5 Things That Killed Hip Hop

If Hip Hop ain't dead, it's slowly dying. There are reasons for it - 5 of them to be precise - we need to destroy and rebuild. Find out what needs to go!

When not talking about the NBA and pondering Too $hort's influence on Jason Kidd beating his wife, producer/emcee J-Zone and I piss and moan about the colossal disaster that is the Hip Hop industry. Now Zone has taken the time to outline precisely what is fucked up and why it is fucked up, and if you didn't know, he is dead right. Before you go on and read, please take the following advice to heart; stop rapping and get a job. J-23

"3 Things You Can't Argue About: Religion, Politics & Hip Hop" - J-Zone

I realize that arguing about music is pointless cause we all got different opinions. A few people wanted my opinion on the "is Hip Hop dead?" matter and I just put my opinion on my sites. For some reason, it's gotten a lot of unexpected feedback, but what I'm saying isn't really new, nor is there is there a right or wrong answer to that question. If you agree with me that's cool, if you disagree that's cool, too. It's music, not life and death. At the least, to read it is a way to kill some time.

Everybody's saying it. Nas titled his album that. People are debating and a few brothers asked me for my humble opinion. So as I watch the Celtics lose their 17th straight on Sportscenter, I'll do a music related blog for once. After all, it effects me right? 5 things I feel are the biggest culprits of rap's downfall. Well actually before I exercise my freedom of speech and somebody gets upset for nothing, let me clarify.

A. I am NOT saying that there aren't a batch of stellar records released yearly, or a group of dope producers delivering fly shit or a handful of rappers that still make you wanna listen. I also know music is subjective and it's all opinion. The great music of today may be on par with the great of yesterday, but in the grand scheme of things, the negatives far outweigh the positives.

B. There's three things you can never argue about: Religion, Politics and Hip-Hop. Cause no matter your opinion, somebody will tyrannically oppose and get all fuckin' emotional. It's just my humble opinion, relax. Who cares anyway?

C. For the record, the politics at major labels, press and radio are not listed here because they've been around since the beginning of time. And we have ourselves to blame for not manning up to take control of those.. Yo Flex, drop a bomb on that. OK, where was I?


Safety in numbers. Movements, collaborations, big name guests, teams, crew beef, etc. The days of the solo roller are over. In the prime of Rap, you were judged solely on your music. Rakim, Nas & Biggie (early on), LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane: They all built their legend on music alone. Hell, Rakim had no guests on his first four albums. Sure there was Juice Crew, Native Tongues, Lench Mob crew, etc. But it wasn't mandatory. Then for some reason, in the mid-late 90's, it became totally necessary to have a movement. A crew with 1,000 different artists all on the same team. Touring together, crew t-shirts, beef with other crews, collaborations, etc. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's like people cannot identify with one artist, there has to be a movement or somebody else involved to validate them. Look at today's most successful artists. They all have a movement. Roc-A-Fella, Def Jux, Stonesthrow, Rhymesayers, G-Unit, Dipset, Wu-Tang, Hieroglyphics, Okayplayer, etc. Or if you're not part of a movement, you collaborate with other high profile artists. Doom, Danger Mouse, etc. It's all about cross-pollinating fan bases. You don't? You die. And for some reason, I see Da Youngstas album, Da Aftermath, as the beginning of this from a beat standpoint. That and Run DMC's Down With The King (both 1993) were the first albums I can remember to use a lot of different producers with totally different sounds. It worked back then, they were dope albums. But it wound up being a cancer.

Nowadays you need a Timbaland track, a Neptunes track, a Just Blaze track, a Dre track, a Kanye track for people to really care and for the most part it sounds like a collection of songs, not an album. Why not let one of them just do the whole fuckin album? Can't please everybody, why make a futile attempt? Good albums are about a vibe. Wu-Tang was a movement, but it was cohesive and made sense because they all vibed together and RZA was the sonic glue. Sans Illmatic, Ready to Die and a few others, every single great rap album had a maximum of 3 producers and 3 guests. In this fascination with movements, name association and special guests, we've lost album cohesiveness and the focus on just music. It's no longer about how dope you are, it's who you rollin with and who's cosigning what you do. And usually 92% of the crew isn't up to par with the few star artists in the crew. Quantity rules, not quality. You can have a 5 mic album, but nobody cares unless there's a bunch of other people involved. 10 producers and 7 guests. And now so and so with a platinum album can put his wack ass brother or cousin on and cheapen the game, cause they're part of the movement and its about who you with. Back in 88, Milk D said he had "a great big bodyguard" on Top Billin. But that was it. In 2007, there would be a Great Big Bodyguard solo album.


