Trends Don't Lie, Hip Hop Is Dead

  1. Fade

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    34135.jpg

    Hip Hop is dead.

    I know it's hard to hear, but it looks like Hip Hop as we know it, is dead. It's been said many times over, along with furious debates from others that state it's not dead, but statistics don't lie.


    Trends

    I recently took a look at Google Trends and plugged in a few keywords to see what was going on, and I quickly realized that things aren't looking very good for Hip Hop as a whole. Here at IllMuzik, member participation and community involvement has been on a decline since 2006, and that's the same year that Nas released his album, "Hip Hop Is Dead".

    There are three areas of Hip Hop that I think are very important:
    • Hip Hop
    • Hip Hop Music
    • Hip Hop Production
    Hip Hop

    [​IMG]

    If you take a look at the image above, you will notice how the term "Hip Hop" has been declining steadily since 2004. I think that's as far back as Google's trends go, but it still shows how it's on a downward slope. The decline doesn't seem that bad, but it must be because Hip Hop is more like "Hip Pop", as it has merged with the mainstream. There are many reasons why it could be declining, such as:
    • It has merged with the mainstream
    • It has lost its street cred
    • It's just not interesting anymore
    Hip Hop as a culture is a great thing, but that's where it has lost its way; it's no longer a culture. Instead, it has turned into a money-making machine, and although there is nothing wrong with making money, that's not what Hip Hop was originally about. Rather than representing the streets and your community, Hip Hop is now an individual thing.

    Hip Hop Music

    [​IMG]

    The culture is one thing, but the music is what has really taken a dive, and you don't really need to look at stats to see that. Take a listen to any average Hip Hop song of today and compare it to classic Hip Hop songs - it's almost comical.

    Lyrics such as:

    "Strike like lightnin', It's quite frightenin'
    But don't be afraid in the dark, in a park
    Not a scream or a cry, or a bark, more like a spark"
    - Eric B. & Rakim "Lyrics Of Fury"

    To something like this:

    "She looking at the car like she wanna fuck it
    She looking at the wrist like she wanna fuck it
    Hating on her girlfriend just so I can fuck it
    She say she on birth control, no I don't trust it, hoe"
    - Kendrick Lamar "I Do This"

    Some of you might say it's not fair to compare someone Rakim and Kendrick Lamar, but I have to disagree. Both are/were at the top of the ladder in the Hip Hop world, and those are both snippets of what they can do. It's not just about the words that are spit in those verses, it's also about the content and the intention.

    Hip Hop music could be declining because of:
    • Subpar production
    • Repetitive topics
    • Boring lyrics
    • Terrible lyrics
    • Popularity of other genres
    Hip Hop Production

    [​IMG]

    Obviously, this is an important topic for IllMuzik because it's what ILL represents, but it also has a great impact on Hip Hop music itself. Songs from years ago featured sample-heavy beats that were simply outstanding, but as the music production has moved away from samples, it just can't cut it. There are many Hip Hop songs out there with no samples whatsoever and they sound great, but the majority of them just don't stand up to the sample-based ones.



    Without dope production, the music will suffer, which will also bring down the culture as a whole. With subpar production and subpar lyrics, why would Hip Hop be trending today anyway? No one is going to be interested in something that just doesn't sound good, so that's why a lot of music fans have moved on to other genres, such as EDM, which has been on a very steady incline.

    The Truth

    Obviously things change, people move on, and the world keeps on spinning. But in Hip Hop's case, I don't understand how it has moved away from its roots, other than because of the music industry forcing it away with the lure of money. Because if you take a look at the inner city today, where Hip Hop started, poverty and crime are probably worse than ever.

    There are tons of news websites that are reporting every day about peoples' struggles and yet there is only a small amount of Hip Hop artists that are representing them - a.k.a. "Underground Hip Hop". What's worse though, is that even the people living in the inner city that are jumping into the Hip Hop game, are not even representing where they came from. Instead, they're faking it and spitting lyrics of fame and fortune because that's what the industry is telling them to do.

    Hip Hop is dead.

    What Can Be Done?

