxed, atmospheric soundscape for anyone listening.

The genre was coined in the early 2000s with cultural origins and influences mainly from Japan inheriting the United Kingdom’s trip-hop subgenre and North America’s jazz rap genre, both forming around the 1980s to ultimately create the lo-fi hip-hop category. 

There is a specific channel on YouTube that hosts a live streaming video playing one chill-vibed beat after another with the visual of a young woman writing and studying, with her cat in the window sill, while the soothing rain pours in the background. The visual itself brings upon a relaxed, comforted state of mind, let alone the music. The live stream always has at least 13K people listening at once, with the number usually rising depending on the hour of the day. 

Not only is this type of music tranquilizing, but the title of the popular YouTube video also includes in the description, “Beats to Study to”. The nature of the songs having no lyrics makes them ideal background music being that it’s repetitive, hypnotic, but never overwhelmingly. The music tells a story without uttering a word or ever mind-boggling the listener. 

Nowadays, the everyday person is working more than playing to make ends meet and they’re looking for something to ground and calm their souls. The lo-fi hip-hop genre is bringing that to the table and it’s only just the start for this up-and-coming sound.

A version of this originally appeared in
The Teller November 2019 Issue #8

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