Sick of Hip Hop?
Mar 2, 2007 at 10:19 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 69

Digitalbath3737

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What do you think of this article from fox news?

Quote:

NEW YORK — Maybe it was the umpteenth coke-dealing anthem or soft-**** music video. Perhaps it was the preening antics that some call reminiscent of Stepin Fetchit.

The turning point is hard to pinpoint. But after 30 years of growing popularity, rap music is now struggling with an alarming sales decline and growing criticism from within about the culture's negative effect on society.

Rap insider Chuck Creekmur, who runs the leading Web site Allhiphop.com, says he got a message from a friend recently "asking me to hook her up with some Red Hot Chili Peppers because she said she's through with rap. A lot of people are sick of rap ... the negativity is just over the top now."

The rapper Nas, considered one of the greats, challenged the condition of the art form when he titled his latest album "Hip-Hop is Dead." It's at least ailing, according to recent statistics: Though music sales are down overall, rap sales slid a whopping 21 percent from 2005 to 2006, and for the first time in 12 years no rap album was among the top 10 sellers of the year. A recent study by the Black Youth Project showed a majority of youth think rap has too many violent images. In a poll of black Americans by The Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices last year, 50 percent of respondents said hip-hop was a negative force in American society.

Nicole Duncan-Smith grew up on rap, worked in the rap industry for years and is married to a hip-hop producer. She still listens to rap, but says it no longer speaks to or for her. She wrote the children's book "I Am Hip-Hop" partly to create something positive about rap for young children, including her 4-year-old daughter.

"I'm not removed from it, but I can't really tell the difference between Young Jeezy and Yung Joc. It's the same dumb stuff to me," says Duncan-Smith, 33. "I can't listen to that nonsense ... I can't listen to another black man talk about you don't come to the 'hood anymore and ghetto revivals ... I'm from the 'hood. How can you tell me you want to revive it? How about you want to change it? Rejuvenate it?"

Hip-hop also seems to be increasingly blamed for a variety of social ills. Studies have attempted to link it to everything from teen drug use to increased sexual activity among young girls.

Even the mayhem that broke out in Las Vegas during last week's NBA All-Star Game was blamed on hip-hoppers. "(NBA Commissioner) David Stern seriously needs to consider moving the event out of the country for the next couple of years in hopes that young, hip-hop hoodlums would find another event to terrorize," columnist Jason Whitlock, who is black, wrote on AOL.

While rap has been in essence pop music for years, and most rap consumers are white, some worry that the black community is suffering from hip-hop — from the way America perceives blacks to the attitudes and images being adopted by black youth.

But the rapper David Banner derides the growing criticism as blacks joining America's attack on young black men who are only reflecting the crushing problems within their communities. Besides, he says, that's the kind of music America wants to hear.

"Look at the music that gets us popular — 'Like a Pimp,'," says Banner, naming his hit.

"What makes it so difficult is to know that we need to be doing other things. But the truth is at least us talking about what we're talking about, we can bring certain things to the light," he says. "They want (black artists) to shuck and jive, but they don't want us to tell the real story because they're connected to it."

Criticism of hip-hop is certainly nothing new — it's as much a part of the culture as the beats and rhymes. Among the early accusations were that rap wasn't true music, its lyrics were too raw, its street message too polarizing. But they rarely came from the youthful audience itself, which was enraptured with genre that defined them as none other could.

"As people within the hip-hop generation get older, I think the criticism is increasing," says author Bakari Kitwana, who is currently part of a lecture tour titled "Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?"

"There was a more of a tendency when we were younger to be more defensive of it," he adds.

During her '90s crusade against rap's habit of degrading women, the late black activist C. Dolores Tucker certainly had few allies within the hip-hop community, or even among young black women. Backed by folks like conservative Republican William Bennett, Tucker was vilified within rap circles.

In retrospect, "many of us weren't listening," says Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting, a professor at Vanderbilt University and author of the new book "Pimps Up, Ho's Down: Hip-Hop's Hold On Young Black Women."

"She was onto something, but most of us said, 'They're not calling me a bitch, they're not talking about me, they're talking about THOSE women.' But then it became clear that, you know what? Those women can be any women."

One rap fan, Bryan Hunt, made the searing documentary "Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes," which debuted on PBS this month. Hunt addresses the biggest criticisms of rap, from its treatment of women to the glorification of the gangsta lifestyle that has become the default posture for many of today's most popular rappers.

"I love hip-hop," Hunt, 36, says in the documentary. "I sometimes feel bad for criticizing hip-hop, but I want to get us men to take a look at ourselves."

Even dances that may seem innocuous are not above the fray. Last summer, as the "Chicken Noodle Soup" song and accompanying dance became a sensation, Baltimore Sun pop critic Rashod D. Ollison mused that the dance — demonstrated in the video by young people stomping wildly from side to side — was part of the growing minstrelization of rap music.

