Having paid close attention to SoundCloud rap 1.0 but then missed the era after, I feel like I will never fully catch up to missing digicore in 2020. I know other people who feel the same. As a non-native to the scene, I have accepted my permanent outside status. Although I've been hyped to cover some of the action here on Finals with H.D. Angel's The Browser column and recent articles by Mars/Maria Kate.
Through being on discord, however, and getting to know Gen Z people online, and with help from No Bells I have done some knowledge. So I made the playlist below for people who either slept on this stuff too, or are looking for a nostalgic walk down memory lane. I hope I have approximated what Maria wrote here, a time that saw "the fusion of hyperpop and SoundCloud rap, which transformed what had been swirling as “the scene” or “the underground” into a genre some call digicore and others hesitate to put a name on."
I also hope that I have put together a selection that shows WHY major labels swooped in on this tidepool of music, which they did, selecting mainly cis men as the crossover stars from a scene that was pioneered significantly by trans and femme people, and people of color. They swooped in because the music was so strong, so full of life, so pissed, so emo, so what's-next-in-rap, and like SC rap v. 1, so suburbs-facing and directly connecting with fans that it required very little extra positioning in the marketplace. It was already hitting. Majors made choices to boost Glaive, midwxst and ericdoa based on quality (all very talented) and perceived marketability, purposely/inadvertently corresponding to what resonates with society's typical isms and phobias.
The music changed after that. The scene-building posse cuts went away, and several people pivoted to indie pop. There is still momentum in digicore (or whatever its name is), still vital URL fests, still albums that rank with the best of what's out period. But the early phase seems like a bygone era. I will personally remember it as a glitchy, sparkling creative burst that made me believe in music again. Even retrospectively it gives me a feeling that I need sometimes when music feels stale and I'm forced to listen to old stuff (always a good move BTW) but then someone picks up the baton and shows us something worth diving into.