So Kanye West and Fiddy Cent sold a shiteload of albums last week. Whoopty frickin' do. Unfortunately, this news is coming at a time in which several other developments suggest that hip-hop might really be on a permanent downward swing, regardless of a few TIs big payday this month.

First of all, I wouldn't know, because why the fuck would I be watching BET, but I've heard that Rap City has been pushed all the way back to 1:00 in the morning.

Now, I can't claim to have seen an episode of Rap City since way back in the days when Joe Clair and that fat woman who was in the Grand Puba video hosted it. I spent most of this decade living in the kind of town that doesn't even get BET, and I hadn't been watching it for a while before that. But this can't possibly bode well for hip-hop, can it?

You have to think that Rap City was still an important venue for promoting rap music, since as recently as a week ago Fiddy was on there shilling for Curtis. Granted it probably won't matter as much for the likes of Fiddy and Ye Toodles, since they can just go on TRL or 106 and Park or whatever, but what about the artists who aren't quite on that Ye and Fiddy level, i.e. pretty much everyone else in hip-hop?

Which begs the question: why would BET move Rap City way back to 1:00 in the morning anyway? Is it that much less profitable than whatever they plan to run in its place. Obviously it would be hard to say, not being privy to their financial information, but let's face it. Pretty much everything BET has come up with that doesn't involve playing videos has been a complete and utter embarrassment.

In fact, you have to wonder what's more of an embarrassment to the black race: the sight of some southerner with a mouth full of gold teeth waving a stack of money around in front of some grotesquely proportioned, half-dressed woman, or the fact that this is still the best thing the Ivy League diversity graduates who run BET have been able to come up with by a wide margin?

But enough about BET. I was also saddened to read, just now, that Scratch magazine will be going the way of the dodo bird (and, eventually, hip-hop itself) after next month's issue with Fiddy and Timbaland on the cover.

Not that I ever read Scratch magazine myself, but again I wonder what the ultimate implication will be for hip-hop as a whole. And this one hits especially close to home, since Scratch was owned by the same TIs that own XXL. Hopefully, this won't be a matter of, "First they came for the hip-hop purists," if you catch my drift.

And I realize that the purist nature of Scratch is probably fairly debatable anyway. The buzz on the Internets is that it used to be really good, but then XXL took over and the whole thing went to shit. Though I'm sure the people over at Scratch would argue that they didn't have any choice. They had to get paid, and how else are you going to get paid in the magazine business other than putting something sensational on the cover and hoping people are confused enough to reach for their wallets?

Finally, speaking of magazines and also the death of hip-hop, the cover of next month's issue of XXL, with 12 guys who are supposed to be the next big thing in hip-hop, was leaked the other day. On the one hand, I suppose the good people at XXL deserve credit for not putting someone like Lil' Wayne or Fiddy on the cover, even if it's for no other reason than that they just couldn't come up with an excuse for putting either of those two on the cover for the third time already this year.

On the other hand, if Lupe Fiasco and Rich Boy and Lil' Boosie are the people we're counting on to keep hip-hop alive now that Fiddy Cent is probably going to have to retire, then hip-hop really is in trouble. Nevermind Kanye and Fiddy selling a million and a half albums in a week, look at what we're going to be left with once those two move on to become fashion designers or fake CEOs or whatever.