Since the very beginning of hip-hop, rap music, or whatever you choose to call it, one question was asked, “how long will it last?” Nearing its 30th anniversary, we just might be close to the answer, Nas was correct folks, hip-hop is dead, and looks to stay that way for quite some time. What was once rebel music deemed fit to drive, steer, lead and describe an entire generation, has turned into buffoonery, gotten immature, and has been made a mockery of. Cardboard and break dancing, the DJ and the emcee, two turntables and a mic……. I can count the DJ’s that still use turntables on 2 hands! This shit is a joke that I’m ashamed to be apart of. Lyrics are extinct, beats and hooks are more valuable then ever. Fans use to buy the records, then the labels started doing it for them, then eventually everybody just stopped. The people used to dictate what got played on the radio, now it’s vice versa. The sad part about that is, the majority of these radio DJ’s that force feed this bullshit on us, are grown ass men in their late 30′s, early 40′s. They don’t like most of the shit they’re playin.’ Who really thinks Funkmaster Flex gets in his car with his family and puts Tony Yayo’s cd in?
Hip-Hop is a business on the decline. So much so, that labels refuse to do much legwork anymore, so we can all kiss artist development goodbye. Which means right when we come across an artist with Nas, Jay, or Biggie-like potential, all you’ll get out of ‘em is a ringtone—which is replacing Soundscan by the way. Sell a bunch of those and you become a commodity. In less then 3 years, you’ll walk into the nearest Best Buy, F.Y.E, etc., and there wont even be a section for cd’s. Rightfully so, being that music doesn’t sell, images do. But then again you can’t download those, so maybe there’s still hope.
What we’re witnessing is a bad break up. The love is gone. Artists don’t love the culture, they love the money. Labels don’t love the artists, they love the money. And though there’s enough to go around, too much of anything will kill you, or in this instance, “it”. I had a nigga the other day tell me Rakim was wack. Another nigga had never heard a Tribe album. A few years ago I remember J-Kwon dissin Raekwon for sharing the name ‘Kwon’!!?? Still dont believe me ? You can go on any hip hop message board and you’re bound to read some of the most ignorant shit you’ve ever read regarding rap.
The question now becomes, who killed hip-hop? The artists, the producers, the labels, or the fans? It’s the same as asking, “what came first, the chicken, or the egg?” Who the fuck knows. But to anybody who still disagrees that the art of expression is no longer, next time you listen to your favorite rap song ask yourself: What exactly are they expressing? And why?