Like the crew theory, this is about quantity. People want more, even if it means a dip in quality. Some people can put out music quickly and do it well. Some people just want to bombard the market for the sake of doing it. Rakim did albums every 2 years. EPMD, Scarface and Ice Cube did it every year and that was considered fast. Nowadays, if you don't have 2 albums, 5 mix tapes and 10 guest appearances a year, you're slippin and people forget you. This attempt to keep up with the rush has cheapened the music. Now you have regular mixtapes marketed as albums, just a bunch of thrown together songs for the fuck of it. But to survive these days, you have to do that to stay in the public eye. There's far too many slim line case CD-R mix tapes out, and as important as mix tapes are to rap, the very vehicle that helped it grow is now playing a part in killing it.

Now everybody has forgotten how to make cohesive projects, so we cover it up by labeling it as a mix tape. The value and pride that full length albums used to symbolize are no more. Mixtapes now triple the number official albums in artist's catalog and never has music seemed so cheap and fast food. Not to mention, when the majors went completely awry in the late 90's, the indie rap scene went out of control with too much product. When I debuted in 1999, there were maybe 25-30 other indie vinyl releases out that mattered. And mine was one of the only full length albums. So it was only a matter of time before I got a listen, it didn't matter that I had no big names on my record and came outta nowhere. Try that now. To go to a store and see the foot high stack of one sheets for new records, mix CD's and DVD's dropping weekly makes you see you have a snowballs chance under a fat girls ass to survive in that world. Look at how many releases a week are on Hiphopsite, Sandbox, Fat Beats, UGHH, etc. The high profile artists get some attention, and everybody else gets ordered in ones and twos, if that. So today's new talent making his debut is in for an uphill battle. Great records go unnoticed. Rap is now a disposable art. Mr. Walt of Da Beatminerz once said "you work 16 months on an album and get a 2 week window of opportunity. After that your record is as good as dead for most people." That sums it up.


When rap stopped being fun, I knew we were in big trouble. Not too many people are doin music for fun anymore. Ask yourself, "would I still mess with music as a hobby if there wasn't any money in it?" Too many people would say no. We all wanna get paid. Shit, I got bills too, I love money! But too many people just seem like they'd rather be doing other shit. You read in interviews, "I don't care about no rap, I'd rather be hustling. I just do this cause I can." Hey, whatever floats your boat, I can relate, there's been artists like that since the beginning of time, but they were never the majority until now. Having fun is nowhere near as important as your life before you got signed. And there's plenty of battle MC's, political MC's and killer thugs but it seems there's not many funny artists no more. Like on some Biz Mark, Humpty Hump, The Afros shit. Not afraid to go to the extreme and have fun. God forbid you use your imagination or rap about something not involving Hip Hop, the hood, you bein the shit, the end of the world or what color your car interior is.

I live in Queens, less than a mile from 50 Cent's old house. Nobody really knows I make music over here. Some kid from over here saw me in The Source a while back and said "Yo I ain't know you was in it like that, yo why you ain't tryin to pump your shit out here and let people know, you should rep the hood. 50 did it" Why should I? I'm not on the block tryin to push weight, I'm out there walking to Walgreens for my Grandmother, on my way to the park for a game of 21 or to watch a game at the local high school. I'm a grown ass man with a college degree and I like my neighborhood, but I choose to rap about my beat up car, not dancing in clubs, women with bad hygiene and too many kids or ball playin rappers with limited ball skills, cause I ain't a street cat and I'd rather show the lighter side of life. And that was never a problem back in the day.

