Every genre of music has been hit hard by downloading, but none more than hip hop. In fact, last year this genre’s sales fell more than 20%, in comparison to the rest of the industry which only fell 2%. The interesting thing is albums can still sell decently if they are promoted right. For instance, in an era of so much downloading how did Kanye West and 50 Cent manage to sell almost a million and a half albums in one week? Do these people not have computer’s with internet? Are these folks scared the RIAA will come after them? Have these people just been sold of the hype? Or do these people genuinely want to support the artist? It’s likely a combination of all factors.
Admittedly, however, Hip hop music is very stagnant right now. Kanye’s album appeared to offer promise but his album just didn’t appease the tastemakers, only the followers. The common expression, “he’s the only choice” has been echoed by many. Is this what it has come down to? Everything is a complete copy of everything else. Even the Wu can’t bring back that magic. We need a totally different lane of creativity. Even Jigga is running on fumes, taking inspiration from a movie of all things.
The South who had at first received much hate from the East has come back with a vengeance, but it appears the South’s run is slowing down and maybe coming to an end. After all, its been over seven years of South infiltration since the Hot Boyz first did it in the early 2000’s. Listeners can only take so many funky one-hit wonders slinging ignorant catch phrases over zany keyboard riffs for the proverbial “clubs”.
Even the East coast sound of borrowing soul loops on some early 90’s shit has been totally played out as the majority of underground artist come of as either bitter nerds or bitter thugs. Hip hop has evolved so much over the last 30 years and the creative envelope has been pushed forward and pushed back many times. But for the last four years, hip hop has been in a, dare I say, drought.
We need new sounds, new artist, and a new perspective that still all builds on our genre’s musical history. Downloading will save hip hop, by ultimately killing the monetary incentive for people who would have otherwise never become rappers. This should hopefully leave the true artist to develop the next phase of the music, provided they haven’t become so sickened by the music business they have left as well. Whatever happens, yo rappers step your game up!
Also check out this deal for 500 free songs from Itunes (only for U.S residents). It’s good to stock up on some hard to find music, not to mention legal downloads that support the artist. Plus, Itunes makes it easier to find the damn song anyway.