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Gangsta Rap On Death Row As The US Tunes Out
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 6-30-2007 | Tim Shipman

Posted on 06/30/2007 5:17:39 PM PDT by blam

Gangsta rap on death row as the US tunes out

By Tim Shipman in Washington, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 11:48pm BST 30/06/2007

To judge by their lyrics, gangsta rappers are adept at seeing off rivals with a bullet and their women with a slap.

Rappers Spliff Starr, Eminem, Papoose and Busta Rhymes on stage

But America's rappers are now trapped in a corner they don't seem able to shoot their way out of, with either weapons or words.

Confronted with haemorrhaging sales, the most assertive popular music movement since the Sex Pistols has lost its swagger and is suffering a crisis of confidence.

This year rap and hip-hop sales are down 33 per cent, double the decline of the CD album market overall, which is under pressure from music download sites such as iTunes, where fans can buy individual songs.

In 2006, rap sold 59.1 million albums, down 21 per cent from 2005. Not one rap album made the American top 10 sellers of the year - a list headed by the saccharine tunes of the soundtrack to Disney's made-for-television High School Musical. The bad boys of rap are now trailing the cowboys of country and the headbangers of heavy metal.

Since rap's apotheosis five years ago, when Eminem's album The Eminem Show topped the American charts with 7.6 million sales, no rapper has come close to emulating his success.

Rap has been deserted by many white fans and middle-class blacks, apparently tiring of the "gangsta" attitude to women, racism, violence and bling - the gold rings and medallions that have made hip-hop a byword for -vulgarity.

"The public has made a choice. They're saying, 'We do not want the nonsense that we see and hear on radio, and we are not putting our money there'," said KRS-One, a rap legend from the Bronx. "Rap music is being boycotted by the American public because of the images that we are putting forward."

Tom Vickers, a former talent spotter for Capitol/Mercury records said: "Rap has gradually degenerated from an art form into a ring tone. That's why we're seeing this backlash. There's only so much bling the public can take."

The early pioneers of rap are also seen to have sold out. Snoop Dogg, once famed for his ghetto lyrics, is now helping to advertise Pony trainers while 50 Cent is pushing grape-flavoured vitamin water, a far cry from the kind of hard liquor usually associated with the hip-hopsters.

Kevin Powell, a historian of the genre, said: "Hip-hop culture has been assassinated by the hip-hop industry's desire to make money by any means necessary."

The rap artist Nas bemoans the decline on his new album Hip Hop Is Dead, complaining that everyone sounds the same and that they have forgotten their roots.

No one embodies the decline of rap like Marion "Suge" Knight, the man who created Death Row Records and became known as the John Gotti of hip-hop. When Knight, reputedly a member of the LA gang the Bloods, helped mastermind the careers of Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, his company boasted annual sales of $200 million (£100 million) and the monicker "Motown of the Nineties".

Now he is an ex-convict, a bankrupt who is $137 million in debt and facing a civil trial in which the family of murdered rap star the Notorious B.I.G. claim that he was gunned down in 1997 by hitmen hired by Death Row as part of an East Coast-West Coast rap feud. Now the bad boy of rap is planning to withdraw the entire Death Row back catalogue and bleep out each and every instance of the word "nigger" in its songs. "To me, it's never too late to change," he told The Washington Post last week.

Earlier this year, the radio "shock jock" Don Imus sparked a media storm by referring to black members of the Rutgers ladies basketball team as "nappy headed hos", a derogatory term for unkempt prostitutes. The fury that ensued cost Imus his job but immediately prompted claims that an ageing white man is judged by different standards from the "gangsta" rappers who use such terms with abandon.

The Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama joined the conservative Fox News channel in calling for a crackdown on rap lyrics.

Hip-hop mogul Russell -Simmons, who made millions co-founding and then selling the Def Jam label, called a meeting of music industry executives shortly afterwards and called for the words "nigger", "bitch" and "ho" to be bleeped out of radio -versions of songs.

The New York civil rights leader, the Rev Al Sharpton, protested outside the offices of leading record labels and met executives from Universal, Warner and Sony Music, who control 90 per cent of the rap market between them. He declared: "We plan to continue to march until those three words are gone."

In the rush to condemn, the leading black magazine Ebony removed the rapper Ludacris from its cover. Verizon records then dropped Senegalese-American hip-hop star Akon after video footage surfaced of him simulating sex with an underage fan on stage.

