Like decades, music tends to change along with it. No matter how much we try to deny it, each of the past decades can be summarized with one music genre. From the late 1990s into the early 2000s, punk rock music reigned supreme. From Fall Out Boy to Linkin Park (yes, even Nickelback), punk was everywhere you looked. Since the post-breakup of Nirvana, the birth of many early punk rock bands saw their success their star rise. Despite falling to the wayside of the public eye, punk rock always waited in the wings. Fast forward almost 20 years and it seems rock is ready to stake its claim over the music industry yet again.
When the Eminem vs Machine Gun Kelly feud was brought to light, it left rapper MGK with the one holding an L. It seemed like his career was beginning to fade until he released his 2019 hip hop/punk rock-inspired album, Hotel Diablo. The album received well-praised reviews for combining elements of hip hop and slight nods to rock. The album sent shockwaves through the music world and began MGK’s rebirth into an early 2000s pop-rock star. While MGK has always flirted with the two, it became apparent pop-rock was more his style. In 2020 MGK released Tickets To My Downfall, marking his complete transition to rock. The album debuted at number 1 on charts such as Billboards 200, Top Rock Albums, and Top Alternative Albums. MGK became the unofficial pioneer of punk rock’s resurface into mainstream no matter how you slice it. From there, MGK has teamed up with other fellow rappers Mod Sun and blackbear who have also jumped ship from hip hop to more punk. The mastermind behind the rise of punk and rappers successfully transitioning? The one and only Travis Barker.
No matter what punk song you hear on the radio or in the club, 9 times out of 10 Travis Barker is featured on the track. Rolling Stone dubbed the Blink-182 drummer “punk’s first superstar drummer.” You need a great punk track? You call Travis Barker. But this isn’t Barker’s first time working with rappers. In 2011, Travis Barker released his debut album studio album, Give The Drummer Some. Due to his status and previous work with artists, Barker managed to get Lil Wayne, RZA, Busta Rhymes, Pharrell, Kid Cudi, and many more high-profile artists on the project. Now, Travis Barker is talents to crossbreed music genres. Because of him, many hip hop artist has found success in a new lane of music.
It’s just not hip hop stars riding the wave of punk rock. Rising star Olivia Rodrigo has managed to switch her music style to view that of 2000s pop-punk. With the release of her mega-successful debut album, Sour, Olivia has commanded the audience with a mighty fist. Willow Smith, known as Willow, recently released her punk-charged album, lately I feel EVERYTHING, with punk rock vets Travis Barker and Avril Lavigne appearing on the project. We are in the midst of a cultural shift in the way we view artists. Outside of music, society is searching for their identity and sense of belonging. Outdated traditions and practices are no longer being allowed to stand. It’s something that reflects what punk rock began with, finding yourself and casting away all doubts. When the revolution does come (and it will), at least Travis Barker can play us out.