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91
Geek Section / new iPods
« on: September 07, 2007, 01:42:28 AM »
Where ma geeks @?

Lets talk about these new products from Apple.



The Keynote address from Stevie (40mins + you need that crappy Quicktime to view it):

http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/s83522y/event/index.html?internal=g4h5jl83a

Quote from: "Capitalist Pig Apple Corp"
"8GB iPhone priced at $399 for this holiday season
To make iPhone affordable for even more customers this holiday season, Apple today lowered the price of the 8GB iPhone—its most popular iPhone model—from $599 to just $399. The 4GB model of iPhone will remain available while supplies last. Apple also announced that it is on track to sell its one-millionth iPhone before the end of September. [Sep 05, 2007]

Apple unveils iPod touch
The new iPod touch introduced today features built-in Wi-Fi networking and a revolutionary multi-touch user interface—first introduced on iPhone—that makes it easy to find all of your music, video, and other digital content and enjoy it on the gorgeous widescreen display on iPod touch. The multi-touch interface uses pioneering new software to present the perfect user interface for Safari, Apple’s YouTube application, and the new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store—all of which come with iPod touch. An unbelievable 8mm thin, iPod touch features up to 22 hours of audio playback and up to five hours of video playback. Available later this month, iPod touch comes in 8GB and 16GB models for $299 and $399, respectively. [Sep 05, 2007]

Meet the all new iPod nano
Apple today announced the all new iPod nano, which now brings video playback, an enhanced user interface featuring Cover Flow, and an incredible new design to the world’s most popular music player. Featuring a larger two-inch display with 204 pixels per inch, the new iPod nano lets you watch your favorite movies, TV shows, and music videos in the same resolution available on the current video iPod. iPod nano comes with three enjoyable games (iQuiz, Vortex, and Klondike), and you can purchase and download other games from the iTunes Store. Encased in a beautiful new all-metal design, iPod nano comes in five new colors—silver, black, blue, green and a (PRODUCT) RED special edition. Available today, iPod nano comes in 4GB and 8GB models, selling for just $149 and $199, respectively. [Sep 05, 2007]

240 Songs. Remixed colors.
The new iPod shuffle, introduced today, comes in four new colors—including the new (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition iPod shuffle—and the original silver. Featuring 1GB of storage, iPod shuffle lets you wear up to 240 songs on your sleeve. Or belt. Or lapel. [Sep 05, 2007]

Introducing the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store
Starting today, you can enter the new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store; wirelessly browse, search, preview, purchase, and download songs or albums to your iPhone or iPod touch; then immediately listen to your new music after it downloads. Once you get back to your Mac or PC, iTunes automatically recognizes the new music and syncs it with your existing library. iTunes will even complete the download of any partially downloaded songs or albums. [Sep 05, 2007]

Create your own custom ringtones in iTunes
Using the new built-in ringtone maker in iTunes, you’ll soon be able to create custom ringtones by selecting a segment, up to 30-seconds long, from any of the more than one million participating songs. After creating your new ringtone, and setting custom fade-in and fade-out points, you can easily sync it to iPhone. It costs just $.99 (in addition to the cost of a new song) to create a 30-second segment from iTunes. You can also create ringtones for $.99 from participating songs you’ve already purchased and downloaded into your iTunes library. Use your new custom ringtone as your iPhone’s default ringtone or a**ign it to a particular caller in your Address Book. [Sep 05, 2007]

Apple and Starbucks will let you wirelessly find and buy music
Thanks to an exclusive partnership between Apple and Starbucks, you can soon take a seat in a participating location and—using an iPod touch, iPhone, or Mac or PC running iTunes—wirelessly browse, search for, preview, purchase, and download music from the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store at Starbucks. No connection fee or login required—your computer, iPod touch or iPhone will automatically recognize the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store as soon as you enter a participating location. The new “Now Playing” service will even display the name of the song currently playing at the Starbucks you’re in. The iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store at Starbucks makes its debut at 600 Starbucks-operated locations in New York and Seattle on October 2. [Sep 05, 2007]

