The Meaning of Lo-Fi: What It Is and How To Use It

What is the meaning of lo-fi, and what is the lo-fi genre of music? Keep reading to learn all about lo-fi music, popular lo-fi artists, and more!

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Have you ever seen playlists of lo-fi music and wondered what makes something lo-fi? This article will cover the meaning of lo-fi, popular lo-fi artists, the origin of lo-fi hip-hop, and translations of lo-fi so that you can communicate about lo-fi with anyone! 

What Does the Word Lo-Fi Mean?

Lo-fi is an abbreviation for low-fidelity. This adjective refers to a type of music that features simple instrumentation, a calming tempo, simple drum patterns, grainy or gritty audio, and often an absence of lyrics. 

Lo-fi is considered a combination of indie hip-hop, indie pop, indie rock, chillhop music, electronic music, and downtempo music.

Often, the term low fidelity is considered a bad thing when it comes to music. It implies a lack of quality and the presence of technical flaws from sound reproduction in the sound recordings, like distortion. However, this type of music has slowly gained popularity as a backing track for studying, reading, working, or focusing. People love listening to lo-fi hip-hop beats to keep them focused.

Lo-fi music often utilizes drum loops with kicks and snares, a heavy bass, tape saturation, jazz chord progressions, and samples of other songs to create this chill study music. Lo-fi tracks sometimes use vocal samples, but they do not have vocals in the traditional sense. Piano and guitar are also sometimes featured in a lo-fi tune.

Lo-fi recordings bring about an air of nostalgia and garage rock — they are not the kind of music you would hear in nightclubs, but a gentle hum of background noise that you can get lost in.

The genre of music that encompasses lo-fi beats has three main categories. Lo-fi hip-hop is the most popular, but there are also the lo-fi house and chillwave genres.

Popular Lo-Fi Artists

Finding new artists is a great way to expand your taste in music. If someone only listens to one genre of music or a few select artists, they may not realize just how many genres of music they might enjoy. 

By broadening your horizons, you can learn more about all of the different music genres in the world. Some of them you may like, and some you may not, but you will never know until you try listening to them!

There are many musicians that are considered to be a part of the lo-fi genre of music. EDM Sauce lists many of these artists. How many of these artists are you familiar with, and which do you plan to listen to?

  • HOME
  • Jinsang
  • Smoke Trees
  • Small Black
  • HM Surf
  • Neon Indian
  • Kasper Lindmark
  • Hotel Pools
  • potsu
  • Idealism
  • Tycho
  • Nujabes
  • Avocuddle
  • DJ Seinfeld
  • j’san
  • ocha
  • eevee
  • Pictureplane
  • Ross From Friends
  • DJ Windows XP/DJ Windows 7
  • goosetaf
  • Kupla
  • Tomppabeats
  • Lofi Radiance
  • Guustavv
  • Koosen
  • chief.
  • Nokiaa
  • mt. fujitive
  • Leavv
  • MillionYoung
  • Ariel Pink
  • Shiloh Dynasty
  • Ducktails
  • Toro y Moi
  • Bruce Trail
  • Kazam
  • Jobii
  • Stumbleine
  • Nohidea
  • Mall Grab
  • Keep Shelly In Athens
  • Memory Tapes
  • Nymano
  • Washed Out
  • Oatmello
  • Dontcry
  • mell-ø
  • SwuM

What Is the Origin of Lo-Fi Hip-Hop?

Lo-fi hip-hop originated from the American producer and rapper J Dilla and a Japanese DJ called Nujabes. These two broke ground in the genre when they put jazz, hip-hop, and electronic music sounds together to create this unique genre.

In the early 2010s, lo-fi music began to gain popularity on YouTube. Subscribers began to Livestream lo-fi music and created lo-fi playlists. One of the most popular YouTube channels for lo-fi beats, ChilledCow (AKA Lofi Girl) became an online radio station after consistent live stream successes. 

How Can Lo-Fi Be Used in a Sentence?

Lo-fi will most commonly be used to refer to the genre of music. While other things can be referred to as low-fidelity, the term lo-fi is strictly reserved for music. Take a look at these examples of lo-fi to learn how to use lo-fi in a sentence:

We put on some lo-fi beats while we studied to prevent ourselves from getting distracted.

I tried to get into the lo-fi genre, but it just wasn’t for me.

I love finding new lo-fi artists. The way they blend genres is amazing.

What Are Translations of Lo-Fi?

If you’re trying to communicate about lo-fi music with people who do not speak English, you can reference this list of translations of low fidelity. Since lo-fi music rarely uses lyrics, this genre of music can be shared with people all over the world. 

  • Latvian: zema uzticība
  • Italian: bassa fedeltà
  • Hindi: कम निष्ठा
  • Swahili: Uaminifu wa chini
  • Czech: nízká věrnost
  • Slovenian: nizka knjiga
  • French: basse fidélité
  • Chinese (PRC): 低保真
  • Croatian: niska vjernost
  • Vietnamese: độ chính xác thấp
  • Hebrew: נאמנות נמוכה
  • Gujarati: ઓછી વફાદારી
  • Malay: kesetiaan yang rendah.
  • Urdu: کم مخلص
  • Portuguese (Portugal): baixa fidelidade
  • Romanian: fidelitate scazuta
  • German: Niedrige Treue
  • Basque: fideltasun baxua
  • Norwegian: lavt troskap
  • Russian: низкая верность
  • Thai: ความเที่ยงตรงต่ำ
  • Welsh: ffyddlondeb isel
  • Lithuanian: Mažas ištikimybė
  • Arabic: منخفضة الدقة
  • Indonesian: kesetiaan rendah
  • Japanese: 低い忠実度
  • Greek: χαμηλή πιστότητα
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 低保真
  • Tamil: குறைந்த நம்பகத்தன்மை
  • Korean: 낮은 충실도
  • Bulgarian: Ниска верност
  • Hungarian: alacsony hűség
  • Danish: lavtroskab.
  • Slovak: nízka vernosť
  • Swedish: låg trohet
  • Malayalam: കുറഞ്ഞ വിശ്വസ്തത
  • Ukrainian: низька вірність
  • Bengali: কম সততা
  • Catalan: baixa fidelitat
  • Spanish: baja fidelidad
  • Amharic: ዝቅተኛ ታማኝነት
  • Filipino: mababang katapatan
  • Estonian: Madal truudus
  • Turkish: düşük sadakat
  • Marathi: कमी निष्ठा
  • Portuguese (Brazil): baixa fidelidade
  • Telugu: తక్కువ విశ్వసనీయత
  • Serbian: ниска верност
  • Kannada: ಕಡಿಮೆ ನಿಷ್ಠೆ
  • Polish: niska wierność


The term lo-fi refers to a type of music that utilizes repeated rhythms and purposeful imperfections in the music production itself. Lo-fi is sometimes spelled low-fi.


  1. Lo-fi Definition & Meaning | 
  2. 25 Lo Fi Artists That You’ll Love | EDM Sauce 
  3. Low Fidelity Translations | Nice Translator