Okay those ain't completely new topics, but it's like rappin about those things these days gets you marked as novelty rap. Biz rhymed about a lot of this same shit back in the day, but it was still accepted as legit Hip Hop. 2007? He could never do a song like The Dragon. Little Shawn & Father MC rapped about the ladies with some R&B beats. De La Soul were labeled as hippies. But all those dudes would beat yo fuckin ass if you got out of line! They were soft by no means, they just wanted to do the music they enjoyed, cause rap is supposed to be a way to have fun and get away from the everyday stress, while not limiting yourself. The thing that made rap so dope in the "golden era" was the balance of styles. You had clown princes like Biz, Humpty Hump, Kwame and ODB later on. You had political brothers like X-Clan, PE, Lakim Shabazz, Poor Righteous Teachers, Kam, etc. You had the explicit shit on Rap-A-Lot and the whole 2 Live movement in Miami. Hip-house like Twin Hype, new jack shit like Wrecks-N-Effect, the whole Native Tongues thing, the hard South Central LA shit, the Oakland funk, and they all co-existed, were all dope and they all had fun regardless of their style. King Sun made On The Club Tip and then did Universal Flag. Lakim Shabazz, Twin Hype and Wrecks-N-Effect had raw battle rap, Geto Boys and Ganksta Nip were hilarious, PE had the yin and yang of Chuck and Flav and ODB was a ferocious battle MC.

Even the more serious political Rap, everybody seemed to be enjoying making music. Gangsta rappers had a fuckin sense of humor back then. Mob Style might have been the hardest group I've ever heard and they lived it. But them dudes also showed other sides and sounded like they enjoyed music, because it was an escape from everyday bullshit. Tim Dog, was hilarious and hard at the same time. Even if it was a joke to some, the shit was good listening. Suga Free is an ice cold pimp for real, but he has a sense of humor and approaches his music doin what he feels. Who says rappin about a girl with no teeth or going to the store with coupons ain't "real"? Everything is "real", people forget that. Everybody is so concerned with being feared and taken seriously, they can't come off those insecurities and do some guilty pleasure shit. Even the producers. If you can't show your other sides and bug out in your music, where can you do it? Stop being scared and break some fuckin rules. Put some 300 pound girls in your video for once! Laugh at yourself dog, you ain't no killer 24/7. You ain't battling MC's and being a lyrical lyricist mixtape murder 24/7. Havin fun is almost hip-hop faux pas these days. Rap is dead without balance...period.


"Boop Boop, it's the sound of the police!" Yup, the legal police. Hip-hop is based in illegality, but not maliciously. Ironically, many people got into it to stay out of legal troubles (a life of crime), but technically this positive move is also seen as a life of crime by the powers that be. Mixtapes, remixes, sampling, parodies (somewhat), the appeal of hip-hop was always rearranging the old to create the new. It's the lifeline of the music. One man's treasure is apparently another man's trash. In the wake of DJ Drama getting busted by the Feds for selling mix tapes that the labels and artists themselves approve and benefit from, it has never been more evident that the RIAA and their legal vendetta have just pulled the IV. We all knew that the late 80's way of taking 8 bar James Brown loops and not clearing was bound to catch up to us. I can live with that. You have a platinum album and loop somebody's whole shit, break 'em off some money and publishing, its only right. But then the lawyers and courts got tyrannical. Now 1/8 of a second sample can run you the risk of legal action. Ouch. I remember having a beat placed on a TV show and the music supervisor panicked after the fact because he swore the snare I used sounded like it was sampled. Wow. I understand melodies, but somebody can own a snare sound now?

This is pretty lousy, but to this point it only affected some of the major label stuff and big corporate gigs. No more. Myspace is now shutting down pages that post remixes. WHAT!? I find that completely ass backwards. I know a few dudes that were warned, and others shut down without notice for posting remixes of major label songs with COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE ACAPELLAS!. WELL WHAT THE FUCK IS AN ACAPELLA AVAILABLE ON A RECORD FOR?! TO BE REMIXED! DING DING: MESSAGE! Now to take that remix and release it on a major label and make 50 grand is one thing. But to have fun with remixes and post them on a myspace page, where ZERO DOLLARS can be made directly off of it, is completely harmless promotion for all parties involved. Not anymore.

Back in the day to be on a Kid Capri, Double R, S&S, Doo Wop, Silver Surfer, etc. mixtape was the best thing to happen to an artist and their label. An unknown producer leaking a dope remix to a popular artists record was a way to get buzz and a way for the industry to find new talent. Taking pieces of old music and creating something new (like the Bomb Squad) wasn't looked upon with the seriousness of a gunpoint mugging. But in a day where album sales are down, no artists or labels are seeing any money, CD's have foolishly been raised in price, interpolating one line of Jingle Bells in your song can get you sued and you can't post a remix for promotional and listening purposes only, you can see the music and legal industries have officially declared war on rap as a knee jerk reaction to their own failures. And as idiotic and unjust as things have become, they have the loopholes of law on their side.


