Were you brought up on Old School Hip Hop from Biggie and Tupac, or do you prefer Drake, XXX Tentacion and the New School approach?

 What’s the difference between Old School and New School anyway? Rather than take sides, let’s try and break down the difference between the two schools of thought!

Old School

Old School Hip Hop artists are considered the O.G.’s of Gangster Rap in some circles. Artists like The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, N.W.A and Mobb Deep, but also more conscious Hip Hop artists like The Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, Common and Mos Def. 

Many rappers from this era used heavy-hitting punchlines and clever wordplay to entertain their listeners. Their delivery leaned on the rhythm of the words and verses, more so than the melodic structure or choruses of the track. 

This music has its roots in the street parties of the 80s, where D.J.s would extend the drum breaks for people to dance, and Emcees would jam out their chosen style or flow of rapping. Ultimately this evolved to include scratching, mixing and completely improvised freestyle rapping techniques.

New School Hip Hop


Things began to change in 2008 when Kanye released the landmark ‘808s and Heartbreaks’. The album departed from rhythm-heavy vocals, veering towards a more melodic vocal style that also embraced effects like autotune.

Although the genre was constantly evolving, this album represented a significant shift in what Hip Hop could be, opening the genre to a bigger audience and helping pave the way for some of our favourite New School artists like Drake, Lil Baby, Gunna, Doja Cat and Cardi B.  

Not So Different?

As different as Old School and New School are, they share a lot, including their ability to experiment, push boundaries, and perhaps most importantly, be a social commentary of the time.

At the end of the day, good Hip Hop is good Hip Hop. So whether it’s Old School or New School, we say: enjoy it all!