While music-industry sales have plummeted, no genre has fallen harder than rap. According to the music trade publication Billboard, rap sales have dropped 44% since 2000 and declined from 13% of all music sales to 10%. Artists who were once the tent poles at rap labels are posting disappointing numbers. Jay-Z’s return album, Kingdom Come, for instance, sold a gaudy 680,000 units in its first week, according to Billboard. But by the second week, its sales had declined some 80%. This year rap sales are down 33% so far.
Hip-hop now faces a generation that takes gangsta rap as just another mundane marker in the cultural scenery. “It’s collapsing because they can no longer fool the white kids,” says Nickels. “There’s only so much redundancy anyone can take.”
Before anyone accuses me of being an old fuddy duddy (which I am) I grew up with rap music. From the 80s through the 90s I listened to Run-DMC, Public Enemy, the Getto Boys, Cyprus Hill, to name a few. Eventually I got bored of the new stuff coming out. The music industry should realize that all genres of music will eventually become niche, mutate into something new, or die.