New iPod cla**ic puts up to 40,000 songs in your pocket
Providing 80GB or 160GB of storage, the new iPod cla**ic lets you carry up to 40,000 songs or 200 hours of video—your entire collection of music, photos, video, podcasts, and games—wherever you go. In addition to the features you already enjoy, the new iPod cla**ic delivers an enhanced user interface, featuring Cover Flow, and a new, thinner and all-metal enclosure. Available immediately worldwide in silver and black, iPod cla**ic costs just $249 and $349 for the 80GB and 160GB models, respectively. [Sep 05, 2007]"


Ringtones?: I can't believe this mofo is on here spending TEN minutes raving about how you can now make (and PAY for) ringtones for iPhones. How long we been able to make tones on most other phones? ++++They are FREE!

iPod Shuffle?: New dull colors for that useless device *Yawn*

Nano?:  Why would anyone wanna watch video on a 2inch screen? Its bad enough on my 2.5inch vid iPod.

Cover Flow?: Why isn't the new itunes software updatable on the old iPods to incorporate this "great new functionality"?

iPod Cla**ics: 80GB model price slashed by $100 which means it was overpriced to start off with...but we knew this already. Capitalist Pigs!

iPod touch?:  Just an iPhone without the PHONE?! Oh WOW now there is wifi on ipods but WAIT...you can only download propietary mp3's from iTunes which cannot be shared! CAPITALIST PIGS!

iPhone: So lets slash the price of the iPhone by 33% just 2months after it is released. ie we overcharged you dumb mofo's when they first came out.

BASICALLY F*CK APPLE CAPITALIST PIGS!

*turns to Dancehall playlist on 5th gen ipod video*

92
Hot Traxxx / UGHH II
« on: September 06, 2007, 04:53:31 PM »
Looks like the original UGHH thread is AWOL so lets ressurect this B.

(inspired by current candidate for album of the year "Below the Heavens")

Exile - Dirty Science:



1. Welcome -
2. Time Has Come feat. Slum Village
3. Spittin' Image feat. Aloe Blacc
4. Pay The Co$$ feat. Ca$hiu$ King
5. I Don't Think You Understand (Freestyle) -
6. Summertime In L.A. feat. Miguel Jontel
7. Notch feat. M.E.D.
8. Maintain feat. Blue, Donel Smokes, Ca$hiu$ King, Jontel
9. Newest Greatest feat. Ohno
10. Tell You feat. Blue, Aloe Blacc
11. Blamexlle feat. Blame
12. Move On 'Em feat. Ta'Raach
13. Do Not Touch feat. Johas
14. A Few Words From… feat. Trek Life
15. Smoke & Mirrors feat. Kardinal Offishall
16. Fly (Song Of Liberation) feat. Blu
17. Silver Moon
18. Milk 'Em feat. Ghostface, Trife

http://LINK REMOVED/85a59f04

93
Hot Traxxx / Keith Murray-The Most Beautifullest Appreciation Thread
« on: August 30, 2007, 05:36:04 AM »
Been a lot of chitter chatter on AG lately about the mad matador of metaphor so Its only right, right?..

Lets pay tribute to this 94 cla**ic:



  1. Live From New York
  2. Sychosymatic
  3. Dip Dip Di
  4. Most Beautifullest Thing In This World, The
  5. Herb Is Pumpin'
  6. Sychoward
  7. Straight Loonie - (featuring Jamal)
  8. Danger
  9. Get Lifted
  10. How's That - (with Erick Sermon/Redman)
  11. Chase, The
  12. Take It To The Streetz
  13. Bom Bom Zee
  14. Countdown
  15. Escapism
  16. Most Beautifullest Thing In This World, The - (Green-Eyed remix, bonus track)

http://www.sendspace.com/file/musr31

Show your love.
MrC I see you  8)

94
Hip Hop Events / Rock the Bells 07 tour pics & flix
« on: August 23, 2007, 08:20:20 PM »
I had the pleasure of being one of the 5000+ music lovers/ concert goers to attend the Denver Leg of the ROCK THE BELLS Tour yesterday.

Featuring: Wu-Tang Clan/ Nas/ Talib Kweli/ Pharoahe Monch/ Immortal Technique/ Jedi Mind Tricks/ Cypress Hill hosted by Supernatural.
AWESOME fest.

