5 lesser known music genres to dive into in 2021

Unconsciously separating artists and songs into different genres has been a constant within the music industry since its formative years; by having a favourite music genre, music lovers are able to explore and collect new songs to enjoy with ease.

Identifying music to certain genres has helped categorize different pieces of music by focusing on the shared traditions, conventions, and what emotions the songs elicit in its listeners.

This traditionalist few towards labelling music has seen massive change in recent years, as the Internet has allowed the musical landscape to explode outward, with new niche music genres seemingly being created every day.

And, due to the constant ebb and flow of the Internet, many of these newly emerging subgenres won’t have a long shelf life, but there are always exceptions. For instance, Grime began as a subgenre of UK Garage. So, here are 5 lesser-known subgenres that you can fall in love with.

  Low-Fidelity Hip Hop

Better known as lo-fi hip hop, or Chillhop, this is a genre of music that focuses on playing low-fidelity music, with soft beats and lower tempos. Lo-fi hip hop has become huge in recent years amongst hard-working students and those who enjoy falling asleep to music, due to lo-fi hip hops’ ability to chill out and calm its listeners.

Low-fidelity music has become culturally significant for the creation of many other niche music styles that derive from its aesthetic choices regarding self-made non-studio influenced music and its ability to evoke feelings of nostalgia, and relaxation.

The rise of modern digital workstations has allowed lo-fi artists to create work wherever they are, with the pandemic helping the genres rapid growth, as musicians are no longer able to travel for work. A live 24-hour collection of the best lofi beats has been aptly named “lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” is a fantastic place to start your lofi adventure.

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Hyperpop might be the most required taste of this list, taking its roots from the experimental electric pop of the early 2010s, which makes hyperpop a subgenre of a subgenre. This genre is most often categorized by an absurd fusion of hip-hop, dubstep, trance, and, most importantly, pop. Having first emerged in the mid- to late 2010s, hyperpop began to see a major increase in eager listeners and loyal fans.

This is partly due to Spotify launching a hyperpop playlist in August of 2019, but only time will tell whether hyperpop will be the next big genre for the current generation to fall in love with.

Check this playlist out: 100 Gecs is a great starting point for dipping your toes in this rather bizarre genre.


Glitch is a member of the EDM family of music. It first emerged on the scene in the late 1990s, but has become more popular in recent years. Glitch distinguishes itself from other genres by intentionally utilizing an aesthetic of failure; it achieves this by including deliberate system error sounds and audio mistakes. You can say, for a fact, that this is where ‘Glitch’ derives its name from.

The Glitch genre of music attempts to provide its listeners with a heart-thumping experience, while also keeping them on their toes, waiting for the next absurdity in the song.

Glitch remixes of popular songs are becoming more popular, but, if you want to jump straight into the deep end of glitch music, go have a listen to the genre’s pioneers, ‘The Glitch Mob’.

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  New Wave Jazz

For a lot of younger people, jazz as a genre is something they associate with being old and outdated; for lack of better words, it’s their grandparents’ music. With the Golden Age ending decades ago and all the great jazz artists being long gone with it, jazz seems like a thing of the past. It almost seemed like it was the last days of jazz, but recently there has been a recurrence in the jazz world, escaping from the speakeasy attitudes of the older eras to what has since been titled as New Wave jazz.

The core of New Wave jazz attempts to incorporate the rhythmic features seen in today’s electronic and hip-hop communities, while also combining core jazz instruments with computer-generated synths and sounds – although not forgetting the expressive soul of old-school jazz.

New Wave jazz first saw success in the early 2010s, but has since exploded in Japan’s music scene, with it being widely accepted within the Japanese jazz community. Japan has become somewhat of a Mecca for modern jazz.

New Wave and modern Japanese jazz can be found throughout YouTube, with many fan-made compilations, making it easy for new listeners to explore the genre.


 Kawaii Metal

The strangest entry of this list by far, kawaii metal attempts to introduce heavy metal to an Asian audience. This strange blend of genres achieves this by combining hardcore and heavy metal, with the cutesy aesthetic that is often associated with K-pop and J-pop.

Contrast is everything in this genre, with most songs keeping the tame lyricism that often accompanies J-pop songs, but with the heavy instrumentation found in metal. This genre can also be known as idol metal, as it retains a ‘Japanese Idol’ aesthetic that is significant within Japanese pop culture and its entertainment industry, although with an obvious hardcore twist.

The Japanese trio ‘Babymetal’ are credited with pioneering Kawaii metal, in the early 2010s, and should be your first stop on all things ‘Kawaii Metal’.

The Internet has become a bastion for many like minded creators and artists to share their ideas and opinions regarding music, really opening the doors for future artists to experiment within a more unique and supportive space. Only time will tell what the Future Music will look like, maybe some of the above genres will influence the next big sound.

Sean Barrett
Sean Barrett

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