Sounds like a stupid question, I know. I guess it really comes down to these three questions:
- when is a song considered an instrumental?
- what counts as lyrics?
- is it possible for the lines drawn in the first two questions to diverge?
Some examples in hip hop music:
- an instrumental version of a hip hop song that usually has rap verses, but where the chorus vocals remain (this would not be it’s own work, so the question whether it’s an instrumental work is void). (streaming example)
- an “instrumental hip hop” (the genre) song where a vocalist is featured providing mostly non-word-vocals and maybe one or two words or phrases in the chorus. (streaming example)
- another “instrumental hip hop” song that samples more than just the usual one-line vocal pieces from another song. (streaming example)
- a hip hop song without any newly recorded vocals, but where lots of samples from other songs are scratched together to form new lyrics. (streaming example)
What do you think?