    When I first sat down to write this article, I honestly could not think of something that can be done to fix this situation. It's possible that today's garbage-laced "Hip Hop" can be changed, but it would require a massive movement with hundreds if not thousands of people to get involved, refusing to bow down to the mainstream. There are plenty of dope underground artists that have great lyrics, great production, and great music.

    Sadly, their YouTube videos only get a few hundred hits.

    Yet Nicki Minaj's "Stupid Hoe" has millions of hits:



    There may be some of you that don't think Nicki Minaj should be considered as part of Hip Hop, but according to last night's BET awards, she has now won 5 consective times as the Best Female Hip Hop Artist. Looking at that video (and trying my best not to have a seizure) - it's a shame.

    The only way Hip Hop, and I mean REAL Hip Hop can come back and stay, is if we do like Wu-Tang Clan did in 1993 and make Hip Hop better. That year was pivotal because not only was Hip Hop going at full force, it actually improved. Once 1998 came around, there were too many artists, too many labels, and too much money involved. The decline began...

    Hip Hop is dead?

    Further Reading Related to Hip Hop
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
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  3. thedreampolice

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    Great article I agree 100% with all of it. Its time to stop looking back and look forward to making better music. Lets make hip hop BETTER! Not rehashing old tired subjects over and over and over.
     
  4. DJ Xsinna

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    That is just the plain truth. I agree! The term "Stuck on Stupid" comes to mind here. That's where a lot of listeners of "hip-pop" are at mentally. The hip hop culture that was once a freeway to creative freedom has now become a cul-de-sac of complacency. I do however, believe that this can all be changed and will be changed. After all, you can only eat garbage for so long before you become sick right?
     
  5. Fade

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    You're spot on, DJ Xsinna. It will change, but right now it's at such a standstill that it's hard to see what that change might be. It's almost like everyone is in that movie Idiocracy!
     
  6. Pug

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    There's a lot of good indy hip-hop, but the mainstream is seriously lacking. The good thing is that there's a lot of young guys who draw inspiration from hip-hop's past and blend it with new flavour. Still some hope, even if it's a glimmer.
     
  7. Fade

    Fade

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    Thanks.

    It really is troublesome if you think about it, because for something to lose its trending value - that's huge. For example, you could check to see what "CNN" is doing and the trend is steady throughout the years, which is expected. However, for Hip Hop, Hip Hop Music, and Hip Hop Production to fall off like that, it's crazy. That means that the average person doesn't give a shit about Hip Hop and would rather watch a video of a guy putting on his pants: (almost 3 million views)

     
  8. thedreampolice

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    Sadly hip hop became so disposable and doesn't contribute much to culture anymore, so why should someone care?
     
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  9. Fade

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    Well said. It's just sad since Hip Hop had such a huge impact in a lot of peoples' lives back in the 80's and 90's, yet now it's just a tiny dot in the music industry.
     
  10. SoberMindedMuzk

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    Pulitzer level stuff bro.
     
  11. SoberMindedMuzk

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  12. thedreampolice

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    Hip-hop made a huge impact on me as well. And I still say as a creative medium it has more potential to actually say something then any other medium. But these songs with only a few 808's and all these songs that are the same just destroyed its credibility. Sadly I have to defend my liking of hip hop to my other musician friends. But hip-hop heals my soul and expands my mind. I hope I can make music that does the same for others and pay it forward.
     
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  13. wrightboy

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  14. thedreampolice

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    hmmm DJ shadow talked about this in the late 90's :)



    Anyway, the only way back is to actually MATTER, so say something for real. CREATE ART. I know you don't like Kanye and thats cool, but I really think thats what he is at least trying to do. Now if he is successful or not is another matter.

    That's what I am trying to do. Create something new. Something that pushes the boundaries. Something that makes people go WTF. Its hard and it hurts like hell. But its worth it!
     
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  15. Bugsy

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    Good read @Fade

    Tho I wont agree entirely, I just think that Hip Hop got a facelift.
    Just like every genre it gets influenced along the way and turns into a different sound as it was.
    Genre's such as Reggae and Punk Turned to Ska and so on and so forth.
    I dont think that money was the reason that happend too, I think its technology.
    making money off of music has always been there but the technology that we have now we didnt have then.
    I mean, I can sample MP3's and make it sound like I got it from Vinyl.