"The music, dances and images in the video are clearly reminiscent of the era when pop culture reduced blacks to caricatures: lazy 'coons,' grinning 'pickaninnies,' sexually super-charged 'bucks,"' he wrote.

And then there's the criminal aspect that has long been a part of rap. In the '70s, groups may have rapped about drug dealing and street violence, but rap stars weren't the embodiment of criminals themselves. Today, the most popular and successful rappers boast about who has murdered more foes and rhyme about dealing drugs as breezily as other artists sing about love.

Creekmur says music labels have overfed the public on gangsta rap, obscuring artists who represent more positive and varied aspects of black life, like Talib Kweli, Common and Lupe Fiasco.

"It boils down to a complete lack of balance, and whenever there's a complete lack of balance people are going to reject it, whether it's positive or negative," Creekmur says.

Yet Banner says there's a reason why acts like KRS-One and Public Enemy don't sell anymore. He recalled that even his own fans rebuffed positive songs he made — like "Cadillac on 22s," about staying away from street life — in favor of songs like "Like a Pimp."

"The American public had an opportunity to pick what they wanted from David Banner," he says. "I wish America would just be honest. America is sick. ... America loves violence and sex."


Even though Hip Hop isn't my thing, I can appreciate it from time to time. Although most the Hip Hop I hear is the same, unoriginal crap. However it's the same with most genres. Listening to the radio all you'll hear is unoriginal crap. Although I must say I am happy to hear that Hip Hop sales are falling.... first rock now Hip Hop.... maybe it'll open a few eyes to better stuff and not radio crap.
 
Mar 2, 2007 at 10:29 PM Post #3 of 69

Shizelbs

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Great article. Very smart. Very thoughtful comments from the art's contributors. And I have to agree, all the mainstream stuff is becoming so similar. There is great rap and hip hop out there, its just getting hard to find.
 
Mar 2, 2007 at 10:33 PM Post #4 of 69

shigzeo

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look out of your own borders to find good hiphop/rap that will not taste the same. if i only listened to english rap and hip/hop i would be mad im sure, or american hip/hop rap, but mix the two together and throw some in from the continent and from asia and you can enjoy the whole congregation...
 
Mar 2, 2007 at 10:34 PM Post #5 of 69

Digitalbath3737

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Quote:

Creekmur says music labels have overfed the public on gangsta rap, obscuring artists who represent more positive and varied aspects of black life, like Talib Kweli, Common and Lupe Fiasco.

"It boils down to a complete lack of balance, and whenever there's a complete lack of balance people are going to reject it, whether it's positive or negative," Creekmur says.


I think this statement really hit the spot for me. For the last couple of years Hip Hop is all you hear on the radio. Reminds of the mid 90s when all you heard was Alt. Rock. Feed people to much of something and they'll get sick of it.
 
Mar 2, 2007 at 10:44 PM Post #6 of 69

Digitalbath3737

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jayehs /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Article refers to rap, not hip hop.

hip hop != rap



I don't know if you actually read the article. The article talks about Hip Hop just as much as it talks about Rap alone.

Taken from the article:

Quote:

In a poll of black Americans by The Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices last year, 50 percent of respondents said hip-hop was a negative force in American society.


Quote:

Hip-hop also seems to be increasingly blamed for a variety of social ills. Studies have attempted to link it to everything from teen drug use to increased sexual activity among young girls.


Quote:

Criticism of hip-hop is certainly nothing new — it's as much a part of the culture as the beats and rhymes.


Quote:

"As people within the hip-hop generation get older, I think the criticism is increasing," says author Bakari Kitwana, who is currently part of a lecture tour titled "Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?"


So as you see there are plenty of references to Hip Hop in that article. Perhaps you should give it another read?
 
Mar 2, 2007 at 10:55 PM Post #7 of 69

Mrvile

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Digitalbath3737 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I don't know if you actually read the article. The article talks about Hip Hop just as much as it talks about Rap alone.

Taken from the article:

So as you see there are plenty of references to Hip Hop in that article. Perhaps you should give it another read?



Well the article used rap and hiphop interchangeably as if they were the same thing, which jayehs points out that they are not...
 
Mar 2, 2007 at 11:17 PM Post #8 of 69

Digitalbath3737

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mrvile /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Well the article used rap and hiphop interchangeably as if they were the same thing, which jayehs points out that they are not...


I guess this is open to interpretation. Even though the title specifically mentions rap I take the later reference to Hip Hop (from those involved in the Hip Hop community) as also being involved in the decline.