Oh boy. Talk about a double edged sword. Never has it been so easy to get your music heard. If I make a dope beat, I can put it on my myspace page and it's up in an hour (depending on the servers, it may be "processing" for about 3 years). No more spending money and wasting time for records and test presses. Now people in Arkansas that only have MTV and the internet can hear my music. Limited distribution isn't as big a problem as before. Everybody is almost equal, shit we all have myspace pages. But look at the flipside. Everybody is almost equal, shit we all have myspace pages. There is so much shit out and the internet lurks with a million people doing the same thing, it's virtually impossible to stand out. Back in the day, you had to work your way up in the business. Havin a record was in most cases a privilege and a reward for your hard work. Catalog meant something. We're in an MP3 world now, and somebody in their bedroom is on an equal plane with somebody that's paid dues and worked hard. That's great for the kid with talent and no vehicle to get heard. That sucks for the no talent hacks on Myspace that post advertisements for their wack music on your comments page.

The internet also killed rap's number one asset. Anticipation. How many can remember buying a mixtape and hearing 3 dope joints from an upcoming album on a mixtape? You couldn't wait to cop the album. And you didn't hear the album 3 months in advance cause there was no way to spread it that fast. And in rare cases where the album leaked, you had to get a tape dub and even when you did, you still bought it. I remember hearing Lots Of Lovin, Straighten It Out, TROY and Ghettos Of The Mind from Mecca & The Soul Brother 2 months before it came out. But I couldn't find any other songs. That drove the anticipation up and got everybody talking. We were all eager to support. In 2007, the album would leak months in advance, you burn it and that's it. I'm not complaining cause that won't change things, but that was a large part of what appealed to me and many others about music, especially rap. No more. No artwork & physical cd to read the credits and shoutouts (remember those!?), no anticipation, it's old news by street date, the shit don't sell and here we are. Tower's closing, the legendary Beat Street is closed, Music Factory is a wrap, people don't realize that rap as we know it is done. Labels are fuckin suing common civilians for file sharing! A physical copy no longer matters unless you're a collector.

Back in the day, you would never see internet beef. It's just stupid junior high shit. People leaving threats and talkin shit via myspace, people getting hurt over e-beef at shows, kids on message boards flexin muscle and actin hard. Great! Now that we have a bunch of killers on wax, we got a bunch of em posting in forums. Cute. You can sit in a bedroom in Mexico and talk about knockin out somebody in Finland and it will never come back to you. Hip hop bravado and the anonymity of the web, it don't get more junior high. The internet was the blessing and the curse of rap music. I may catch heat for this, but I think the best thing is to blow up the industry and start over. There is still great music and I will enjoy making this music til I pass on, even if only as a hobby. I will still be diggin for records, makin beats, playing instruments and watching old movies for inspiration. But sometimes things need to fall apart to give birth to greater things. The fall of rap in its current state may give birth to something bigger and better. It's what I'm banking on, cause realistically, how much longer can it go down this road? I'm not saying go back in time. Classic rap artists may have been influenced by Cold Crush and Melle Mel, but they took that influence and added something different on to it to create something new. "We need to bring it back to 88!". NO WE DON'T! Ultramagnetic didn't say 'we gonna bring it back to '74' They just did them, and until that principle can be followed again, I say fuck fixing an abandoned building. Hit it with a wrecking ball and rebuild!

- J-Zone (www.myspace.com/jzoneoldmaid)


  • Mars South Africa

    I was starting to wonder who uses MySpace in 2015 until I found out this article is 8 years old. But I agree with J-Zone. Truth.

  • Anonymous

    hip hop aint dead its just corny as fuck now, because black rappers wont balance out talking about material shit and the actual real life shit happening to the black youth today, and white rappers are always on some emo/gay shit i.e. feminem/macklemore.

  • Anonymous

    commercial rap killed hip hop.


    My friend - J-Zone - I am a fan so I used to cop your CDs but I think your romanticizing the past. They were a handful of amazing hiphop lps in 1993 and 1988 particularly but then, there were so many albums with one or two ok songs and a bunch of filler. To me, there were very great "real" hiphop albums that were amazing since 1999. I'd say Supreme Clientele, The Fix, Blueprint and Madvillian. That's about it. The music has simply changed and IMO (jaws will drop) Drake is probably the only one holding it down but your right that a parlays are needed. he needs to release acapellas so bedroom producers can turn him from the Anti-Christ to a legend as Danger Mouse did with Jay-Z. Rick-Ross is another underrated artists of the purists. Acapellas would help transform him like Drake.


