2011: The Year Dubstep—And “Brostep,” and Post-Dubstep—Dropped

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 29 2011 4:59 PM

Dubstep’s Breakout Year in One Infographic

112252588
Photo of Skrillex at Coachella byMichael Tullberg/Getty Images.


Pop music has not been at a loss for trends in 2011. Over at Slate’s Music Club, 2011 has been discussed as the year of whistle-pop, the year indie and R&B made nice, the year of the people’s mic, and the year of Canadians. Meanwhile, at MTV Hive, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd has written a retrospective on one of 2011’s other biggest trends, dubstep’s invasion of the mainstream, and with Ho-Mui Wong she made a handy infographic to boot.

With as fractured and ill-defined a scene as dubstep in 2011, it’s helpful to see it all in one image. These days dubstep means not just the ghostly vocals and sparse beats of someone like Burial, but also the flatulent bass of “brostep” acts like Skrillex, Rusko, and (sometimes) Deadmau5. To add to all this, 2011 saw these sounds not just in the clubs of the U.K. and the margins of Pitchfork, but in the American mainstream of pop hits and massive festivals. As the MTV essay describes it:

Advertisement

2011 opened with a Britney Spears dubstep song—”Hold It Against Me,” a predictably catchy, vampy come-on with a bass-throb breakdown, along with major Mandee in-store potential. And 2011 closed with a Korn dubstep album.

The year also saw dubstep infiltrate hip-hop by way of tracks like Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Who Gon Stop Me” and found an unlikely partner in blue-eyed soul via James Blake. The whole boom was enough for the genre to receive (arguably) the South Park treatment, helping to certify it as a bona fide cultural phenomenon.

The chart below recaps this more cleanly than I ever could. Click on the image for a larger version, and check out the essay here.

2011 in Dubstep Infographic

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Photos of the Crowds That Took Over NYC for the People’s Climate March

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

I Wrote a Novel Envisioning a Nigerian Space Program. Then I Learned Nigeria Actually Has One.

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 11:13 AM Your Own Personal Rand Paul How the libertarian hero makes his foreign policy contradictions disappear.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 22 2014 9:39 AM Adrian Peterson Has a Terrible Contract, and Cutting Him Would Save the Vikings a Lot of Money
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 22 2014 11:15 AM Avenue of the Baobabs: Madagascar's Magical Upside-Down Trees
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Science
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 11:23 AM Robot Plants Are the Latest in a Long Line of Robot Thingies
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 11:23 AM Two Impacts, One Landslide… on Mercury
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.