Is Rap Music all Popped Out?

By The News Jun 19, 2007

A USAToday article last Thursday asked this very question citing massive drops in pop rap album sales across the board. The only rapper now selling more than 7 million is Eminem, the famed white rapper. So what does this say about the industry that’s been heralded as black uplift and blamed for being just the opposite. USAToday reported in "Can rap regain its crown?":

Rap’s decline can be traced to a range of factors, including marketing strategies that have de-emphasized album sales in favor of selling less-lucrative single songs and short versions of those singles as ring tones for cellphones. But more important to the industry, there are signs that many music-buying Americans — particularly the young, largely white audience that can make a difference between modest and blockbuster sales — are tiring of rappers’ emphasis on "gangsta" attitudes, explicit lyrics and tales of street life and conspicuous consumption. Within the rap industry, there’s a growing debate about whether years of rampant commercialism — Snoop Dogg now endorses Pony sneakers; 50 Cent peddles grape-flavored vitamin water — have drained credibility and creativity out of a once-vibrant genre of music. And there’s concern that rap, also known as hip-hop, has reached an evolutionary plateau: After more than a quarter-century on the charts, it’s no longer the radicalnewcomer. Rap pioneer KRS-One, who just released Hip Hop Lives with fellow legend Marley Marl, offers a blunt explanation. "The music is garbage," he says. "What has happened over the past few years is that we have traded art for money, simple and plain, and the public is not stupid."

This article may ignore the impact of the invisible white market hands controlling hip hop these days, but is it speaking the truth? See full story here.