Hip Hop and ya don’t…stop?

Time magazine recently published an article describing the hard times that have befallen the rap world. Now I know, I know, some of you out there might say “Good!” but rein it in, grandpa. The art form is legitimate, despite what you might have heard.

Sales are down, creativity (in the mainstream rap world) is in the sewer, and the self destructive, excess driven lifestyle is proving to be unsustainable for all but a few standouts.

As a kid, I got my musical start listening to crappy AOR in my big brothers car (Styx, Foreigner, Hall….AND Oates), but in my teens, I was exposed to all sorts of stuff and I really credit that period in my life as being responsible for enabling me to appreciate music and not genres. Sure, that’s when I got all into Rush and Zeppelin, but that’s also when I learned all about Public Enemy and Erik B and Rakim and RunDMC and Slick Rick and Tribe Called Quest and NWA and…the list goes on.

I hate what modern hip hop has become, but it’s inevitable, isn’t it? If it’s successful, milk it dry until it’s no longer recognizable. That’s what the business part of the music business does. They did it to country, they did it to “alternative” rock, and they’re doing it to rap.

I’m not lamenting the fact that some of today’s more “questionably” talented rap artists won’t be able to buy that third solid platinum Bentley, but I do recognize that a musical genre that has plenty to offer creatively is bankrupting itself in every sense of the word.


~ by willtuck on August 21, 2007.

5 Responses to “Hip Hop and ya don’t…stop?”

  1. the business part of the industry is not about music at all. took me 20 years to realize this. So ‘don’t feel it,you gotta fight it’
    …like Prince! Keep up the great writing

  2. hip hop is far from dying, in fact, it’s flourishing.

    nhak and i had a discussion about this article the other day, and i think there’s a common misconception about what is hip hop versus mainstream rap. there are significant differences between the two genres, and this is almost a perfect example of what makes them so unique from one another.

    i am by no means trying to say one is better than the other, but to me, hip hop is culture, and mainstream rap (while a derivative of the former) is a subjective mentality. yes, there are hip hop artists that are in the light of being mainstream, but compare the music and it’s the difference between night and day.

    there’s nothing poetic about partying like a rockstar and sippin on purple drank. just the same, songs about oppression and discrimination don’t make me want to roll dubs on my toyota van.

    it’s no surprise that the mainstream is starting to decline. artists are not finding much room for other types of music, so what you hear now are reincarnations of the same thing. the only differences are the faces behind the music.

  3. Your distinction between hip hop and rap is a good one, and one I should have made in my original post. Hip hop does encompass a wider range of cultural experience, including art (graffiti) and dance (breakdancing).

    Maybe the division is positive. Maybe it lets hip hop remain a purer folk music while more mainstream and less challenging rap artists accrue populist appeal.

  4. I expect the same division exists within most genres of music. For example I don’t listen to any mainstream country. Toby Keith can choke on a dust bunny for all I care. But quite a few of the bands I do like can be classified as “alt-country”. I can dig the slide guitar and not want to wear a NASCAR muscleshirt. In some respects this reflects well on the hip-hop community; at least they have better names to differentiate the “good” from the “bad”.

    I myself don’t care if mainstream rap is on the way out. I’ve had enough of the misogynistic greedy base lyrics, and their 3 beats have been all but used up. I would hate to see hip hop in general dragged into the mix, though. And I agree with zooloo that it doesn’t look like that is happening in any way.

  5. […] for their performance, I came across an article about their comeback which, surprisingly, speaks to a topic recently discussed here on […]

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