For many, though, this capitulation to mainstream taste is another sign that rap is dying. An unrepentant 50 Cent said he had no intention of cleaning up his lyrics.

"Music is a mirror," he said, "and hip-hop is a reflection of the environment we grew up in. If I ask you to paint a picture of the American flag and not use the colour red, you're going to have a difficult time."

But others see in this reappraisal a renewal of the genre. Michael Dyson, professor of African-American and Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania said: "The most powerful sign that hip-hop culture is alive is the withering critique from within about the industry. Horrible hip-hop must die so that regal hip-hop can live. Hip-hop is dead. Long live hip-hop."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: death; gangsta; rap; row; timshipman

1 posted on 06/30/2007 5:17:44 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

Is Tim Shipman the only writer for this newspaper?


2 posted on 06/30/2007 5:19:07 PM PDT by Perdogg (congratulations - you have just won an ipod nano)
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To: blam

-—you can’t spell “crap” without “rap”—


3 posted on 06/30/2007 5:20:39 PM PDT by rellimpank (-don't believe anything the MSM states about firearms or explosives--NRA Benefactor)
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To: blam
Tom Vickers, a former talent spotter for Capitol/Mercury records said: "Rap has gradually degenerated from an art form into a ring tone. . . ."

Some art form.

4 posted on 06/30/2007 5:25:16 PM PDT by Logophile
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To: blam
Now if only we can get Jazz-z and Diddy to stop ruining songs by making guest intros.
5 posted on 06/30/2007 5:25:19 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: Perdogg

kinda’ funny there’s a Tom and a Tim; maybe like the Hitchens boys.


6 posted on 06/30/2007 5:26:05 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: rellimpank

They like to rap, cause they full o’ crap.


7 posted on 06/30/2007 5:26:09 PM PDT by Free ThinkerNY ((((Truth shall set you free))))
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To: blam

It is about time!!


8 posted on 06/30/2007 5:26:19 PM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (We stand on the bridge and no one may pass. We go into the dark places....)
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To: Perdogg

the original nasty rappers?

why the native Americans,the Arapaho

badda bing.........


9 posted on 06/30/2007 5:26:51 PM PDT by advertising guy (If computer skills named us, I'd be back-space delete.)
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To: blam

Ever see the AARP rap?


10 posted on 06/30/2007 5:27:17 PM PDT by HitmanLV ("Lord, give me chastity and temperance, but not now." - St. Augustine)
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To: blam

Disco died on schedule. Rap should have died at least 15 years ago.


11 posted on 06/30/2007 5:27:23 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: blam

Since when is inept poetry set to drum machine “music”?


12 posted on 06/30/2007 5:27:40 PM PDT by Boundless (Legacy Media is hazardous to your mental health)
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To: rellimpank
-—you can’t spell “crap” without “rap”—

Well said! May rap go the way of disco, a stake driven through its heart and buried beneath an unmarked crossroad.

13 posted on 06/30/2007 5:27:53 PM PDT by LibKill (Bush betrayed conservatives on Immigration. NO support for Bush.)
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To: mad_as_he$$

Awwwww, who’s gonna’ call women ho’s and bitches? Who’s gonna’ talk about the joys of rape and murder???

(GOOD RIDDANCE!!!)


14 posted on 06/30/2007 5:28:42 PM PDT by bannie (Is the amnesty bill the REASON our Founding Fathers insured our RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS?)
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To: blam

But America’s rappers are now trapped in a corner they don’t seem able to shoot their way out of, with either weapons or words.


Uh no. Any rapper with any brains headed for the “mainstream” years ago. Ice-T, Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, etc. etc. etc.


15 posted on 06/30/2007 5:28:52 PM PDT by durasell (!)
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To: blam

Rap is really on the decline. Why, just the other day they held the Miss Rap USA contest and could only muster 49 contestants. Seems nobody wanted to be Miss Idaho.


16 posted on 06/30/2007 5:33:42 PM PDT by pepsi_junkie (Often wrong, but never in doubt!)
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To: Logophile

When it all started with Rappers Delight by Sugarhill Gang it seemed so innocent. :)


17 posted on 06/30/2007 5:34:38 PM PDT by xp38
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To: blam

When your selling trash,your not going to be around long.

