Everybody wants to complain and point the finger at who led to the demise of this genre that we all know and love. But its not a WHO that killed it, its more like a WHAT. Hear me out...
Prior to the turn of the the century, Hip-Hop was booming, and almost every artist that was hot easily reached platinum record sales. It truly was a lucrative business and at that time, creativity and innovation were not actually necessary for an artist to be successful. That was UNTIL...the internet came about..
You see, before the internet, you had no choice but to purchase an album in order have it. There was no way around it. There was no downloading or streaming, you simply had to go out and spend your $13.99 on that LP. With the internet, music became extremely accessible, thus, making it less of a commodity. Its the basic business principle of supply and demand. Before the net, the demand for the music was high because it wasn't easily obtained. But when websites such as Napster, Morpheus, and Limewire came to prominence, the supply of the music went UP, and its demand went down. That same business principle applies to anything. For example, when a game system such as the Playstation 3 came out, the demand was so high because everyone knew that they would be sold out in a matter of minutes, due to limited supply. If there was an over-abundance of the system at launch, sales would be significantly lower.
Along with the rise of the internet, came the rise of the CD burner. That was another big blow to the the industry. And while other genres of music suffered from this innovation in technology, nobody suffered as much as Hip-Hop because the demographic of its consumers. That type of "demographic" (and i think you all know what i mean) were excited that they were getting something for nothing.
Along with the technology that aided in making the music more accessible, also came the technology that made it easy for fans and lovers of the culture to make music themselves. This is where the culture became flooded with alot of corniness. People will often blame acts like Soulja Boy or other artists from the South with catchy hooks and dances for the downfall of Hip-Hop but thats not where the damage came from. There were several acts way before Soulja Boy that created the same types of music, 2 Live Crew, 69 Boyz, MC Hammer just to name a few. When Hip-Hop was booming, there were only a few acts to pay attention to. Crews like No Limit, Cash Money, Ruff Ryders, and Rocafella, THAT WAS IT. For the most part at least. The new wave of technology brought about differences between those crews, because there was money issues. People who were being paid BEFORE, were now broke because the demand had fallen. With the death of these crews, came the death of alotta people's interest in what the music had to offer.
With the internet now being the number one source to get music, it allowed room for alot of gimmicks because things became more visual. It became more about your appearance than your music. So then, even the people with great music couldn't even survive. You had to be a style icon as well as deliver musically, a feat that not every artist could overcome. Not even artist like 50 Cent who just a couple years ago sold 11 million records. Fast forwarding to now, if you cant recreate the genre in a way thats so creative and well-received, you can forget about selling records. With all these people attempting to recreate the genre, its shifting further and further away from what everybody fell in love with....real Hip-Hop.
So there you have it...it was TECHNOLOGY that killed Hip-Hop, and it did it smoothly. A smooth criminal. It left everybody behind to bicker and bitch about WHO did it, when it was actually the machines. The machines...