VP originated during the early 2010s and spread over the next half of the decade among various Internet communities. It is characterized by a nostalgic or surrealist fascination with entertainment, technology and advertising (particularly of the 1980s and 1990s), and styles of both corporate and popular music such as lounge music, smooth jazz and elevator music. Artists often embrace classical sculpture, web design, surrealism, capitalism, low-poly computer renderings, glitch art, VHS recordings, cassette tapes, Japanese art and cyberpunk tropes. Sampling is prevalent within the genre, with samples often pitched down, layered or altered (earlier in a classic chopped and screwed style).
Many have interpreted vaporwave music as a critique or reflection on consumer capitalism and popular culture, as its name alludes to vaporware, a term for products that are announced but never released. The visual style of vaporwave (as seen on album covers and music videos) commonly uses Greek mythology, 1990s-era computing services and operating systems, VHS tapes, technology and the era's advances thereof, as well as relics of capitalism and advertising from that era as both inspiration and direct sources. The art typically references cyberpunk and dystopian culture, as well as the culture of big business and yuppies WIKIPEDIA