All I can say is good riddance too bad rubbish.


18 posted on 06/30/2007 5:34:47 PM PDT by puppypusher (The world is going to the dogs.)
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To: blam

What folks may not realize is that the UK has it’s own “gangsta rappers” replete with cars and woman etc, as does France and Spain and Russia and interestingly the Arab World has it’s own rappers...no, I’m not kidding....

What shipman is trying to do (IMO) is tell the “youths” that gangsta rap is out of date in the US, not many people listen to it anymore, in a “hipster” country, that is the kiss-o-death.

And the 20 year culture cycle is moving to 1987, rap was dying then and heavy metal was on the rise into the mainstream.

Rock on dude...it’s Slayer!


19 posted on 06/30/2007 5:35:40 PM PDT by padre35 (Quod autem isti dicunt non interponendi vos bello)
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To: xp38
well it's on & on & on & on

the beat dont stop until the break of dawn

20 posted on 06/30/2007 5:38:08 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: blam

Is there a chance I might be able to listen to music targeted to youth again without being assaulted by all this numbing mysogynist gangta bling-bling yo-yo mindless hip-hop crap rap?

Wow. That could be the best news I’ve heard this year.


21 posted on 06/30/2007 5:38:19 PM PDT by Tall_Texan (Global warming? Hell, in Texas, we just call that "summer".)
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To: rellimpank

Rap gives crap a bad name.


22 posted on 06/30/2007 5:44:35 PM PDT by jwh_Denver (In the Rise and Fall of United States I hope the Fall part is more than one chapter.)
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To: blam
"nappy headed hos", a derogatory term for unkempt prostitutes.


23 posted on 06/30/2007 5:45:35 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: blam
Horrible hip-hop must die so that regal hip-hop can live

"Regal" Hip-hop? Never mind, I'm not even interested in understanding such an oxymoron.

24 posted on 06/30/2007 5:48:41 PM PDT by Brett66 (Where government advances ? and it advances relentlessly ? freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: bannie

Jesse Jackson? :-)


25 posted on 06/30/2007 6:13:34 PM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (We stand on the bridge and no one may pass. We go into the dark places....)
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To: mad_as_he$$

Oh, yea...what WAS I thinking???

;-)


26 posted on 06/30/2007 6:25:37 PM PDT by bannie (Is the amnesty bill the REASON our Founding Fathers insured our RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS?)
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To: blam
And you wonder why Paul McCartney's new album Memory Almost Full is getting a lot of positive "buzz" and good steady sales. People are sick and tired of hip-hop music running into the gangsta rap rut.
27 posted on 06/30/2007 6:27:31 PM PDT by RayChuang88
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: blam

From the article;

“The New York civil rights leader, the Rev Al Sharpton, protested outside the offices of leading record labels and met executives from Universal, Warner and Sony Music, who control 90 per cent of the rap market between them. He declared: “We plan to continue to march until those three words are gone.”
________________________________________________________

I remember when Rev. Al called rap “singers” the poets of their time


29 posted on 06/30/2007 7:40:44 PM PDT by Roccus (Dealing with politicians IS the War On Terror!)
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To: Roccus

BUMP!


30 posted on 06/30/2007 8:25:28 PM PDT by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: blam

Rap music is an oxymoron!


31 posted on 06/30/2007 9:31:44 PM PDT by BobKat
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To: xp38

LOL! Memories. This post reminded me of the General Hospital rap song.


32 posted on 06/30/2007 9:50:05 PM PDT by Twink
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To: blam

To begin with, it definitely is not music. I have no idea what it is. Do know that I can’t stand it, having been brought up in an America in which popular music had melodies that one could remember. Fancy that!


33 posted on 06/30/2007 10:03:22 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: blam

I did my part-I haven’t bought one gangsta rap CD all year.


34 posted on 06/30/2007 10:51:19 PM PDT by GATOR NAVY (Hey! Must be a devil between us)
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To: GATOR NAVY
"I did my part-I haven’t bought one gangsta rap CD all year."

I've never bought one. Or, even listened to one.

35 posted on 07/01/2007 7:07:40 AM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

Well yeah, my boycott was easy since I’ve never bought any anyway. And my kids know there won’t be any in my house.


36 posted on 07/01/2007 12:38:01 PM PDT by GATOR NAVY (Hey! Must be a devil between us)
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