I was toe tappin' to Ludacris' / Mary J. Blige's new joint Runaway Love and noted how old boy is trying to channel OG Tupac Shakur who covered the same ground with his 1991 joint - Brenda's Got A Baby (check the Brenda video here, y'all). This time instead of 12 year old Brenda getting into all kinds of domestic drama, we have 9 year old Lisa, 10 year old Nicole, her girl Lil Stacey and 11 year old Erica. 16 years have passed since Tupac dropped Brenda and Luda reminds us today that little has changed in the hood. Seems to me that this is where rap music needs to earn its chops - educating the masses about overlooked problems - rather than extolling the virtues of grillz, rump shakers, deviant sex and rollin' on dubs...
Back in the day, rap was about social consciousness - Public Enemy with Fight The Power and Can't Truss It. Even more recently with Make Love, F##k War about the Iraq ruckus. Remember Grand Master Flash and Melle Mel's '83 classic 'White Lines' - a joint that warned about the dangers of cocaine?? (Note: Don't miss the classic video of *that* joint - directed by a little known director named Spike Lee and featuring a little known actor Laurence Fishburne) Or Tupac's 'Changes' or Eminem's 'Stan'? The list goes on.
On the flip side you've got a whack, insanely repetitious, one hit wonder like Unk's 'Walk It Out' capturing the minds of the biddy bop generation and leading them to think that the only things important are girls, money and dancing. Hmmmm, could the embracing of superficial fluff by most of the rap community be a reason behind Rap music's 2006 sales decline? According to Nielsen Soundscan, Rap and R&B music had the biggest sales declines in 2006 of all styles of music.
Ol Ty, being the purist he is, attributes the Rap music decline to the lack of substance in the content. My boyz would probably chalk it up to the fact that southsiders tend to have a fond appreciation for the art of bootlegging and since a large chunk of the audience for R&B and Rap music tend to be southsiders, well...
I'm thinking the best way to stop this decline is to 1) bring back meaningful rap lyrics, 2) keep featuring R&B artists on your tracks, 3) keep laying down phat beats, and 4) commit to paying at least $0.99 for a track, y'all - damn! Stop being so tight! Walk it on out to iTunes and do the right thing!