Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South London, England. The music website Allmusic has described its overall sound as "tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals."
The aggressive, wobbling bassline of dubstep, as well as its spectacular use of crazy robot “noises” translates quite seamlessly to the rambunctious college party scene. Cultural producers like MTV have certainly taken quick notice of this and are ready to market, what core members of the EDM subculture have disdainfully labeled as “brostep,” to these new consumers. Brostep incorporates a massive amount of the characteristic wobbling bass, which is exemplified in the latest work of DJs like Skrillex, Rusko, Caspa, and Borgore.
The popularization of dubstep is further epitomized in the wildly popular, albeit polarizing example of Sonny Moore, former lead singer/frontman of the 2000s screamo band From First to Last. He left the band in 2004 to pursue his solo career only to return in 2008 as the dubstep DJ Skrillex, when dubstep was beginning to “blow up” in American popular music. He quickly became an internet phenomena, an early harbinger of the recent “brostep” wave of popularization which would later be bolstered by user-generated dubstep videos using footage from the Transformers movies. And at the 2011 MTV Music Awards, he walked away with the award for Best New EDM Artist as a result of his popularity under the stage name Skrillex.
Throughout the early 2000s, the genre slowly became darker, and its popularity grew. Dubstep DJs began playing venues that were more accustomed to hosting rock groups, gaining a more substantial fan base. In London, though, the metal edge to the music never reached the borderline chaos it has quickly achieved in the United States.
The first releases in Dubstep were way back in 1998. They began more as a dark experiment of sorts where 2-step garage tracks were remixed in an attempt to fuse it with elements of backbeat and drum and bass. It wan't until 2001 that a few samples of this music came to be played at a night club called Plastic People in London at what was known a "Forward" night. The actual use of the term Dubstep began in 2002 when the strains of music that actually separated the for from 2-step and grime were more discernible.
Sometime in the late 90s, the genre of dubstep came out of the London suburb of Croydon...Oddly enough hardcore became the first truly UK genre to be exported back to the US. While it would seem that UK hardcore was rooted in a strong sense of UK identity, specifically London's acid house parties and subsequent rave scene, something about the music caught the attention of a fe DJs in America. Unlike disco and dance, hardcore was straight white dance music, even if it dad have origins in house.
Dubstep's origins have been traced back to South East London. The UK has a much more vast range of dubstep artists than the U.S and most other countries. America has only recently become intrigued with dubstep, as it still struggles to remain underground.
“Brostep” is a term that emerged to describe the hardcore Dubstep production that is popular today in the US that sounds more “robotic” than earlier styles. These tracks are known for bringing in the use of heavily distorted basslines and “filthy” drops that can “melt your face.” Given both admiration and sentiment for bringing this style to the limelight is EDM’s most-buzzing producer, Skrillex.
Dubstep, along with many forms of electronic music is also inspired by Dub. This musical genre was invented in the late 1960’s and early 70’s by the sound engineers such as King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry and
others in Kingston recording studio and the dancehalls. Their techniques exploited recording and phonographic technologies to excavate the texture, timbres and resonating depths of sound itself.
Dubstep has a shared history with early grime, jungle, drum 'n' bass and UK garage, but also a longer Afrofuturist genealogy linked to Detroit and Eurotechno, electronic funk and Jamaican sound system culture and studio aesthetics. It relies on the media assemblage of independent labels, clubs, private and public radio stations, and websites that post tracks and archive the scene. Producers also use voices, string refrains and percussion that betray an interest in Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern and African soundscapes.
Physically requiring the use of modern technology to produce, this music sounds mechanized. Dubstep first emerged around the turn of the century as an electronic underground nightclub movement in London, although it has only gained widespread popularity in the last few years. Recently, dubstep influence has also worked its way into pop music. Dance breaks in the songs of artists like Britney Spears and Rihanna are undeniably dubstep-inspired.