Are you a fan of the funky sounds that defined 1980s music, but sometimes wish it was more modern and synthesized? There is a perfect genre for you. Vaporwave, sometimes referred to as Future Funk, is an up-and-coming subgenre of electronic music that samples and draws significant influence from ‘80s funk and pop, but uses the advantage of newer technology to better synthesize the sounds and make it clearer. It is characterized by a nostalgic fascination with retro cultural aesthetics of 1980s, ‘90s and early 2000s video games, technology, post-modern Japanese culture and advertising.
In general, Vaporwave is associated with a more upbeat and fun style, but also includes more chill vibes as well. Musical sampling is prevalent within the genre, with samples often pitched, layered or altered in classic chopped and screwed style (when vocals are slowed and deepened). Vaporwave is relatively new. It grew from SoundCloud artists in the early 2010s, and expanded its influence thanks to YouTube Channels such as Artzie Music and Triangle Music, which collects Vaporwave music from various artists. Because of the electronic nature of Vaporwave and the quickness of album creation, many artists have released several albums, despite only being active for a few years. Though there is a growing amount of artists in the Vaporwave genre, there are a few artists that stand out among the others.
Aaron Velasquez, also known as Flamingosis, is an electronic artist from New Jersey. He mixes various styles with his music, often paying homage to golden age hip-hop and classic soul artists such as MF DOOM and A Tribe Called Quest. Some of his albums include “Great Hair,” “Newski” and “Pleasure Palette.” Flamingosis’ most well-known song at this point is “Football Head,” which has gained a lot of notoriety through various YouTube channels for its smooth vibe and its dual hip-hop and Vaporwave appeal. The song’s title is a clear reference to the hit ‘90s cartoon “Hey, Arnold!”
Dallas Cotton, also known as Yung Bae, is an electronic artist from Portland, Oregon. Most of Yung Bae’s work is an upbeat nod to disco sounds and culture. His albums include “Bae,” “Japanese Disco Edits,” and the newly released “Bae 2.” Some notable songs by Yung Bae include “Fly with Me,” “Something New” and “Honey.”
Maitro is an electronic artist from the Netherlands. This artist has a slightly different style of Vaporwave, often blending small elements of trap music and disco into a slower beat. He seems to have a particular interest in the Dragon Ball franchise, as evidenced by his album artwork and song titles. His albums include “Dragonball Wave,” “Hidden Gems Vol. 1” and “Future Nostalgia Deluxe.” His next album, “Dragonball Wave II,” is supposedly in the works right now. Some of Maitro’s notable works include “Kid Goku,” “Future Trunks” and “Winter Express.”
Princeton Coleman, also known as Yuni Wa, is a DJ and producer from Little Rock, Arkansas. This artist is probably the most commercially well-known in this list, despite only being 19 years old. Though he’s most well-known for his Vaporwave music, he has also produced for lower-key hip-hop artists. Yuni Wa’s albums include “WA,” “Manifesto” and “Yuniversity.” Some of Yuni Wa’s notable works include “Easy,” “So 1989” and “Until Tomorrow.”
The onset and subsequent growth of Vaporwave demonstrates the Internet’s huge potential to harbor great sounding and independent music. Through paying homage to the sounds of the ‘80s and ‘90s, yet using technology to expand its appeal to a broader audience, Vaporwave has grown its influence on independent music and established itself as a viable music genre.