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Quora Answer : Did trip-hop ever become mainstream?

Jul 14, 2020

This is probably about as mainstream as trip-hop ever got :

So yeah, this was ... as they say ... "massive".

In the 90s you could often hear Massive Attack and some other popular trip-hop acts like Morcheeba played all the time in cafes and bars.

And there was plenty of music that borrowed the trick of combining soulful pop with contemporary beats.

Another very popular 90s band who followed that strategy, but who weren't exactly "trip-hop" were Everything But The Girl.

It's not trip-hop because it's using hyper-trendy (for the time) drum'n'bass. But it's the same principle. And there was a lot of overlap between the people who liked this and people who liked Massive Attack.

You could basically argue that by the mid-to-late 90s trip-hop had more or less been absorbed into mainstream pop.

But as a distinct genre it was getting eclipsed. The club superstars were the new "Big Beat" artists like Fatboy Slim and Chemical Brothers. The more adventurous loungers were listening to UNKLE's Psyence Fiction, and Goldfrapp's Felt Mountain etc.

As I argued on Phil Jones (He / Him)'s answer to What is the future of trip hop? trip-hop's real essence was the connection with living hip-hop. But it lost that ... instead the "trip-hop" artists became more retro. Became more concerned with sampling rock and cinematic music and exotica. There's a lot of invention and wild-inspiration in those late 90s, early 2000s artists ... but they lose the connection with their hip-hop contemporaries. And I think ultimately this is why the genre fades away.

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