Growing up, the conversations I had with my Dad about music were pretty much limited to Kenny G (Me: Dad, are you serious with this shit? Him: Shhhhh, just let KG do his thing), Michael Bolton (Him: I appreciate you going with your mother to the Michael Bolton concert. Me: Dad, he took off his shirt. And mom was cheering. Him: I don't think you're supposed to use the toilet scouring brush on your eyes like that.), and his unwavering conviction that hip-hop was just a passing fad (Him: Hip hop is a passing fad. Me: I've got to say, you're pretty unwavering in that conviction.)
Given the context of the first conversation, I assumed it was a pretty safe bet that the guy didn't know what the fuck he was talking about when it came to the third. I'd tell him, "sure it's a passing fad old man," smooth his hair, chuck his jaw and go back to listening to Das Efx.
Well apparently, I should stop chucking my old man's jaw (and not just because he can still beat the shit out of me, and now without facing child abuse charges). According to a recent article in America's foremost hip-hop journal Time Magazine, rap sales have declined 44% since the year 2000, and they don't look like they're bouncing back.
The article blames it on everything from a derth of new talent to an inability to "fool the white kids anymore." But probably the most fascinating theory is from former Tribe Called Quest front-man Q-Tip, who noted that "When I first signed to Tommy Boy, [the A&R person] would take us to different shows and to art museums…There was real mentorship. Today that's largely absent, and we see the results in the music and in the aesthetic."
This makes total sense. You can totally see Q-Tip and the rest of Tribe rolling around to different shows and the Moma, digesting it all and going into the studio the next day to spit some ludicrous rhymes that name drop obscure Japanese art movements.
Now try to imagine a night of culture with today's most popular rapper, The Game. It would probably look a lot like Grand Theft Auto but with less clothing and more face tattoos.