Music of the Millennials


By Anjelica Blige

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Scroll through your iTunes and take a look at all the artists you have. Each of them may be different, but we have downloaded them for the same reason–they make us feel some type of way. Each Millennial has different preferred genres that can best describe what and how they feel; this is just a small list containing some of the many.


Starting in the early ’90s, grunge was a staple among Millennials at the time. It spoke to their feelings of rebellion and angst while strumming through dark, heavy guitar sets. Grunge may not sound like the most pleasant of terms, but Millennials couldn’t care less. The black-sound evoked the mood of the youth and was also represented through their clothes which were, well, grungy.


Some may argue that a newer version of grunge is dubstep. “It combines new technology, heavy bass, dance parties, and drug culture–everything a reckless young person could want,” BTR’s DJ Drew says.

It seems as if even love ballads from traditional vocalists will have a dubstep version by Skrillex or Diplo two weeks later. The euphoric feeling that overcomes you while listening to dubstep makes you want to dance around like you have no worries–and I suppose that’s why Millenials are so into it.


For generations now, hip-hop has been an influential part of coming of age. The anti-government sound of hip-hop acts like The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy engulfed Gen X twenty-somethings and made them want to be proactive about sociopolitical situations going on in their communities and around the world.

“The music used to match the times that we were living in. Hip-hop was the voice for the voiceless. Yes, there was party music, but you still had groups in the 90s like P.E., Boogie Down Productions, Ice Cube, Kane, and the list goes on,” BTR’s DJ Wayne Ski says. “They would speak where they were from and what was happening was real.”

There was a heavy voice of the AIDS epidemic going on and the then recent popularity of cocaine use in society. “These records speak about things that were happening then, but seems like they could see the future,” recalls Ski.

In the ’90s, legends like Nas, Tupac, and The Notorious B.I.G. owned the mic. Although the two latter artists’ time was cut short, to this day, they influence and enable hip-hop artists and inspire Millennials with a feeling of power despite being a bit rough-around-the-edges. Other notable artists to emerge out of the 90’s were Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Wu-Tang Clan.

The 2000’s in hip-hop can be described through the birth of autotune and the rise of “club bangers.” Artists now use fast beats and catchy melodies to attract their audiences–us Millenials–while we’re out with our friends on a Friday night. T-Pain and Kanye West are pro-autotune and if you think about it, you know you always sing along when “Bartender” comes on at the bar.

DJ Wayne Ski is quick to point out, though, that “today it’s about the lifestyle of the industry not the actual life people are living. The only real progress is if you can make a quick buck, but at what cost?”


Skweee, or Scandinavian R&B, emerged around Swedish and Finnish labels Flogsta Danshall and Harmonia. The genre modernizes boogaloo electronics with the sounds of famous bling/glitch sounds of producers like Timbaland and The Neptunes. Most songs are purely instrumentals, but still energize Millennials in the same dance-y fashion as Dubstep.

Future Garage

Future Garage, or EDM, is rising into the realms of the most popular music genres. Those who listen to it love the way it makes them move and feel alive, like nothing can bring you down. Future Garage can be best described as electronic dance music incorporating UK garage sounds with softer elements of traditional two-step garage music.

The most famous of Future Garage artists are Disclosure, SBTRKT, and Bonobo who make popular remixes of some other notable artists such as M.I.A. and Radiohead.