Is Hip-Hop Dying or Going Underground?

According to Billboard, rap and hip-hop album sales are down by more than 40 percent compared with the year 2000. It’s hard to know why the genre is suffering a bigger blow than rock or pop.

Some industry experts say young people are fed up with the violence, degrading imagery and lyrics. Others say the music is just as popular as it ever was, but that fans have found other means to consume the music.

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  1. The genre will probably go the way of “disco.” There will still be people for whom it will still have an appeal. Something else will eventually come along to fill the void left by its departure. This is why we have marketers and advertisers. I’ll take Jazz any day.

  2. David,
    Genres are always re-inventing itself or morph or shape shift into other guises (i.e., disco into House, into Tribal into Techno, etc.) Some of the R&B fusion has been interesting to witness. Like many genres, once it becomes repetitive, it becomes staid and require new blood to move into new horizons.

  3. If sales are down I doubt it is because of the downfall or demise of hip-hop. I think consumers have found more “interesting” ways of OBTAINING the music.
    1)Due to the liquidity of digital music, so many more people are freely downloading the songs and sharing them with friends. This is big in high-school and college aged students. Perhaps some of the people reading this right now have to admit they have OBTAINED music this way. Can anyone say “Limewire”?
    2)Now that we have cable modems in the hood, people are capitalizing on it. The newest “hustle” in the hood now is bootleg cds AND dvds. Yeah, we see it all the time in the subway. However, now the average “cat” is creating his own “production and manufacturing studio” in-house and is making “money to eat” on the street corner and at work places. Instead of slinging drugs, the hottest thing right now is “copyright infringement”…oops…I mean “bootlegging movies, tv shows and music”. Someone at work showed me new episodes of “The Wire” which haven’t even come out on DVD yet.
    3)Also check out how many cable programs BET has that are basically music video marathons. The great majority of the videos are Hip-Hop.
    When Nas said “Hip Hop Is Dead” he was speaking about the lyrical state of Hip-Hop. But money and influence-wise Hip-Hop is number one globally. Don’t let those numbers fool you.

  4. Joseph,
    Excellent comments!!! Thanks.

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