The virtues of simplicity are many, and also too easily dismissed. In hip-hop especially, where complexity is too often equated with progress, the straightforward can get a bad rap. And yet it's music like this, distilled down to first principles, that moves the genre, and gives it many of its signature moments.
Take a pair of sounds that, over the last year or so, cut through the clutter in distinct and different ways. There was the skeletal production of DJ Mustard, often in collaboration with the rapper YG, which became a radio fixture thanks to its stark, almost naïve air, suggesting a savant plinking away at his first keyboard. And then there was the sinister slurring of Sage the Gemini, who released a pair of songs that ended up becoming the soundtrack for countless twerking videos on the video-sharing app Vine, a presence that helped drive sales and chart position.
You can argue that hip-hop has lately been driven by Kendrick Lamar, or Macklemore, or Drake. But Sage the Gemini and DJ Mustard are just as worthy candidates, even if their pleasures are more plainly legible.