Review:


A word about the spectacle that is Red Rocks Amphitheatre. This is THE best concert venue I have EVER been to. One of, if not THE top venue in the world. It is an amphitheatre built in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies between 2 boulders of red clay rock (?). As if the creator meant for it to be that way. The venue is damn near a natural amphitheatre. (www.redrocksonline.com).
Just the fact that there was a hip hop festival at such a great venue meant it was sure to be something special.

I arrived late coz I had slept in after being out the night before so I missed Jedi Mind. I would have liked  to see them but it wasn't as big a loss as missing any of the other acts would have been.
On arrival much revolutionary exclamation & ‘Idon'tgiveaf***’ ‘f***thegovernment’ shouts are heard. Its Immortal Technique about 3/4's through his set. I did manage to catch Obnoxious pre-empted by Tech asking "Where the Ladies at" & all the ladies (of which there were a surprisingly decent ratio of talent) of course screaming their lungs out...In Typical Imm Tech form tech declares: "All of you who screamed GET THE f*** OUT!" & goes into "Obnoxious".
Great energy from the revolutionary as he walked into the crowd of now about 2500 with no security & rocked it from within the crowd declaring "This is what hip hop is supposed to be... Music is supposed to be free, for the people...burn my shit I don't care bootleg it, but don't be a pussy about it & play it in ya mama's basement.. PLAY IT LOUD OUTSIDE for all to hear!".

Our Host SuperNatural took to the stage & announced the arrival of the almighty Pharoahe.
As Pharoahe arrived with his live band with accompanying back up singers the sun emerged from behind a cloud...
Most of the crowd did not seem to be too familiar with Mr Jamerson as he ripped through his singles "f*** You", "Push" and "Desire". Asking if there were any who had got his latest album "Desire" few responded in the affirmative. 30mins later Pharoahe was about ready to wrap up his set but not before bringing te house down in Rock Star fashion with "Simon Says" (micstand throwing & all!!!). As Pharoahe left the stage the sun returned behind the cloud...spiritual maybe?..Ra blessed the Pharoahe.

In the intermission Super Nat KILLED a freestyle where he had people in the front row give him anything in their pockets and he would rhyme about it including: A Brazilian flag, a bag of weed and a drunk white girl's hotel room key!
It is true Super Nat is the "Freestyle King"

Next man to take the stage was BKMC Talib Kweli. Immediately noticeable was the energy he was bringing to the stage. On the heels of his latest album ear drum which had just dropped in the USA the day before Kweli was in high spirits. He performed his hits "Get By", "Definition" and "Move Something" before getting into some material off his latest "Listen" & "Hot Thang" which had the crowd moving pointing out to "you &you & you &you.." His set was not complete without promoting his label Blacksmith & bringing out his artists Strong Arm Steady as well as the mighty Pharoahe for a freestyle on the Guerilla Monsoon Rap beat joined by legendary Sadat X of Brand Nubian. A nice surprise.

The show was moving along very nicely & we now had a great head of steam to take us into the night.

The stage change brought out Cypress Hill complete with Tonga drums and the blunted 15ft "King" blow up doll in tote. All the stoners (of which they were MANY) took this as license to light up. For the entire Cypress Hill set there was the smell of weed in the air. Its like for that 40mins it was all of a sudden legal. I have never been offered so much free weed in my life.
B-Real & Sean Dogg (?) smoked on stage taking "small Chronic breaks" & ripped through their slew of Sticky green hits including "Insane in the Brain", "I want to get high" & "I could just kill a man".
By the end of the set I believe all 4000 of us were high off the crossfire alone.

It hard to say who the headline acts were on this tour but the next man to the stage was certainly a strong candidate. Nasir "Bin Olu Dara" Jones came to the stage to a mad frenzy & ovation by the now 5000+ crowd.
Understand that Nas does not have the most energetic or personal stage show but just the sheer presence of arguablely the greatest rapper alive was enough to have us all standing at attention.
He ripped through many of his hits including "Stillmatic Intro"; "Made you look", "Hip Hop is Dead", "Life's A Bitch" and "One Mic". Addressing his recent criticism over his scheduled Virginia Tech performance he performed the chorus to the controversial "Shoot Em Up" explaining that it wasn't about killing each other but rather standing for what one believes by any means necessary.

