Riddim Unveiled: The Underground Surge of an EDM Subgenre

For anyone new to the scene or outside of the EDM community, the term “riddim” might spark visions of reggae-infused beats and Jamaican dancehalls. However, in the electrifying realms of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), riddim takes on an entirely different guise, shrouded in the deep oscillations and heavy basslines of a rapidly growing underground subgenre. This post peels back the layers of riddim music, unearthing its origins, charting its trajectory through the EDM landscape, and spotlighting the rising stars that have pioneered its path to prominence.

The Genesis of Riddim

Riddim, or the Jamaican patois pronunciation of ‘rhythm’, is more than a mere beat or the backbone of a melody. Its history is intrinsically woven into the tapestry of dubstep, reggae, and dancehall, each genre contributing to its evolution (iEDM, 2017). The earliest murmurs of riddim’s contemporary form can be traced back to the deep basslines and rhythmic percussions of dubstep luminaries such as Jakes and Rusko, who unwittingly laid the foundations for what would become an EDM powerhouse (edm identity, 2018).

(Insomniac, 2017)

The Proto-Riddim Pioneers

While these artists may not have been exclusively labeled as riddim producers, their work served as the catalyst for the burgeoning subgenre. Jakes, a producer from Bristol, England, and often credited as the progenitor, offered the first shades of riddim around the year 2012. These were later magnified and sharpened by the likes of Subfiltronik into what we recognize as the quintessential riddim sound today (edm identity, 2018). Listen to one of many tracks that share the sound of riddim:

Defining Riddim’s Sound

To the unacquainted ear, riddim music might sound like organized chaos. Minimalistic, repetitive, and charged with an indomitable energy, it’s a sonic experience that’s rooted in a pulsating beat—less can sometimes yield more, especially in the case of riddim. With wobbling basslines that can summon the subtlest of grooves or the mightiest of mosh pits, riddim is a testament to the power of simplicity.

The Twin Pillars of Riddim

At its core, riddim is characterized by its relentless percussive elements and masterfully constructed basslines. Tracks often eschew the complexity of melodies and vocal layers in favor of a focus on tempo and texture. The subgenre boasts a tempo similar to its dubstep ancestor, ranging between 140 to 150 beats per minute. Within this framework, riddim weaves its magic through the strategic use of delays, flangers, and resonant filters (iHeartRaves, 2020).

Icons of the Riddim Underground

While riddim might still lurk in the shadows for some, there exists a vibrant community of enthusiasts and visionaries who not only appreciate the subgenre but further it with their own innovations. These artists are the lifeblood of riddim, injecting new life and rebellious spirit into the genre with every beat, drop, and breakdown.

(lovexysmk.life, 2021)

Pioneers and Pathfinders

Subfiltronik, Shiverz, Megalodon, and Herobust are just a few among the vanguard who have relentlessly dove into the depths of riddim, carving their niche with bone-rattling tracks that refuse to be ignored. Their creativity and daring have paved the way for a new generation of EDM artists to explore the sonic wilderness of riddim and stake their claim to its burgeoning legacy. Examples of recent uprisers in the evolution of Riddim include Oliverse, Svdden Death, Subtronics, and Boogie T (iHeartRaves, 2020).

Riddim in the Mainstream

The allure of riddim’s sonic palette has not gone unnoticed by the mainstream EDM circuit. What was once an esoteric taste has rapidly become a fixture in festival lineups and the pulse of countless clubs. The subgenre’s meteoric rise serves as a testament to its ability to resonate with a broad audience while maintaining its raw, underground appeal.

The Riddim Community

Riddim is more than just a subgenre; it’s a community united by a shared love for its music and culture. The riddim community is an inclusive collective that fosters creativity, expression, and, most importantly, a sense of belonging. From online forums to packed-out venues, riddim enthusiasts gather to share their passion and revel in the intoxicating sounds that bind them.

(Pexels, 2018)

A Growing Movement

The riddim movement is a dynamic force, continuously evolving and adapting to the changing tides of the EDM landscape. Its community, both online and off, is at the heart of its growth, providing a platform for artists, producers, and aficionados to connect, collaborate, and celebrate the music that defines them.

The Future Sounds of Riddim

As we look ahead, the future of riddim is as enigmatic as the subgenre itself. Will it continue to enthrall audiences with its relentless rhythms and seismic bass, or will it morph into something even more electrifying? One thing is certain—the legacy of riddim, with its roots firmly entrenched in the Jamaican rhythm, will continue to influence and inspire the pulsating beats of EDM for years to come.

Innovations on the Horizon

Emerging artists are constantly pushing the boundaries of riddim, blending it with other genres, and infusing it with fresh perspectives. This experimental ethos promises an exciting array of sounds and styles that will keep the riddim community on its toes, eager to discover the next breakthrough in their beloved subgenre.

Prime examples of artists mixing genres include Boogie T and Subtronics. Both producers create their unique sounds using the rhythm of dubstep, then cultivate it further into an all new, percussive beat. An example of each artists’ music can be found below.

Riddim Unleashed: A Sonic Adventure

For those who have yet to take the plunge into the deep, electrifying waters of riddim, there has never been a more opportune time. Enter the fray with an open mind and a readiness to indulge in the raw, unapologetic energy of a subgenre that refuses to be categorized. Riddim awaits, ready to indulge your senses and invite you into a world where rhythm reigns supreme.

In conclusion, riddim is more than just a style of music; it’s a movement, a culture, and a testament to the unyielding power of rhythm. Its journey from the clandestine realms of dubstep to the forefront of the EDM scene is a testament to its innovation and unwavering appeal. For those who choose to immerse themselves in its depths, the experience is nothing short of a sonic adventure—one that promises to resonate long after the last bassline has faded.

– Sarah Cooper


Wikimedia Foundation. (2024b, February 22). Riddim (genre). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riddim_(genre)

Ullah-Blocks, J. (2018, March 25). What we like || riddim. EDM Identity. https://edmidentity.com/2018/03/25/what-we-like-riddim/

Landis, Z. (2017, February 27). What is this riddim everyone keeps talking about?. iEDM. https://iedm.com/blogs/onblast-edm-blog/what-is-this-riddim-everyone-keeps-talking-about

Burch, K. (2022, March 4). What is Riddim?. iHeartRaves. https://www.iheartraves.com/blogs/post/what-is-riddim


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