Is The Recession Good for Hip-Hop?

The recession is a bad thing, no question. The job losses, loss of retirement funds, homes being foreclosed, etc. The negativity is enough to make anyone depressed but as with any situation there are positive effects from this whole thing. For example, Obama sailed to a supreme victory as soon as the economy tanked. Not to mention if you do have money to buy the extra things, you can usually find a blue-light special somewhere.

What about Hip-Hop? No question the recession made an already bad scene for the music business that much worse. Labels are cutting staff and budgets like your neighborhood barber and they’re not just doing shape ups. But it’s not all bad, here’s some positive effects on Hip-Hop I’ve noticed in this recession so far.

1. It’s a great time to be a new artist. A lot of your favorite artists are fading to the background rather than try to weather the rough environment. This gives young, hungry and technologically advanced artists’ a lane to come up quicker and get some air time that would normally be reserved for payola-paying label rosters.

2. The quality of the music is increasing. As the production lines of ring tone rappers come to a screeching halt, all of a sudden rappers who have skill but not a good marketing plan are able to be heard and seen more. Overall it seems like artists are being more creative and doing more with less. And without the label telling them what to do at every turn, they’re able to put out the product they want and let the fans decide instead of the A&Rs and marketing teams.

3. Live shows are getting better. As the money from record sales dries up, rappers have had to turn to their most reliable income-maker: the show. As the competition for the fans’ money gets more intense, the artists’ are forced to give a better show. I can remember a few years back when you would go to a show, stand around for five hours until the main act finally showed up so twisted they forgot their own lyrics and then did a 45min set and left. Now we have constant, quality shows like Glow In The Dark Tour and Rock The Bells.

4. Videos are getting better. Some people may debate this, but I’m thankful that video budgets have been slashed. It forces creativity and gives us more Rik Corderos and less Hype Williamses. At one point it seemed like every rap video was:

a. rapper drinking in the club
b. girls dancing in the club
c. a story line consisting of rapper showing up to the club and then
leaving the club with one of the girls

While I support the hot girls remaining in the videos (they have) the rest got real boring. Nothing is better than a well-executed idea either way, like Kanye and his “Best I Ever Had” masterpiece (I know Drake as Bball coach makes no sense with the song, but still).

5. Rappers don’t have as much money. I’m sorry, I wish wealth on everyone but speaking in terms of good quality rap, the best music was coming out in the late ’80s and early ’90s when rappers still lived and dressed like a lot of their fans. Once the Maybachs and white parties in the Hamptons became the norm, the average fan could not connect as well to what they were rapping about. I know about corner stores and living check to check. I don’t know what it’s like to go shopping in Paris, buy a mansion or being embarrassed by having a Benz and not a Rolls.

In the end, I hope the recession ends quickly so the suffering can stop, but let’s keep the pressure on Hip-Hop to keep getting better and not return to the ring tone production line anytime soon.-MikeD

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  • Pierzy

    More than all of this, I think it makes better music because in a recession (hopefully), there will be less floss rap. Most artists don’t make much in a good economy, so why brag about things you don’t have in an economic downturn? Plus, music that reflects the times is always stronger than anything formulaic…

    • FLOSS

      What up P,

      You taking shots at me up there huh??

      “(hopefully), there will be less “floss” rap”

      This dude P is sneak dissing me , LOL !!!
      Nah whats good Fam.

      As far as music in the “RE-DEPRESSION” music is getting way better and so are the quality of albums. I have not been dissappointed with any album (Relaspe grew on me finally) i have purchased this year and i aint bootlegged anyone either. I spent my hard earned federal government money sucka’s.

      • Pierzy

        What up my dude?

        Nah, if I was taking shots, I would’ve capitalized it – FLOSS rap. Haha. Use it as a proper noun – I know better than that!

        I’m glad you kept giving Relapse a chance. It’s still what I’m playing in the whip…I think it gets better because it’s so multi-layered.

        • FLOSS

          i feel ya big homey but you know how the game is today i just find it a blessing to have good music, Relapse was like a parrable from Jesus (word to Lil Mama)it just went right over my head when i first popped it in but aside fromthe accent the flow is crazy and his spit game is still one of the best 3 A.M. is living “PROOF” R.I.P.