      Disagree. He brought it back. Before him and Kanye, every MC had to be a mobster. From 1998 to 2007, it was phong gangsta raps. Everything sounded the same. Drake got rhymes and isn't afraid to be innovative. To me, he is holding down same way as Wu-Tang, Black Moon, Main Source...real rhymes about real issues...

    • Anonymous

      you were decent until you mentioned drake. he is the biggest hip hop killer out there.

  • Real

    I'll take 2007 era over today's era. 2007 Facts: Mos Def True Magic Talib Kweli Ear Drum Jay-Z American Gangster Lupe Fiasco The Cool Blu & Exile Below the Heavens Common Finding Forever and you had the Cool Kids/Pac Div coming up Kanye acting right and making music shit wasn't weird/dark like it is today. Only good good albums out today is Freddie Gibbs Madlib Pinata and that Step Brothers album

  • animalovich

    my five things are 1- lil wayne 2- nicki minaj 3- Media 4- white people 5- new generation

  • Shady

    YMCMB killed hip hop. No talent but seen as the best in the game.

  • CG@R

    I am sorry but Hip Hop has become the BIG HAIR, SPANDEX WEARING ROCK N ROLL OF THE 80'S. It killed off the sound and only the strong survived. Now days the beats go harder than the clowns rapping on them but what can you do? Until the listener stops supporting garbage we will continue to have it force fed to us.

  • Anonymous


  • Truth

    Yo, I love this article. Nigga straight killing that Myspace shit nonstop. I remember 07 when niggaz was still on that shit. This article just reminds you that you gotta keep up with the times son or you sound old and dated. Period.

  • NYC_Representative

    Certain rappers constantly talk about fucking hoes, doing/selling drugs, partying all the time & small minded nonsense with "catchy" A,B,C - 1,2,3 bubble gum lyrics that a 3yr old can comprehend and recite. And call it swag. Many young kids look up to all these rappers because that is all they are exposed too, they think its cool and want to be just like them; ultimately making you dumb as sheep. Mainstream puts out this type of music to keep people ignorant. They do not want the youth to listen to music that makes you think about important things in life; music that brings a message; music that uplifts you.

  • Anonymous

    why is an article from 8 years ago poppin up and getting new comments like it wasnt written almost a decade ago?

  • yeah

    Hip hop is doing fine now. I think groups/cliques are fine, as long as they aren't all cheesy like YMCMB. TDE is good for rap right now, all talented dudes and they're among the most popular and highest selling rappers now (Kendrick and Q, at least). Dreamville, Pro Era, A$Ap Mob...all young, all talented, all making waves. In addition to them, we have talented young faces like J Cole and YG who put out quality music and can give you the full album experience, and their topping the charts, too. There's guys like K.R.I.T. and Joey Badass and Vince Staples who are still kind of underground, but on the verge of making a bigger name for themselves, and they all are true and talented hip-hop artists. Say what you want about Drake and how soft and emotional (etc) he is and how he's from the middle class, most of that is true, but he can still rap his ass off and the only thing he's doing wrong right now is affiliating himself with YMCM. Mac Miller completely changed who he is as an artist, and went from poppy high school white trash music to very good stuff. On top of this, there is still crazy respect for the legends these days. Guys always name-drop and pay homage to the idols. Think of "Let Nas Down" from Cole. Not saying rap is in amazing shape right now, but it's doing fine and there's plenty to be excited about for the future.

  • hippaToDaHoppa

    Your #5 is the opposite of what is wrong. The loss of crews and cliques is what damaged hip-hop. People having tons of producers and features and affiliations is a result of the loss of real crews. "Used to be about the posses, crews, cliques, and the clans Now these 'Lil-Young-Boyz' thinkin' they the fuckin' man" - Pack FM

  • Anonymous

    Your raps are weak j-zone. Good article though.

