(Original post by skaterava)
The problem is not just limited to hip hop. The music industry goes through cycles; pick an era and it will always be dominated by one particular genre of music. Keen to jump on the money-making bandwagon, artists will opt for catchy hooks and stuff that can get played at parties. As a result, lyricism and genre integrity sometimes suffers. But I don't entirely blame the artists. When you're being offered a lot
of money, you will simply do what the masses wants. Eventually, artists will succumb, either through greed or because they have run out of intelligent things to say...this will happen in nearly all circumstances.
Music that makes you think, or poses a strong opinion, is simply not desirable based on the current demand in the market. Most people don't want to hear politically or socially aware lyrics, or complex beats, they want something that they can sing along to. And to a degree I don't blame them either; Music is totally subjective, and obviously, the purpose of music differs, in their eyes.
But that doesn't mean a genre has been "killed". Perhaps its image has become distorted in the mainstream, but the mainstream always does this to genres, to an extent. More to the point, you will always find like-minded people who will produce music you want to listen to.
While I agree the integrity of hip hop has declined in recent years (the rising popularity of club music has influenced the genre massively), hip hop is far from dead. Some people think the only good hip hop comes from the Golden Era, or the early to mid nineties. But if you seek good contemporary hip hop, where the lyricism is well-thought and the beats sound distinctly boom-bap, it's there. I recommend artists like Viro the Virus, Apathy, R.A The Rugged Man, Celph Titled, The Cunninlynguists, MF Doom, British artists like Dirty Dike, Fliptrix, Stig of the Dump...Plenty to choose from.
And to be honest, I don't think the lyrical content of the music these days should be used as argument for why the old school was better. Take a song like Biggie's "I Got a Story to Tell". On it he talks about having sex with a woman, taking drugs, and then robbing a guy. But it's how
he does it that makes it one of my favourite tracks. The work that has gone into constructing the lyrics is evident; multi-syllable rhyming, switches in flow, all the while telling a story masterfully. I criticise a lot of modern MC's for lacking craftsmanship of their lyrics, not necessarily the lyrics themselves.
Music is an art form in an uncomfortable position. While some artists of different disciplines like drama, dance and painting may only create a handful of masterpieces in their lifetimes, music artists are expected to churn out songs almost factory-like. Music is all about capturing a thought, but due to the massive demand for it, as well as the lucrative money involved, its status as an art form is somewhat precarious.