Especially when they mention the views on women. Acts like Destiny's child and the likes (which I think of as Hip Hop) defiantly don't give a favorable view of women. Even with songs like "Surviver" which is supposed to be about female empowerment.... they sing it dressed like sluts. So that defeats the purpose of making those kinda songs. Many of todays "R&B" acts sell sex .... then you have the Rap artist cameo who usually raps about pimpin' and being "gansta" in the middle of the song.
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 4:25 AM Post #11 of 69

lutwey

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Quote:
Creekmur says music labels have overfed the public on gangsta rap, obscuring artists who represent more positive and varied aspects of black life, like Talib Kweli, Common and Lupe Fiasco.

"It boils down to a complete lack of balance, and whenever there's a complete lack of balance people are going to reject it, whether it's positive or negative," Creekmur says.


i totaly agree..........but not with lupe fiasco---> that dude is straight up mainstrean, i don't wanna hear how he can flip them skate boards
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 5:55 AM Post #12 of 69

Jeff Guidry

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Rap as an art form has become as commodified as any other genre of music. Rap clearly is now entering a phase of maturity in our culture where the same old is no longer good enough. Sure, the David Banner's will still be able to make money, but for the time being, rappers won't have the same clout in the music industry that they did five years ago. The public image of hip hop-ers clearly also has something to do with it, as the white middle-classers that are the bread and butter of the rap music industry clearly are going elsewhere for their entertainment, and I think its because kids are no longer as enamored of the same old baggy-pants-and-bling routine. It's played out, and Nas and others are quite right to point it out. However, it's also just as clear that none of the alternatives (Common, etc.) are wanted to the same degree as Snoop Dogg was ten years ago.

Rap needs its "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in a pretty big way. I wonder when it will come, and from where?
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 7:49 AM Post #13 of 69

kwitel

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Commercial or underground, IMO Hip-Hop AND rap have gone down the tubes.
Yeah there are some diamonds in the rough but they are few and far between.
Other than MF Doom, I cant remember the last time I bought a good HH/Rap album.

When I need some good old rhymes over tight beats, I find myself consistently reaching for the classics like Tribe, De La, Mobb Deep and Wu but I rarely grab anything thats more recent.
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 10:01 AM Post #14 of 69

iPodschun

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lutwey /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Quote:
i totaly agree..........but not with lupe fiasco---> that dude is straight up mainstrean, i don't wanna hear how he can flip them skate boards



Well for one, Lupe can't skate worth anything. The song is about skateboarding, but it's also about doing things you love no matter what other people think about it.

And based on your statement, I assume you didn't actually listen to his album. Lupe very much belongs in the "socially conscious rap" group with Common and Talib Kweli.
 
Mar 3, 2007 at 2:17 PM Post #15 of 69

Digitalbath3737

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeff Guidry /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Rap as an art form has become as commodified as any other genre of music. Rap clearly is now entering a phase of maturity in our culture where the same old is no longer good enough. Sure, the David Banner's will still be able to make money, but for the time being, rappers won't have the same clout in the music industry that they did five years ago. The public image of hip hop-ers clearly also has something to do with it, as the white middle-classers that are the bread and butter of the rap music industry clearly are going elsewhere for their entertainment, and I think its because kids are no longer as enamored of the same old baggy-pants-and-bling routine. It's played out, and Nas and others are quite right to point it out. However, it's also just as clear that none of the alternatives (Common, etc.) are wanted to the same degree as Snoop Dogg was ten years ago.

Rap needs its "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in a pretty big way. I wonder when it will come, and from where?



My view is I think there needs to be more diversity in Rap. Talking about Bling Bling, Pimpin, Livin in da hood and black pride really ain't cutting anymore. Especially since the people buying the music are white middle-classers who honestly can't relate (although I've seen some of them try... and it's sad) to the things that are talked about.

I recently got a few recommendations for some Rap (thanks to fellow headfiers) and the stuff I liked most was the stuff I could actually relate to. Things like Gym Class Heroes, Aesop Rock and Fort Minor . I'm not a white middle classer or a young black kid growing up in the ghetto, I'm a young black girl who grew up in the suburbs. I know about broken hearts, getting drunk with my friends and acting stupid, struggling with identity, drug using, broken homes and all other aspects of suburban life. That's what I want to hear about. Stuff I relate to.

So i feel that factors in to part of the reason Hip Hop is fading into the background. These people buying the music like the image and not the substance behind it. Which makes it a shallow fascination and we all know that can't last forever.

I for one don't want to see Hip Hop completely die. I'd like to see Hip Hop as we know it now (radio crap) die off. I'd like a revival of Hip Hop and Rap. Where people talk about what they actually know. I hope that new era of Hip Hop includes a lot more stuff that people like me can relate too. I think that would give it more staying power and validate it more as a genre... instead of the gimmick it feels like now.
 

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