  • Darkworld

    This list is bullshit, everyone was rapping bout crews before hand and that didn't kill anything. The internet expanded everything and let's better music be known not just commercialized music. And you can't complain there's too much music are you even reading what you're saying? And with less money in the industry less clowns who are only in it for the money and don't respect the craft ain't gonna attempt to make music. Mainstream Hip Hop is seeing a great decline but underground is stronger than it's ever been.

  • bob

    only the ones about rap relationship etc. not this one. j-zone is the man.

  • bob

    .6 hip hop dx articles about lame stuff

  • flyestmesakinalive

    word, i agree with all 5 points. im 37 years old i was born with hip hop i grew up with her i watched her as a sweet innocent girl grow into a woman and where she should be at in her life and where she actually is, is sad. who is to blame? i have to take some responsibilty and so do all you who misused and abused her during her growth. with that said does she still have time to change her life around and be who we know deep down she really is? maybe, some of you aint hearin me and you are the problem, so when you change so will she.

  • grizz

    There are great hip hop artists that don't get recognition every day! Don't blame this shit. Theres only 1 thing you can blame and thats the fans, we buy into this shit, we act like its ok to suck. I don't fuck with whack shit anymore i never turn on the radio but i listen to more hip hop now than i ever have. The independent artists make the best music. I don't rap so don't think I'm just some salty underground rapper or something. Its a simple solution, recognize the dope artists and don't recognize the whack ones.

  • Manny Faces

    "Hip hop media" trolling for the sake of trolling didn't help much either.

  • LocdoGg

    I don't understand your logic. Producers that only use keyboards are great. Sampling is also great in moderation but to tell people not to buy from producers based on how they produced is retarded a very bias. I think quality production is all that matters...

  • Sfundo

    J-zone,I'm jst an ordinary South African hip-hop fan,but I can't deny the facts u jst stated.I wouldn't say u'v done ur research because what u stated is what u experiance(d),or wht we all experiance for a matter.No doubt hip-hop is dead.

  • Messiah tha MC

    Realist Sh!t I Ever Read... #EverythingComesFullCircle

  • dolo

    One thing you said at the beginning of the article really stood out to me and gave me an idea as to why you might think hip hop is dead. Unfortunately it is the probably the same reason a lot of ppl think hip hop is dead. You called it "The Hip Hop Industry". Hip hop is not an industry..but it has been pimped and deformed by the music industry so much that ppl look at hip hop like it is an idustry. It is a culture or sub culture..and because of these corporations wirh their money schemes...it has taken the art and culture out of the music..and changed it to matket value...many things have led to what we have now...but its important to realize...that HIP HOP still exists and the longer ppl keep attracting the death of hip hop into their thoughts the more it becomes a reality. Cormega just dropped Mega Philosophy. Go peep that if you think hip hop is dead. And remember: how can hip hop be dead if Wu-Tang is forever?

  • Born

    The main thing that made hip-hop is famous its Beats, thereafter begins, bass, leads, melody, rapping and more!

  • Born

    Only one! CRUNK kill the Hip-hop!

  • Simon

    I am reading this post in 2014 almost 7 years after it was written. Hip Hop is still here and doing OK. It is nowhere near as popular as it was in the 90's or as inspirational as it was in the 80's. The charts are now dominated by Electronic Pop dance and have been for several years. So much so that many great rap artists have made their own electro pop tracks (I feel this is more down to hip hop sales decreasing and is an attempt by hip hop artists to make money) which is ironic as a percentage of Hip Hop artists in the early noughties stated that "no one listens to techno" or "techno a no, no". I partially put electronics music's rise down to its compatibility with a digital world. Dance DJ's and artists can meet the demand for immediate music as mentioned in the article. Because they can literally conceive the track and write it in hours if not minutes depending on their skill levels. A well conceived and original Hip Hop track will take longer to produce and develop (this is also partially due to the fact that EDM artists utilise technology which allows them to write music anywhere. However these things in themselves are all trends and fads the simple thing is the golden age of Hip Hop has passed same as all other current forms of music. Soul will never be as good as the Motown years, there will never be another Elvis or Beatles. Techno cannot go back to being an underground music. The time of being in a club or concert and knowing you were part of a new musical movement and feeling the energy that raw creativity can create has gone. Kids download music now one track at a time an act can be the superstar of the day and forgotten about the next not allowing them to build up a fan base or develop their sound or deliver an album showcasing their versatility. Instead electronic producers such as JZ, WILLiam, Kanye West, David Guetta, Calvin Harris have become the new superstars and it is as mentioned in the article quantity over content. Due to the internet and unscrupulous record labels this was always inevitable and we just have to adjust to it. But it doesn't half make me wish for the way music used to be.

