City pop

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City pop is a subgenre of Neo-Gylian Sound that originated in Gylias in the 1990s. It represents the more hip hop and funk-oriented end of the style, characterised by more emphasis on groove and texture than melodies, and the predominance of celebratory urban themes.


The term emerged in the 1990s, to characterise musicians who were associated with the broader Neo-Gylian Sound scene but departed from its melodic focus and lavish orchestration in favour of a more modest, hip hop-influenced sound.

The term was influenced by the existence of metro pop, an Akashian musical aesthetic of the 1980s with similar big city themes.


City pop shares an emphasis on production, atmosphere, and musical eclecticism with its parent style, Neo-Gylian Sound. The main difference is a reduced emphasis on lavish orchestration and dance music, replaced by an emphasis on rhythm, groove, and hip hop and funk influences.

Common traits of city pop songs include sampling, boom bap beats paired with mellow samples, turntablism, and alternating rapped and sung vocals. Thematically, it preserves the joyous cosmopolitanism of Neo-Gylian Sound, but places emphasis on a romantic view of urban lifestyles and diverse communities, thus arguably manifesting an even stronger demopolitan aspect.

These shared aspects made it easy for Neo-Gylian Sound acts to move between Neo-Gylian Sound and city pop, depending on the song, while city pop and Neo-Gylian Sound acts were open to collaboration. The various international scenes that came to be associated with Neo-Gylian Sound also showed a similar predilection for dipping in and out of city pop.


The Beastie Boys were a fundamental touchstone for the emergence of city pop. Their albums Check Your Head (1992) and Ill Communication (1994) were heavily influential on the style's relaxed sound, groove emphasis, and urban atmosphere. Other notable influences included the dance-rock of the period, ambient house, the jazz fusion and post-rock convergence, and Snoop Dogg's "stoner rap" style.

The start of city pop is conventionally dated to 1992–1994, the period when its main representatives Beck, Cibo Matto, and Luscious Jackson made their debut. Beck's eclectic fusion of hip hop, rock, and Delta blues on Odelay (1994) made a great impact on the genre, while his "slacker rap" and easygoing vocal style came to be shared by his colleagues.

The years 1996–1999 are seen as the style's peak, with popular releases from Beck, Cibo Matto, Luscious Jackson, and Imani Coppola. Several established acts also came to be associated with the subgenre, including the Beastie Boys, Cornelius, and Takako Minekawa. The subgenre's influence made its way to international scenes and acts that were influenced or allied with the Neo-Gylian Sound scene.

City pop receded in popularity during the 2000s, as its leading acts went into hiatus or released less successful albums. It experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 2010s.