Low-fidelity is the underdog genre of raw music

Clarissa King

Photo Credits: Katie Fata

Lofi music may be an underappreciated genre of music but the music is a space for all types of creators like producers and artists. The music has gained fame originally through Youtube and now has branched into going viral on TikTok and other social media.

Lofi is an abbreviation of “low-fidelity,” which refers to the reduced quality of recording to maintain imperfections in the recording (like the crackle of vinyl, as stated by Sarcastic Sounds) and give an “analog” sound. Analog can be described as the continuous sound waves that are created by the artists and their equipment.

There are essentially two types of lofi: beats and hip-hop. The beats are most well-known from the Lofi Girl (formerly known as Chilled Cow) livestream and playlists from YouTube and Spotify. Lofi Girl’s youtube channel where the live lofi music started has over 2 million subscribers. These songs are instrumentals that utilise technology and instruments to create relaxing beats for studying and sleeping.

On both the hip-hop and beats sides of lofi there are creators all over the world. The talents people have range from rappers, singers and producers. A lot of the creators started on SoundCloud. 

Powfu is one of those artists. Powfu is a rapper and singer from Vancouver, British Columbia, who has been making music since 2018 via SoundCloud. Born Isaiah Fabor, he is the son of Dave Fabor, who was a member of the punk band, Fabor Drive. 

 Many songs are collaborations between creators. One of the most noteworthy collaborations is between two lofi rappers, Powfu and Rxseboy. 

Rxseboy (pronounced “rose boy”) signed with a sub-record label of Sony this year and debuted with the single “Jimmy”, feat. Sarcastic Sounds.

Through lofi, these two rappers have become best friends and have collaborated on several songs. Their songs charted on the US Top 100 Songs. Producer Sarcastic Sounds has also worked with Powfu and Rxseboy.

 Sarcastic Sound’s biggest success was producing a lofi version of the TikTok popular song, “Eyes Blue Like the Atlantic ”. That was the project, he was accompanied by Powfu, Rxseboy, and Alec Benjamin. He just signed as producer for Columbia Records.

Choruses in lofi songs are often simple but they also help the song to create a deeper meaning. The chorus is oftentimes juxtaposed with rap verses that tell a story. Some songs don’t even have a chorus because in my opinion the artists create art for art, not for the industry. Artists are creative and use a unique song structure.

Lofi music is released a lot more often than mainstream artists. Most of the releases are in the form of  singles and EPs. Powfu values not being tied down to strict releasing schedules. His rationale behind favoring EPs is providing fresh music for his fans when he wants to. 

The topics covered in this genre of music vary greatly. The songs are very unique because of how individual each artist is. However there are many common threads between the songs in this genre.

There is plenty of light hearted music, but most of the music is about mental health and insecurities and it is shown through the lyrics. With no major record labels to censor them, lofi artists aim to share their raw emotions and experiences. 

Besides enjoying being creative with music, lofi artists are also motivated to create by wanting to share their feelings with others in hopes of helping others who feel the same way. 

Most lofi artists are college-age, so they have a perspective similar to ours as young adults. They share their ideas and emotions through music that is both narrative and poetry.

The duration of the songs is also very unique to the genre. The songs range from two to three minutes, with one and four-minute songs at the extremes. So if you are looking to listen to lofi, you will be able to listen to a lot of great music in a short period of time.

Lofi music is a very genre that has started from the bottom and has grown a lot in less than 10 years. If you love the themes and production of NF, AJR, Alec Benjamin, and Twenty Øne Piløts, then you are sure to love lofi.