  • David

    I just wanted to add that a real Hip Hop producer does both, sample & use keyboards, I have no problem with keyboards, I just have a problem with the fake producers who think sampling is... Whatever. If you find a producer who only does one do not buy from them, they're only a couple years into the craft and don't know what they're talking about, "Sample free beats!"

    • LocdoGg

      I don't understand your logic. Producers that only use keyboards are great. Sampling is also great in moderation but to tell people not to buy from producers based on how they produced is retarded a very bias. I think quality production is all that matters... I think you're mad at the producers that are bigger than you that don't sample.

  • David

    People don't understand what ART is. That right there is the problem, they can't distinguish reality from fantasy. Hip Hop is an art-form at the core, whether its gangster rap or whatever, it is ART, entertainment, it is not to be taken literally or acted out. It is not a hustle, its a job like any other. When you look at paintings, its art. You accept it as art. When you flip through channels and see movies playing its art, you'll notice that one channel is playing a action movie, then the next is drama, comedy, horror, so on and so forth. When it comes to Hip-Hop it draws in the dumbest of the dumb, lazy, they can't tell the difference. They see a man rapping about violence and gang-life and they want to be that so they emulate it due to their own masculinity issues that most males face, they begin to chase a fantasy. They don't see it as ART, hard-work, talent, they see it as their only means of leaving whatever place they're living in, learn to rap or have a wicked jump shot, this is pure idiocy, especially considering the ones who often think this way are already selling drugs and have enough money on their personsto leave, just get on a train/bus and leave. Immigrants come here with little or nothing and manage to build something. They're too scared and too uneducated to know what to do with the money they make hustling, too scared to leave their comfort zone. Mentally they're trapped, not physically. There was a turning point in the past 10 years where everything changed. Years ago when you saw someone like Nas or Biggie on TV you recognize something special about it (talent) and you know that it took incredible patience and practice to reach that skill level. In recent years the bar was drastically lowered and everyone co-signed it because now you can see these "artists" rapping on tv and no longer does patience or practice matter, you observe and think "Lol, this guy is terrible, I CAN DO THAT!" From that moment on everyone and their uncle started making albums. 99% of the people doing Hip-Hop these days who say its their life don't even know what they're talking about, its just money related, they're not artists, they're opportunists. Look around, everybody is making beats the same way, rapping the same way doing what the next guy does, you cannot tell one beat from the next, sampling is too hard so they all use keyboards and speak of sampling as if its simple, this is unheard of, sampling is how Hip-Hop started, for any Hip-Hop producer to even say something this asinine proves my point. They are ignorant. A beat is not a Beethoven composition, be it samples or keyboards the beat cannot be too complicated or the "artist" doesn't know what to do with it, thats the difference between a "beat" and an "instrumental", it must be rapper-friendly. Now beats are made my fake producers who are just interested in nothing but cash and not the progression of Hip-Hop, they don't care. This results in beats being streamlined for online sales as fast as possible, people who don't know the first thing about reading notes or even what a chord is, nothing. Just laying sound on top of sound using two index fingers assisted by DAW applications that do all the work. This cancels out originality and magnifies mediocrity. I am a producer, I've been doing this a long time, the producer is supposed to be educated and they ultimately control the setting because the rapper 9 times out of 10 doesn't know anything, they only know how to rhyme and they follow the producer's lead. What happens when the producer doesn't know any more than the rapper? During my last 10+ years I've seen it all and if you're the type to buy beats online you need to pay close attention to what Im about to say: I have been to people's houses who claim to be producers, they have equipment set up but none of it even goes together, some of it does but it is nothing more than props to an illusion. This is the case with almost all the producers you might see online who post pictures of themselves with all kinds of keyboards and monitors, you need to beware. I swear to god I met a producer who doesn't even know how to bounce a track, render mp3's lol! His only intention is to live out a fantasy that he's a big-shot and to bring over "rappers" to play big boss to them, to CON THEM OUT OF MONEY, nothing more. He got some weird thrill out of it and he noticed that I wasn't buying his lie, I saw with my own eyes as he pulled up stock beats that came with the program as he pretended to have created them. Once he realized that I knew he was faking it just got weirder, he NEEDED me to believe it, this is what you are dealing with online. Heres a scary thought for you: being that you can't tell one beat from the next anymore because everyone is using the same equipment to make beats -- how do you know for certain that the individual did indeed create the beat you are planning to buy? He might have added a sound or two to it but... People go the path of least resistance for a reason, if everyone is suddenly selling keyboard beats it because it is easier. Sampling is all about finding your own sounds, with keyboards all you have to do is turn it on, you don't have to look for anything, it is easier. Think about it, you can go to sites like file2hd.com and jack any track off of any site, add a few sounds, speed it up or EQ it to change it a little or don't change it at all (the chance that the real creator will ever find is slim to none) then they can act like they made it, I KNOW this is being done, it is not a theory lol, a million desperate rappers who just want to try their hand at making cash by rhyming and people like me capable of seeing it can bank on it, it is easier than hell to take money from you, you can't wait to give it away lol, if a guy is selling beats for $20-$40 dollars for an exclusive there is something seriously wrong with the picture. Im not here to sell beats, I wont leave any links to me, I'd rather stay anonymous just to educate people on why Hip-Hop is dying. Ultimately the saturation of keyboard beats in the bigger picture only means the texture/feel of Hip-Hop is controlled by keyboard manufacturers, stock samples, don't get it confused, its all samples, royalty free or copyrighted. Hip-Hop has been hi-jacked and many of YOU are responsible for it, you do not think. Hip-Hop is supposed to be disruptive, like graffiti, it has that element to it where you just do what you want and its true self-expression, people don't understand that. Sampling from artists is the foundation, the possibilities are limitless as opposed to be limited by your keyboard sound-banks. Now don't get me wrong, there are very talented keyboard producers out there and Im not making one sweeping statement, but the majority do nothing but fake it. The fans of Hip-Hop who do not understand what ART is who one day compared themselves to the worst of the worst and got idea that they themselves could do it are steadily ruining Hip-Hop right now. If you are not an artist then you have no business doing music, at all. Its not rocket science, I suck at soccer so I don't play soccer lol, the dumbest of the dumb listen to Hip-Hop and they cannot distinguish reality from fantasy, they do not want to work hard to actually achieve anything respectable, they fake it until they make it and these days we're ok with that apparently. The same thing is happening in pop music, controversy over talent, its all fake. Do not make the mistake of blaming the industry either, thats like getting mad a machine, the industry is only interested in making money, you buy the garbage they put out so they keep putting it out and they found a easy way to replace real artists with cookie cutter frauds every other year to refresh your interests. Hip-Hop is for the people by the people and the people are hypnotized by delusions of grandeur. Just like anything else in life nothing will change until YOU/WE take responsibility and change it, Obama-like figures can't change anything. People are so dumb these days nobody knows what to do with you lmao, its unbelievable. If you're feeling agitated reading this then YOU are partly responsible for Hip-Hop dying, I speak the truth. Respect the art-form, stop gossipping like bitches and get a life, stop faking smh.