It was now 930pm but you could hardly tell most of the crowd had been there since 3pm as the energy levels were very high.
Most of the people I spoke to were there for Wu-Tang. It was a little surprising there is still a damn near religious following of the Clan.
There was literally a Sea of Wu shirts as far as the eye could see.
The Clan did not hit the stage until after 40mins of waiting anxiously. The energy when they did was apocalyptic. Opening with "Wu-Tang Clan Aint Nothing to f*** With" the clan appeared to be ready to shut the place down & bring the mountain down.
"Da Mystery of Chessbixin" "Its Yourz" and "Tearz" all performed with gusto but the logistics of having 8 live mics on stage at tha same time un-did some of the great performance. Its as Steve Harvey said in Kings of Comedy "I don't want 8 rappers on stage barking instructions at me!".
The pivotal member in WU's performances Method Man was absent. There was an unidentified look-a-like on stage but Rza announced "OUr Main man Method Man couldn't be here he's back home he had some shit to take care of.".
As a result Rae & Rza stepped up as the focal points of the performance seemingly more energetic than ever.
Rae lead as the Clan performed  "Incarcerated Scarfaces & "Ice Cream".
It was the Gza's birthday so there was a medley of Gza cla**ics  perfomed including "4th Chamber"; "Duel of the Iron Mic" & "Liquid Swords".
No Wu-Tang Clan performance is complete without an ODB dedication. Apparently Denver was the last city to see ODB perform live. This time the Rza led as ODB's first son performed "Shimmay Shimmay", "Brooklyn Zoo" & "Got your Money". I was surprised how many young'ns in the crowd knew the word to the former.
The Wu set supposedly ended with "Triumph" (Rae ripped his verse the hardest mostly accapella.
Being that we were on a mountain between huge boulders of rock, 'the Abbot' saw it fit to finish the night off with "Gravel Pit" which received mixed reaction from the Wu-Tang fans present.

A Dream line-up, A Dream Location. A Dream Concert.

Pix:

Wu-Tang Clan:


Cypress Hill:


Talib Kweli:


Pharoahe Monch:


Immortal Technique:


More Pix here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tate8t8/


Flix here:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=04B8706DE8C8ED53
(Supernat freestyle is bananas!

ENJOY!

95
Media / HIPHOCALYPSE Podcast
« on: August 13, 2007, 08:41:32 AM »
African Hip Hop on the latest HIPHOCALYPSE Fort Knights podcast.

Hosted by Sensai Tate.
25minutes, 8 songs, +/-20MB showcasing the hottest rising hip hop talent in SouthERN Africa.

Tracklisting:
"Someone's Gonna Have to Pay" (?) - K'naan;
"WHAT?!!!" - Konfab/Jaak/Sketch;
"Vuligepe" - Mr. Beef;
"Taxi Wars" - Cashless Society;
"Wozobona" - PRO-kid;
"I Salute You" - KINGPINN;
"My Distress" - Zubz;
"Mindscape" - InvisibleMan (2nd Sun & Underdogg)

Listen, download, subscribe NOW!
http://www.hiphocalypse.mypodcast.com

The African Hip Hop Revolution is on the RISE!

PAMBERI!

96
Media / African Hip Hop Shop
« on: August 10, 2007, 02:20:10 AM »
Check it:

http://www.africanhiphopshop.com/

Quote
On our site you’ll find African Hip Hop tracks from all over the continent that you can download. In our members area you can check out videos, artist / producer interviews, documentaries, podcasts and get exclusive free track downloads.
All the music on our site has been created by Africans living in Africa or around the world. They are the pioneers of a new modern African culture that is exploding on our continent. By buying their music you are supporting them and our communities.

If you’re an artist or a label this is an opportunity to sell your music to the world – check out the menu on the left for details.

Africas time is coming !


May be a good way to get your music further than just your city...