    Hiphop to me is still very much alive, it just barely has a pulse now.
    It just doesnt get played on the radio's and even in the internet.
    with that in mind an up and coming producer or artist with a big influence with hiphop will resort to making playable music, and who would blame them? we are living in an age where communication is a big thing and its staring us right in the face right now, all of this which we didnt have then. and we all knew that this was going to happen, and I know that its just starting.

    Just like rock n roll, it is not dead but still used as an influence to this day.
    Tho I think that we would have to be more creative than what is being played right now.
    we would have to make something that hasnt been heard.
    that is why I agree with @thedreampolice.

    Kanye may be successful at what he plans on doing or not but i guarantee that he already inspired someone to be different. and that is what hiphop is all about right? being different from the disco music that was being played by rich folks.
    I guess the reason why people would hate kanye is that he is on a different level. he is on a million dollar level. while some of us are still dreaming for that hundred dollar level.
    i remember on his interview he said he needed money and power just so he can have a voice.
    And we know what that means, people like us strive to get the money just so our music can have a voice with a volume that would be heard not only as a whisper. but i guess thats for a different topic.

    Love the title tho, "TREND" which means everything as it is now will change, and I guess we could either hang our jerseys up or catch a ride with the waves. I know one thing tho I for one am excited.

    Just my opinion. I hardly get the time to participate now but if a topic like this comes up its just hard to pass. Peace! :D
     
  16. Pug

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    I still think hip-hop has a future. The industry exploited it to death and killed off most of the good main stream hip-hop, BUT, there's still a healthy underground making some amazing music. It might not find it's way through the mainstream, but it's out there.

    Also, I don't believe that Google search terms necessarily portrays an accurate picture of whether or not hip-hop is a trend or not. There is also a significant difference in trends when comparing "hip hop music" and "hip hop music (as a genre)".
     
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  17. Fade

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    It's true, it's not that it's necessarily "dead", because I laid out my points and asked a question at the end to open a discussion, as it is needed. It's great to see people responding to this!

    @Bugsy you're right. It's not just the money but the technology as well. I can remember buying lots of vinyl in the early to mid-90's but once I got a computer, I started buying less vinyl, CDs, and cassettes, and started downloading MP3s. Right there that shows how technology changes things, and it's also changed everything about Hip Hop because now everyone is a rapper, DJ, producer, etc. It's too easy to make beats or put up a video on YouTube. You could literally record an entire album and a handful of music videos all from your bedroom, never having to leave the house.

    Back in high school, I remember writing a list of all the rappers and rap groups that I knew of. I don't know why, but I just wanted to make a list. I can still remember writing the list and it wasn't that long. If I tried doing that today, it would be infinite, because everyone is a rapper.

    But I think overall, the money ruined it, plain and simple. Greed came into play and although throwing money at other genres might work, for Hip Hop it doesn't. It's alive, but barely. As you guys said, it can come back but it needs major changes and needs artists to start doing shit differently and not just tossing a bunch of 808s together. I do understand though that artists will make music that people want, but it just shouldn't be that way. It basically comes down to this:
    • Do you want to make music for money?
    • Do you want to make music?
    In other words, are you doing it because you just enjoy it? Or are you in it because you want to be the next big star with a mattress made from stacks of cash?
     
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  18. Fade

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  19. thedreampolice

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    Both for me. I don't need stacks of cash but I want to make a good living from my art. Some projects I take on purely to pay bills and some music I make is just for me. You have a chicken or the egg problem though. I don't think you can really hate on these artists who make music just to sell. I mean EVERYONE here would sign a million dollar contract if offered and whore themselves out to a label for money. You are lying if you say otherwise. But at the same time we need more people that are bold enough to enhance the culture to rise above the marketing and speak to people for real. IDK does that make sense.
     
  20. Fade

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    Well of course anyone would sign that. But you know what I mean. Money always comes into play, but at what cost? That's the question. Once the money takes over then most of the time either the creativity gets lost or the labels dictate which direction your music should go. That's when Hip Hop declines.
     
  21. thedreampolice

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    Yea, and its an image business, not a music business sadly. They need to create a package that sells. Everything else can be built in the factory :)
     
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