Is Autotune Dead?

by on June 10, 2015

   In 2009, Jay Z declared the end of autotune mayhem with his single, “Death of Autotune.” At the time, artist, T-Pain was featured in almost every rap single, and more rap artists such as, Lil Wayne, began using the Autotune software to do a little bit of singing on their own. Taking the now mainstream genre away from its hard core roots, circa the golden age of hip hop in the 90s.

   Jay Z makes his distaste for the electronic enhancement very clear in the track, even using the artist T-Pain as a verb to illustrate the Autotune trend. And in recent years, the use Autotune has been on the decline, but the use of catch melodies has not. In fact, there are more rappers who sing, or singers who rap since the golden era of the genre.

   So what does this mean for hip hop? Surprisingly, nothing. One can understand why Jay Z may have been fed up with the use of Autotune within hip hop songs back in 2009, because it was so prevalent that there was no balance between emcees who just rapped and those who were trying to sing. But if we look at hip hop from a historical standpoint, hip hop started as melodic. With disco beats and other tunes meant for dance parties, but as music production advanced, so did hip hop. Moving from disco beats to techno sounds and collaborating with singers, to recent times of the rap artist singing themselves with Autotune.

So is Autotune dead? Not completely. It has dwindled, but will most likely cycle through again in this ever-changing genre.