97
General Discussion / Zubz on myspace
« on: August 09, 2007, 05:31:56 PM »
Quote from: "Sensai_Tate"
Quote from: "MrC"
Quote from: "Sensai_Tate"
No myspace prescence for Opt Illz/Zubz/ Nthabi?!!! :(


http://www.myspace.com/lastletta
http://www.myspace.com/nthabiology

Thanks Mr.C. Maybe I should have been clearer. I guess I meant myspace music pages.

*disclaimer, this is NOT a challenge (S.P.I.T does not encourage Net-thuggery) but rather highlighting a couple of points to ponder*

Yes there are pages on myspace...
..but are they adequate representations of the artists' work?
Are they comparible to the myspace (& other networking tools) marketing blitz's by their international (& even some SA {Planetary a**ault coming soon!}) peers?..

Are those even music pages?..
Can you hear tracks on those pages?..
Can you navigate from those pages to discover more about the artists??...
Can you order their material from those pages?...


As the president of the (un)official Zubz fanclub I take great pleasure in announcing the launch of the last letta's official music profile on myspace:

http://www.myspace.com/zubzthelastletta



Be sure to check out "a new Writers Club Mixtape Vol.1 track for download after every 200 downloads. After that, it's gonna disappear... Feel free to get the joints while u can. "

"Its the legend of the Golden Mic...Chimurenga IV make sure that its done right!"

98
Geek Section / WORLD WAR HULK
« on: July 16, 2007, 11:46:53 PM »
HULK SMASH THE ENTIRE PLANET!!! & any sissy-a** heroes that wanna act familiar!

Charles Xavier can get it:


Ben Grim too too:


& worst of all alcoholic conspiring a** Tony Starks (I really hate what he has become now):


Quote
Marvel's ma**ive summer smashfest begins! Exiled by a group of Marvel "heroes" to the savage alien planet of Sakaar, the Hulk raged, bled and conquered through the pages of last year's "Planet Hulk" epic, rising from slave to gladiator to king. Now the Hulk returns to Earth to wreak his terrible vengeance on Iron Man, Reed Richards, Dr. Strange and Black Bolt -- and anyone else who gets in his way. Stronger than ever, accompanied by his monstrous Warbound gladiator allies, and possessed by the fiercest and purest rage imaginable, the Hulk may just tear this stupid planet in half.


Whatup Deac?

99
General Discussion / Battle gone wrong
« on: July 16, 2007, 04:51:36 PM »
"Oh you mad coz I'm stylin on you"...
What does that even mean?..

Not to perpetuate violence or anything but

Imagine this happened to all fake wanna be perpertrating clone rappers



DAMN!

100
Hot Traxxx / DJ Dub - Common & Kanye - Native Sons: Style & Grace
« on: July 16, 2007, 09:04:57 AM »
Swiped:

Quote
"We got such a resounding response from the snippets posted, we are jumping the gun and letting this one out early...

Be sure to get ready for both Common & Kanye's new albums...both are going to be nothing short of amazing.

COMMON / KANYE WEST / DJ DUB
NATIVE SONS
STYLE & GRACE 3

Intro
Interlude 1
Bittersweet - Kanye West / John Mayer
The people (DUB mix) - common / nas / biggie
Finer Things - Cyssero / Kanye West / Ne-Yo
Interlude - kanye west
Can't tell me nothin (DUB mix) - kanye west / Young Jeezy
Gettin mine (DUB mix) - Common / jadakiss
Southside - common / kanye
Amusement park - Consequence
Interlude
Black Maybe - Common
Anything - Kanye West / Patti Labelle / Consequence / Mary Mary
The Light (DUB mix) - Common / Ghostface / Kweli
Stronger (DUB mix) - Kanye West / Jay-Z / Daft Punk
Interlude - kanye west
Dooinit (DUB mix) - Common
Consequence - Next stop hollywood
Kanye West / Lupe Fiasco / Pharell/Thom Yorke - us placers
Interlude - kanye west
The Game - Common
Wouldn't get far (dub mix) - The Game / Kanye West / Notorious BIG
Clockin My Style - Consequence
Interlude - kanye west
Grammy Family (DUBmix) - common / kanye west / consequence / john legend
Lily allen / kanye west - oh my god (urban legendz remix)
Consequence - don't forget em
Outro
Misunderstood - common


Be sure to buy, steal, download, copy this soon to be award-hopeful offering from DJ Dub.



http://www.sendspace.com/file/4stub7"


Don't forget ya manners now...