    • Fry

      Good write-up. I am not an idiot and I read quickly, so this was refreshing. It's too bad most people won't read or be able to fully comprehend what you wrote

    • Truth

      I gotta give my nigga Dave props for writing a novel and posting it to HipHopDx. Knowing no one got through the 1st sentence of this nonsense. Nigga just spent 6 hours on something that he could have got his ass a job and paid for... SMH

    • DavidNeedsSomeFreshAir

      Did any one rear this fools essay? Didn't think so..

  • f

    There is too much rap politics. Many people see beefs as one cause but I dont think they cause the damage, infact they made rap more competitive creating better albums. I agree with you that the internet is a big problem, also the quantity over quality attitude rappers are taking. I dont see what you mean by point 2, as for point 3, rappers and collaberating with the lonely island so that is not true

  • jake

    wow i found this 3 years later.... 100% right. This: There is so much shit out and the internet lurks with a million people doing the same thing, it’s virtually impossible to stand out. Back in the day, you had to work your way up in the business. Havin a record was in most cases a privilege and a reward for your hard work. Catalog meant something. We're in an MP3 world now, and somebody in their bedroom is on an equal plane with somebody that's paid dues and worked hard. That's great for the kid with talent and no vehicle to get heard. That sucks for the no talent hacks on myspace that post advertisements for their wack music on your comments page. spot on.