        • $ykotic

          I just wonder why it took a recession for dudes to make good music. Should have always been part of the criteria.

          But honestly, can’t really answer the post because it’s too early. Artists get their walking papers in the winter. Now it’s prime time for any musician(summer tours, endorsements, movies, appearances, etc.).

        • $ykotic

          And Flizzoss do we need to talk about Budden apologizing again?

        • FLOSS

          @ Syk
          “What you talkin bout Willis???”

          What about Joey?? Please do tell.

        • $ykotic


          Yep. Joey did it again. WSHH.

        • FLOSS

          You got me all worried but imma go peep it out – Hold up !!

        • FLOSS

          Ok he apologized to Meth but still went in on bitch niggas and lame diss records.

        • $ykotic

          That picture of him and Meth on thisis50 tells it all.

          We will not get a response from Joe Battle Cat. In no way would he have won this war. The god’s do things differently.

  • Chris Cash

    I feel like underground rap is getting better, and mainstream rap is getting worse. Its like ppl are tired of hearing all the depressing news so they listen to these corny ass songs to free there minds.

  • General

    Would we have gotten a Slaughterhouse project without the industry being in such bad shape? Probably not, so that has been one positive aspect…

    I think the other you touched on is that it seems that artists are doing a lot more shows which is good for fans and for hip-hop…

    I think the downside is that we are seeing artists that did make solid/quality music being burried by labels such as the way Obie and Stat got dropped by Interscope, but at the same time they have now been able to put out more mixtapes for the people too


      what up gen,

      “Would we have gotten a Slaughterhouse project without the industry being in such bad shape?”

      heck yea, each slaughterhouse member has been in their own personal recession for their whole career! them niggas wasn’t never seein no bread solo. even when cats were selling 10 mil, joey, royce, and crooked wasn’t gettin no shine!

  • Curtis75Black

    The music will always be heard, it’s just the matter of is paying attention to it. Regardless of a reccesion or not, alot of good artist from every era has put out decent work. It basically whether or not you wanted to listen to what this man was saying. Almost to a point if it was more levels to our music (underground, Mainstream, Universal).

    I feel of anything this recession would stop artists taking the fans for granted and vice versa( knowing we don’t have to be so judgemental when it comes to our music) and start paying for our music!! Once a label closes it’s doors, our emcee’s have no place to go.

  • El Tico Loco

    This is gonna separate the artist that do this for money and the ones that do it for the love, that also helps comebacks from the cats that been doin it but were dismissed as falling off cuz they refused to compromise quality which to the sheepish fan is seen as “dated”.

  • epinz

    i dont tink the recession is changing much…

    1. i think the internet has more to do with that than the recession. while the record companys arent in it like they used to. the internet is not controlled by the tis like radio and t.v is. even if it wasnt a recession they still wouldnt b able to control wale or little brother for example to drop shit unsigned. the ones from the internet who r on radio and gettin major shined r sighned!(drake, kid kudi) plus, the record industry was losin money waaayyy b4 the recession, if u wanna call it that!

    2 the quality is still the same imo, if not worse. while i do agree that they r doin more with less, but for ever drake, therer is a gucci mane! solja boy, the stanky leg, a bay bay, and other shitty music is more prevelent than ever, and if anything, its easier for that dumb shit to get on. again, not the recession, but imo,, we can all agree that there is a recession in classics from this decade, let alone the past 1 or 2.

    3 live shows have always been big(depending on the artist). i def agree that the shows r getting more coverage, but thats due to camera phones and internets. rock the bells has been around, and i will say weve gotten bigger tours in the near past, than what we have now.shit lil wayne, the top rap act is STILL doin that 45 min drunk shit. he just got sued for sleepin through a concert.

    4 internet killed the video star!!!!and these new videos suck!! if anything, these rappers r doin more with less in this department(look at kid cudi). even the big name rappers got shitty videos! and all that flossin and shit is still goin on.

    5 that shit is still goin on. u see baby comin out with sumthn new. i agree that when the money came, the quality dropped, but, there are still rappers that rap about livin check to check(little brother).Its not that they had money, its that thats all they wanted to talk about. the south (no limit and cmb to b exact) mae it mainstream, and the rest of the rap world ran with it. big did it, and did j, but the quality was still there. its one thing to make money, its onother to floss it.

    we all want the recession to end,but if ur right( and i wish u were) than this shit needs to last as long as possible( only really in regards to the music)

  • Federal Ranga

    New vlog up later today,

    Commission is in the building, I see. Let me give my little bit.

