Okay, I’m not the world’s biggest hip-hop fan, and I figured this whole rivalry between 50 Cent (pictured) and Kanye West was just a stunt to help both men sell more records, but I had no idea that the state of hip-hop was so dire that the genre’s entire future depended on the Fiddy-Kanye stunt. Thank goodness for Reuters, whose article about the contest begins with this sentence (italics mine):
Rapper 50 Cent has pledged to retire if Kanye West’s new album outsells his, generating much-needed publicity for a flagging musical genre that may go the way of disco.
Really? Rap’s been popular for nearly 30 years, but if Kenny Chesney outsells both Fiddy and Kanye this week, the genre is doomed? The article is correct to note that CD sales are down for hip-hop, but isn’t that true across the board? It also notes that the careers of many rappers have a short shelf life, but that doesn’t mean the music as a whole is a flash in the pan, does it?
Finally, we have this observation as to why rap’s appeal is supposedly waning: “You have got 30-year-old millionaires trying to appeal to17- and 18-year-olds who aren’t millionaires.” Um, hasn’t that been the situation in the recording industry for close to a century? If the industry no longer knows how to market the music of millionaires to kids who want to be millionaires, then its problems are a lot bigger than a hip-hop slump.