101
Hot Traxxx / Polyrhythm Addicts
« on: July 11, 2007, 10:04:02 AM »
DJ Spinna on production...



Shabaam Shadeeq;
Mr Complex;
Apani B Fly Emcee
& introducing...
Thai Phoenix.

Audio:
05-polyrhythm_addicts-reachin_feat._pharoahe_monch.mp3 - 6.48MB]Polyrhythm Addicts feat Pharoahe Monch - "Reachin"

Video:


Spinna makes good music + decent emceeing = Solid Album

102
Hot Traxxx / Funk Flex 90's Special
« on: July 07, 2007, 04:41:45 AM »
"Children come, sit, gather"..

Swiped:
Quote
...for july 4 evening flex spun all 90s all night....cla**ic ish. you forget that he is a real hip hop dude....

it was pretty cool. anyways, here's some links.... in part 4 listen for my shout out.

part 1 feat cipha sounds and mister cee

LINK REMOVED/audio/258347388c7662/

part 2 feat cipha sounds and mister cee

LINK REMOVED/audio/2583641e820fe3/

part 3 feat cipha sounds and peter rosenberg

LINK REMOVED/audio/2583795dacf7ef/

part 4 feat cipha sounds and peter rosenberg

LINK REMOVED/audio/25840245bc4bf9/


Boom Bap Resurrection!!!! (c) MrC (Not to be confused with the one on Hot97  :wink: )

103
Hip Hop Events / R.I.P. X-1 Onyx
« on: July 06, 2007, 06:45:16 AM »
R.I.P. X1 aka Sticky Fingaz's little brother from Onyx



http://allhiphop.com/blogs/news/archive/2007/07/05/18221025.aspx

Kid was nice on Shut Em Down Album:



http://LINK REMOVED/?d=7V50HV1E

104
Hot Traxxx / Movie Soundtracks
« on: June 26, 2007, 08:42:02 AM »
Lets talk movie soundtracks for a minute.

Remember when you'd get a hip hop movie soundtrack that would bump from start to finish better than most full album releases?

What are your favourite movie soundtracks?

Mine:

Above the Rim:


Sunset Park:


High School High:


New Jersey Drive:


The Show:

105
Media / Hip Hop Cancer Symptoms
« on: June 26, 2007, 12:53:13 AM »
Here is a good article from USAtoday highlighting the major symptoms killing hip hop:

Quote
http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/20...p-decline_N.htm

Can rap regain its crown?

By Steve Jones, USA TODAY

Not long ago, rap dominated album sales charts. Now, the music that has been a driving creative and commercial force in American culture is struggling to get its swagger back.

The music industry is suffering across-the-board drops in CD sales, but rap is in a steeper slide: This year, rap sales are down 33% from 2006, twice the decline for the industry overall, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Five years ago, Eminem's album The Eminem Show was atop the Billboard chart, on its way to becoming the runaway best-selling album that year, with 7.6 million copies. Since then, no rap album has sold as well.

Established rap stars no longer are sure things in sales. During the past nine months, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Diddy and Nas released albums, but only those by Jay-Z and Ludacris have sold at least 1 million copies in the USA, and only Diddy is still on the charts.

Rap's decline can be traced to a range of factors, including marketing strategies that have de-emphasized album sales in favor of selling less-lucrative single songs and short versions of those singles as ring tones for cellphones. But more important to the industry, there are signs that many music-buying Americans — particularly the young, largely white audience that can make a difference between modest and blockbuster sales — are tiring of rappers' emphasis on "gangsta" attitudes, explicit lyrics and tales of street life and conspicuous consumption.

Within the rap industry, there's a growing debate about whether years of rampant commercialism — Snoop Dogg now endorses Pony sneakers; 50 Cent peddles grape-flavored vitamin water — have drained credibility and creativity out of a once-vibrant genre of music. And there's concern that rap, also known as hip-hop, has reached an evolutionary plateau: After more than a quarter-century on the charts, it's no longer the radical newcomer.

