Dubstep: The Sound of the Future?

Throughout EDM’s moments of popularity, there have been two styles that have withstood the test of time: House and Trance. Various subgenres of those two have come along (Acid House, Electro House, Goa Trance, etc….) some have lasted, some haven’t but nonetheless those two “umbrella” genres have stayed.  On the other hand, many have come and gone. From Drum N’ Bass to Happy Hardcore to Techno, various genres have attempted to make the big two a big 3, yet none have truly succeeded.

The next contender has arrived, and it is known as dubstep. Dubstep, for those who don’t know, is a predecessor of Drum N Bass music (though at a much slower tempo). It often features syncopated shuffles, bass drops, reggae vocals, and lots of “wobble” and sub bass sounds.  Its knows for its “filthy” sounds, and is very bass heavy.

It has achieved a lot of popularity in the UK dance scene, and is slowly making it over to American shores, and is gaining popularity.  Artists such as Rusko and Skream are becoming more and more well known in the dance music community.  Canadian progressive house artist Deadmau5 recently dropped two dubstep tracks on his last album. Dubstep has even cracked the Billboard charts with Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites currently at #11 on the Dance/Electronic charts (one position ahead of David Guetta! ).

But will it last or is dubstep just a flash in the pan? In my opinion, I don’t see dubstep ever truly lasting or reaching its potential. I think what kills dubstep is that it automatically makes itself a niche category. Traditionally dance music is in a roughly 130-bmp tempo with a “four to the floor” pattern.  This is simply because this drum pattern is the easiest for people to dance to. Dubstep uses much more obscure rhythms and as someone who frequents clubs often, I can’t really see dubstep making people want to dance. Away from the dance community, I don’t see the appeal for the general public, as it’s generally a very dark style without much pop appeal (I definitely don’t see dubstep hitting the radio any time soon). In the end, I see dubsteps legacy being closer to that of drum n bass than that of trance. I do believe, however, that if used properly dubstep can be a useful influence in the development of other genres.  The sub bass and drops could be used very easily in hip-hop beats and various forms of pop music.

Ultimately, the future of dubstep depends on how it’s utilized, it’s a style with great potential and time will tell its future.

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