    I can agree that the quality of live shows are getting better, but in a different way. In relations to newer videos being terrible, a live show can be the next best if not better thing. I know there are quite a few people who attend shows probably cant or dont watch videos anyways.

    As far as it being easier to get into the game now, I gotta disagree. New cat’s other sources of money (which provide them the means to secure the tools to enter the game now) are being severely hammered (no umm…. whatever) by the recession. If new cats are entering the game they’ve managed to save previous bread before this economic downturn…

    • Federal Ranga


      This vlog is big ya all.


      • $ykotic

        Your vlog game is serious brah. It’s a real good look.

  • EmCDL

    I agree with $yk (what up mayne!), why is it that we have to be in a bad economy to have good music made? Regardless, I’m glad it is more good music made nowadays, I like to have fresh and good music in my Zune to listen on the regular.

    i’ma go on the Federal Ranga tip (what up Ranga!) and promote my album as well just for the hell of it! Cop that “MOVIN: SKID ONE”!

    • $ykotic

      E your still holding a Zune? I passed that off like 6 months ago…

      And don’t think heads ain’t checking your links!

      On my side I hear the talk. My responses should be telltale.

  • Curtis75Black

    Is it really the recession or are the majority of ‘Real’ Hip Hop listeners really overcritical ? Critical of rhymes schemes, labels, collabos, accents, subject matter, beats, personal problems or outside endeavors(that makes you either like or hate the emcee even more) instead of just checking for the good music that was put out instead of just ‘Heard’ by your ears. Peeps need to start looking at themselves as why Hip Hop ain’t selling because we all know the only thing that came out that was wack in the Bush era was Bush. It didn’t take Obama to bring the real back, niggas’ wasn’t paying attention to everyone. Just the certain few they felt they ‘Had’ to give love to because the media said so.

  • Tony Grand$

    What’s good all y’all!?

    I think it all boils down to timing. A true artist can capitalize on what’s going on with their audience, & play off of it.

    So, if people are under the impression that there’s a recession, & your dropping free DL albums, & making music that relates to their personal struggles, it automatically translates to better music.

    I think we wouldn’t see as many free CRT’s if it weren’t for a recession. Cats want to stay in your ear, so they’re not forgotten. What better way than to give me the impression that your doing me a favor. Cats ain’t buying albums right now, unless it’s truly worth it. The industry sees that.

    But, we all know that struggles usually make the best motivators behind good music. & all these rappers ain’t getting it like they say they are. Especially guys who own business, have other outside investments, etc. Tax-cuts, unemployment, lack of social spending effects them too, even if they’re not making songs or vlogs about it.

  • Federal Ranga

    Commission!!! $yk, I see ya mayne. Thanks for the endorsement. Sounds like 3rd Testicle only wants to play with me [||]…

    Aight, fag… let’s dance.

    You can’t fuck with me and everytime you post everybody knows who’s the real me… do the right thing (no Spike Lee joint) and find another lane (no HOV 2+). It’s pointless to even go at me… Gay jokes? Passe (look it up).

    It’s up, people!!!

    • BIGNAT

      I didn’t know you were gay Fed? Thats fucked up


    i agree with everything except the live shows thing. wu-tang always gives you a good show and fuck that 45 minutes. they might be up there till they close the spot

  • Ya Boy

    Rik Cordero getting shine is not a good thing!

  • Avenger XL

    Hard times do create great art. But I don’t see all of this great change you speak of most of everything you said is due to the internet and the slavish old music industry business models crumbling.

  • MR. PICI

    i’ve been saying this for awhile now.hip hop started in the struggle and what better time to bring it back to the essence than when everybody is struggling.i honestly have not been very impressed with hip hop since like 97-98. I still listen but even some of the stuff from the vets is not inspiring at all . Hip Hop needs a voice and there are cats who can do it but again there’s no inspiration.Maybe some of these boss’ and gangstaz should give everything up for a good week just have enuf money to keep their bills paid and nothin left than go back to the drawing board and write some raps common people can listen too. NO HATE. Just straight up truth.