July 12 2007
Is Hip Hop Dead? Maybe it is just seriously ill. I found this article over at XXL's website about The Beastie Boys being the top selling hip hop album last week on Billboard. They only sold 44,000 copies of their record 'The Mix Up'. Pharoahe Monch was second with only 12,000 copies(note: These albums are really good too). Only a couple years back, hip hop records were selling at minimum 100,000 copies, and it beat out country music as the top selling music genre.
I believe that there are several reasons for this. I know the Major Labels and the RIAA believes that there is only one reason: illegal downloading. First off, I think people are sick of the same old thing that commercial hip hop is putting out. Whether it is the forumlaic southern style hip hop (i.e. lil wayne, shop boyz) or it is the east coast rappers trying to bring back New York rap songs. Both are kind of old and played out. I admit I like some of the southern hip hop, but mainly for the beats. Some people even think the the Hip Hop from the South is killing Hip Hop. I totally disagree with that statement. The second reason is the internet. People are finding about new artists doing different things in hip hop such as Kid Sister, The Cool Kids, even artists such Bonde Do Role and J*Davey who bring an element of hip hop to their music. Myspace and blogs has help bring light to lot of these artists from around the world. The third reason is illegal downloads; however, I think it is only a very small part of the reason. The fourth reason is the ability for anyone to create their own music with a variety of software and midi controllers. Take a look at the mash-up craze and sites such as the hollerboard(site is down) where people post their own remixes and original work for review. People think they can do better than the stuff they hear on the radio. I really believe that their is something bubbling in the underground. If you hear it initially, it does not sound like hip hop, but it has all of the elements. This will be the second coming of Hip Hop. (I hope)
What do you think? Do you think Hip Hop is Dead or is it seriously ill. Do you think that there is an underground renaissance going on in hip hop that the labels, Billboard Charts, and commercial radio do not know about or try to ignore?
Check out this article about the new Chicago Hip Hop
Beastie Boys - Off the Grid (From the Mix Up)
Pharoahe Monch - Desire