The Family Tree of Flows

Why create a family tree of flows? Well, music has often been regional. Think Detroit, the motor city developing into the R&B sounds of Mo-Town, or the hyper-localized hyphy sound of the Bay area. But since the inception of the internet sounds have spread from there once hallowed grounds. Still, just as speaking cadences originated, flows too can be traced back down to their lineage.

Here are three regions that have different but effective approaches to cadences in rap music.

First there’s:

The Midwest

Family Tree of Flows - Fast N Furious In the Midwest

Flows from the midwest come at you at supersonic speed or have sing-song-y pitches to them, often playing with melody. Listen to Tech N9ne’s Midwest Choppers for a lesson in speedy flows. While Tech N9ne may not be the exact patriarch of the supposed family tree, he has laid down a solid foundation for any rapper coming out of the midwest. Midwest Choppers not only features some of the fastest rapping but also incorporates sing-song-y hook, making it a perfect example of the Midwest.

Up next:

The Dirty South

Family Tree of Flows - Dirty SouthNow the south has a lot of haters due to its popularity but as Outkast once said, “the south have something to say”. And in the last decade we have heard a lot from the dirty south whether it be the Migos’ triplet flow or Future’s autotuned crooning. Here is a breakdown of Lil Wayne’s contribution to music.

And lastly:

New York Slickness

Family Tree of Flows - New York

New York is the birthplace of hip hop. So it is no surprise they are masters of flow from Rakim to AZ to Nas, new York rappers flow with a cadence as complex as the city they’re from. Want a lesson in flow? Listen to Big Pun, Kool G Rap, and AZ for a masterclass in a family tree of flows.

What are some of your favorite flows?

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