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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lofi hip hop or chillhop is a form of downtempo[1][2] that combines elements of hip hop and chill-out music.[3] It was popularized in the late 2010s through YouTube music streaming channels and subsequently became an Internet meme.[4]


In 2013, YouTube began allowing its users to host live streams, which resulted in a host of 24-hour "radio stations" dedicated to microgenres such as vaporwave,[5] a derivation of chillwave.[6] Music streaming platform Spotify added to the popular "lo-fi beats" wave by generating "Spotified genres", including "Chill Hits", "Bedroom Pop" playlists, and promoting numerous "chill pop" artists.[1]

In 2017, a form of downtempo music tagged as "chillhop" or "lo-fi hip hop" became popular among YouTube music streamers. By 2018, several of these channels had attracted millions of followers. One DJ, Ryan Celsius, theorized that they were inspired by a nostalgia for the commercial bumpers used by Toonami and Adult Swim in the 2000s, and that this "created a cross section of people that enjoyed both anime and wavy hip-hop beats."[7] These channels equally functioned as chatrooms, with participants often discussing their personal struggles.[8] By 2018, Spotify's "Chill Hits" playlist had 5.4 million listeners and had been growing rapidly.[1]

Nujabes and J Dilla have been referred to as the "godfathers of Lo-Fi Hip Hop".[9] Vice contributor Luke Winkie credited YouTube user Lofi Girl (formerly known as "ChilledCow") as "the person who first featured a studious anime girl as his calling card, which set up the aesthetic framework for the rest of the people operating in the genre" and suggested that "if there is one shared touchstone for lo-fi hip-hop, it's probably [the 2004 MF Doom and Madlib album] Madvillainy".[7]

Copyright violations

Some YouTube streams, including those by Chillhop Records and Lofi Girl, faced issues such as copyright strikes and bans. In February 2018, Chillhop Records received a copyright strike from anime house Studio Chizu for the use of a character from the feature film, Wolf Children. Though Chillhop Records only used a five-second loop of one character, the popularity of the video caught the attention of Studio Chizu. The founder of Chillhop Records and owner of the YouTube channel, Bas Van Leeuwen told the gaming magazine, Polygon, that the company worked with Studio Chizu in order to bring the livestream back on.[10] Lofi Girl received another notice from YouTube, in February 2020, detailing that the channel had violated YouTube's Terms of Service.[11] According to The Fader, soon after the shutdown of Lofi Girl's channel, a large influx of support from fans of the longstanding lo-fi curator was recognized as the reason why the popular lo-fi hip hop livestream was resumed after the mishap.[12]

Continued popularity

Viewership of lo-fi hip hop streams grew significantly during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.[8] In April, MTV News noted, "there might be something to be said for lo-fi hip-hop’s composition, and the way its creators mix simplistic melodies with a judicious use of words to create intense memories, feelings, and nostalgia" and stated that the quarantine in place in various countries "has led people to log more hours online due to boredom or virtual workplaces and schools, and livestreamed music performances are reaching their full potential."[4]


Lo-fi hip hop is considered an Internet meme.[4] Many producers in the genre later distanced themselves from the label or drifted into other music styles. Common criticisms of the genre included the music's simplicity and clichéd sound.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Werner, Ann (2020-01-02). "Organizing music, organizing gender: algorithmic culture and Spotify recommendations". Popular Communication. 18 (1): 78–90. doi:10.1080/15405702.2020.1715980. ISSN 1540-5702.
  2. ^ Staff. "Downtempo Music Guide: 5 Popular Downtempo Musical Acts". Masterclass. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  3. ^ Maxwell, Dante (September 20, 2019). "Music Microgenres: A Brief History of Retrowave, Acid House, & Chillhop". Zizacious.
  4. ^ a b c Mlnarik, Carson (April 1, 2020). "How Lo-Fi Beats's Nostalgic Comfort Transcended The Memes". MTV News. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  5. ^ Alemoru, Kemi (June 14, 2018). "Inside YouTube's calming 'Lofi Hip Hop Radio to Relax/Study to' community". Dazed Digital.
  6. ^ Coleman, Jonny (May 1, 2015). "Quiz: Is This A Real Genre". Pitchfork.
  7. ^ a b Winkie, Luke (July 13, 2018). "How 'Lofi Hip Hop Radio to Relax/Study to' Became a YouTube Phenomenon". Vice. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Alexander, Julia (April 20, 2020). "Lo-fi beats to quarantine to are booming on YouTube". The Verge.
  9. ^ Cortez, Kevin (April 24, 2018). "YouTube & Chill: A Glimpse Into The World Of Lo-Fi Hip Hop". Genius.
  10. ^ Alexander, Julia. "YouTube's Most Popular 'Lofi Hip Hop' Livestream May Return Soon". Polygon.
  11. ^ Tesema, Feleg. "YouTube Blocked 'Lofi Hip Hop Radio' & Twitter Lost It". Highsnobiety. Highsnobiety. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  12. ^ Darville, Jordan. "Lofi Hip Hop Radio - Beats to Relax/Study to' Returns to YouTube after Brief Ban". THE FADER.
  13. ^ Caraan, Sophie (March 23, 2020). "No One Wants to Claim Lofi Hip-Hop. So Why Is It Still so Popular?". Hype Beast.
This page was last edited on 12 July 2021, at 07:42
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