Rap pioneer KRS-One, who just released Hip Hop Lives with fellow legend Marley Marl, offers a blunt explanation.

"The music is garbage," he says. "What has happened over the past few years is that we have traded art for money, simple and plain, and the public is not stupid."

Chuck Creekmur, co-founder of hip-hop news website Allhiphop.com, says rap once was known for creative storytelling and clever rhymes, but now is being undermined by a lack of both.

"A lot of these albums now are looking to duplicate the success" of whatever is hot at the moment, he says. "There is a lack of variety."

An industry force no more

Whatever's causing consumers to tune out, it's clear that rap no longer dominates the music industry. In 2006, rap sold 59.1 million albums, down 21% from 2005 and 27% from 2004. Sales are trailing those for country albums (75 million) and heavy metal (61.6 million) — genres that rap formerly overshadowed.

In 2006, for the first time in five years, no rap albums were among the year's 10 biggest sellers, a list led by the soundtrack to Disney's High School Musical, which sold 3.7 million copies. Compare that with 2003, when 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' ranked No. 1 with 6.5 million copies.

This year's top-selling albums thus far are by American Idol rocker Chris Daughtry's band and jazz chanteuse Norah Jones.

The rap industry is pinning hopes on 50 Cent's Curtis, due Sept. 4, and Kanye West's Graduation Day, expected in late August, as well as releases by Eminem and Dr. Dre that could arrive before the end of the year.

But those albums may not be enough to salvage the sales numbers for this year, and it's unclear whether 50 Cent or Eminem can match their past sales.

A genre is born

Hip-hop was born out of DJ-hosted block parties in the Bronx, N.Y., in the early 1970s and evolved with emcees "rapping" over the beats the DJs played.

The genre hit the Top 40 with the Sugar Hill Gang's Rapper's Delight in 1979.

Rap soon became, as Public Enemy's Chuck D described it, "the CNN of black culture," encompa**ing everything from party tales to political commentaries, especially from the view of poor and disaffected urban youths.

Rap found an audience not only in cities but in mostly white suburbs, as well.

By the 1990s, a harder-edged version of rap that glorified gang life began to dominate music and influence youth culture. Its songs and videos typically depict violence and drug dealers awash in diamonds and platinum jewelry, champagne and scantily clad women.

Rap became a multibillion-dollar-a-year global industry, influencing fashion, lifestyles and language while selling everything from SUVs to personal computers.

Rap's declining sales haven't escaped the attention of its kingpins. Declaring that hip-hop needed saving, Jay-Z ended a three-year retirement in November with his CD Kingdom Come, in which he essentially cast himself as Superman trying to save hip-hop.

A month later, Nas decried rap's lack of originality on his disc Hip HopIs Dead:

"Everybody sound the same, commercialize the game / Reminiscin' when it wasn't all business / They forgot where it started / So we all gather here for the dearly departed."

Rap may not be dead, but it's significantly weakened, in part by its own doing, music analysts say.

The industry's longtime strategy of pushing singles to sell albums has backfired in the digital age, says Felicia Palmer, president of 4Control Media and founder of the hip-hop news website SOHH.com.

Digital sales have outstripped CD sales, but not yet to a degree that compensates for the price difference between a 99-cent download and a $19.99 CD.

A just-released survey by the website found 82% of nearly 700 respondents are purchasing fewer albums than in previous years, and 67% acknowledge that they have illicitly downloaded albums rather than pay for them. One reason: 69% say they're "not inspired by many albums."

"People have gotten smart and know that (record companies) usually put out the two best singles, and the rest of the album is usually garbage," Palmer says.

Labels need to do more to help artists build their fan bases with promotional tours, which help consumers buy into the performer and not just a song, says Michael "Blue" Williams, who manages Outkast and other urban acts.

"People like hot music, but we are still not making artists who matter across the board," Williams says. "So while the labels are screaming that the sky is falling, they are trapped in their own vicious cycle of having to chase each single."

Promoting singles means getting favorable airplay, and that's more difficult now that hip-hop isn't the "only contemporary music that matters," as it was just a few years ago, says Sean Ross of Edison Media Research.

"Three years ago, you wouldn't have wanted to be a Top 40 station playing Bright Lights by (pop/rockers) Matchbox Twenty while your competitor was playing Get Low by (rapper) Lil Jon," Ross says.

"Now, Top 40 has Daughtry and Gwen Stefani, as well as a lot of quasi hip-hop from artists like Fergie and the Pussycat Dolls that, for some listeners, fill the same need as the real thing."

The real thing may no longer be real enough.

Glenn Peoples, founder and editor of music industry blog Coolfer.com, says: "A lot of people who used to listen to rap are now listening to rock. Rock is really strong right now."

'The public has made a choice'

Part of hip-hop's attraction has been the a**umed authenticity of its lyrics and artists, but now, many younger listeners "believe that so much of what the mainstream (rap) industry does is orchestrated," says Bakari Kitwana, author of the books The Hip Hop Generation and Why White Kids Love Hip Hop. "I don't think they have a lot of confidence in the music the industry is producing."

For years, increasing sales of rap albums effectively muted protests about some songs' promotion of misogyny, racism and violence. Now, dwindling receipts and fading interest in rap have provided what some in the industry see as an opportunity to rethink content.

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

The rising angst about rap lyrics was spotlighted this spring during the fallout over radio talk-show host Don Imus' smearing of the Rutgers University women's basketball team. Imus called team members "hos," then later noted in his defense that the word is commonly used in rap songs to describe women.

Soon after, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons called a meeting of music industry executives. His Hip-Hop Summit Action Network later recommended that the rap industry voluntarily delete or bleep out offensive terms for broadcast.

Such efforts have drawn mixed reactions from rappers.

Master P, who built his multimillion-dollar No Limit Records empire on gangsta rap in the '90s, announced plans to start a new label, Take A Stand Records, with his son Romeo. He says he has been part of the problem and now wants to be part of the solution with clean, positive music.

That idea was derided by 50 Cent, who said he has no intention of cleaning up his lyrics.

"Music is a mirror, and hip-hop is a reflection of the environment we grew up in," he said at a news conference.

"If I ask you to paint a picture of the American flag and not use the color red, you're going to have a difficult time."

A new business model

Content questions aside, rap faces the same challenge that has alarmed much of the music industry: how to adapt to the digital revolution.

"What we have to do is figure out what the new music business is," says Kevin Liles, executive vice president of Warner Music Group, home to artists such as DJ Quik, Lil Scrappy and E-40.

"There was a time when an artist like a Jay-Z or DMX or 50 Cent would sell 4 million or 5 million CDs. But there's a new climate. Artists like Young Jeezy might sell 2 million albums, but 6 million ring tones."

Recent sales by rap star Mims reflect the problems facing the industry. His single This Is Why I'm Hot has done well this year, selling 634,000 downloads and 1.9 million ring tones, the 2007 leader in ring tones so far. But the album that contains This Is Why I'm Hot hasn't been so hot, selling only 231,000 copies. Music Is My Savior is No. 100 on Billboard's albums chart 11 weeks after its release.

Rap's early stars, from Grandmaster Flash to Public Enemy and LL Cool J, "touched on humor, politics, ghetto life and realities they faced," says music consultant Tom Vickers. "Rap has gradually degenerated from an art form into a ring tone. It's a hip catchphrase or a musical riff with a short shelf life. It has a novelty element that captures the listener's imagination, but it's not a song. It won't build a career. That's why we're seeing this backlash."

To rebound, he says, "rap has to look at the bigger issues confronting society. There's only so much bling the public can take."

The upside for rap, Kitwana says, is that so much of it "remains off the mainstream radar. You never know when hip-hop is going to reinvent itself, or when something operating out on the fringe is going to emerge and become the next new thing."

Contributing: Edna Gundersen


What I am reading from this article is this in summary:

Minimalist Ringtone/ Single-driven artists are killing hip hop. In their quest to make the next big ringtone they dumbed down their music.

The consumer feels there is no longer any authenticity.

As a result quasi-hip hop acts like Fergie can be a close enough proxy to quench the mainstream "hip hop" thurst. Hey if anyone can make tin-can ringtone rap right?
So hip hop has been simplified to the point where any sub-urban dancing 16yr old white girl with the right marketing push can claim it...

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