(I'm not talking about Nas' album)
The Grammys are the worst award show of all the major award shows.
If you watch the Emmys or the Oscars or even the Tonys, the shit that wins or gets nominated is usually worth your time.
The vast majority of what receives recognition from the Grammy people is usually trash and the 2007 Grammy Awards are no different.
But the trash they nominate usually consists of a wide range of genres including rap.
Not this year.
The Grammy Awards are the Snitch of the Week for their snub of rap that calls out and confirms what everyone has largely known, that hip-hop is dead.
The L.A. Times explains...
- In the three decades since rap music grabbed the microphone and swaggered toward pop culture's center stage, it's been hotly debated whether it's the essential sound of youth and urban culture or just ugly noise masquerading as music. But nobody could argue that it was yesterday's news.
That changes today.
Nominations were announced Thursday for the 49th annual Grammy Awards and, for the first time in six years, no rap stars made it into any of the marquee categories such as album of the year or best new artist. Instead, the glory went to soulful singer Mary J. Blige (who led with eight nominations), the scarred rock survivors of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, British newcomer James Blunt and the Dixie Chicks, the latter nominated for album, record and song of the year.
Commercially, critically, spiritually, intellectually, hip-hop/rap whatever you want to call, it's a wrap.
Let's start with the most important aspect of hip-hop.
General music sales have decreased for the last few years and this year is no different, 2006 records sales are about 5% off 2005.
The kicker is that hip-hop's share of the pie is decreasing.
It's down to a little over 10% for 2006 from 12.2% in 2004 (PDF Link.)
In three of the last five years, a rapper finished No. 1 in the Nielsen SoundScan tally of the year's bestsellers. This year they didn't even come close.
And In 2007 rap's market share may drop to under 10%.
I couldn't be happier.
Who is taking the share?
First it's the singles and the ringtones business and secondly country music.
Even the white kids and the Tom Breihans of the world grow up, get tired of rap and move on.
From the LA Times again,
- Sixteen-year-old rapper Jibbs is an example. His debut album has sold a humble 126,000 copies since its release in October. But one sing-song track on the CD, "Chain Hang Low," an ode to diamond necklaces, has sold 1.4 million ringtones. Those sound clips, used to personalize cellphones, usually cost about $2 each.
"I don't know how it's doing now," Jibbs said of his CD sales total. "The game changed and it's something that everybody in the industry gotta deal with. Period. So why not be a part of the best thing happening now: ringtones."
Even Jibbs knows his album is trash. He just wants to sing for 30 seconds when your grandmother calls.
How seriously can rap be taken when more and more artists move away from making respectable, coherent albums and into making 30 seconds clips of Bubba Sparxxx type "Booty Booty Booty Rocking Everywhere" nonsense.
And as I said country music holds 3 of the top 10 as of 12/2/06.
1 HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL SOUNDTRACK 3,351,672
2 ME & MY GANG RASCAL FLATTS 2,892,780
3 SOME HEARTS CARRIE UNDERWOOD 2,248,095
4 ALL THE RIGHT REASONS NICKELBACK 2,160,766
5 BACK TO BEDLAM JAMES BLUNT 2,011,924
6 FUTURESEX/LOVESOUNDS JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE 1,808,255
7 TAKING THE LONG WAY DIXIE CHICKS 1,731,756
8 THE BREAKTHROUGH MARY J BLIGE 1,731,626
9 NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC! 21 VARIOUS ARTISTS 1,609,769
10 KING T.I. 1,552,839
The next rap artist after T.I. is the Black Eyed Peas, (if you consider that rap) 27 slots down the chart, whose album was released in 2005.
37 MONKEY BUSINESS BLACK EYED PEAS 963,077
Peep the Billboard Top Ten Hot Rap Tracks
1. Bow Wow - Shortie Like Mine
2. Jim Jones -Ballin'
3. Unk -Walk It Out
4. Ludacris - Moneymaker
5. Lil Scrappy - Money In the Bank
6. Lil Wayne/Birdman - Stunting Like My Daddy
7. Snoop Dogg- That's That Shit
8. Ludacris - Runaway Love
9. Fat Joe - Make it Rain
10. Young Jeezy - I Luv It
How many of those could you say are good rap songs?
Hip-hop always took pride in the fact that it exported "black culture" to the world and that it gave people a chance to rise above their surroundings who otherwise would not have that chance.
But peep this quote from Snoop,
- The 35-year-old father of three says he has no problem about his children getting involved with firearms and illegal substances too.
He added: "I have no worries about my kids. They have my money if they want it but I want them to face their own world.
"If drugs and guns are a part of that world, I know they can handle it. They get that from me. Every month or so I take them down to the hood, where I came from. They see what it's like."
This nigger, yes nigger, made it out of the hood and is trying to get his kids in the drug game?
Did he not see the season finale of the Wire last night?
Rap artists seem content to be wallowing more in their ignorance and stereotypes than examining them and trying to transcend.
Where is the relevant politcal rap?
Why do DJ's have to play KRS-One's 13 year-old "Black Cop" in response to the Sean Bell shooting?
Why is this Rakim video about the first Iraq War a more relevant statement about the 2nd Iraq than anything put out today?
What the fuck are rappers talking about today?
I'm not sitting here wishing for every rapper to talk about the Electoral College and the Iraq Study Group Report.
There are more than enough shitty underground rappers to remind anyone how boring ultra-political rap can be.
But not one of the Billboard Top Ten Rap Tracks is about a god damn thing and the rest aren't even entertaining in their ignorance.
Today's rappers have such a juvenile understanding of the world and live in such an isolated bubble that whenever they speak in public I cringe before they open their mouths. I remember when I was a foolish teenage Negro that was actually into hip-hop culture and being utterly embarrassed every single time a rapper appeared on Bill Maher's old ABC show "Politically Incorrect."
The rappers always went out of their way to seem like the little kid allowed to sit at the grown-ups dinner table.
And things haven't changed.
Pitchfork: What's your take on the state of the country and the current elections? Do you vote?
Nas: Not until [Barack] Obama runs…or even maybe when Ms. Clinton runs. Obama is an exciting cat.
Um, right Nas likes Hilary or something... Thanks for the nugget of wisdom.
Even the white rappers who carpetbagged their way to success on the back of rap music are leaving that shit behind.
Crap-Rockers Linkin Park are talking about making a prog-rock album.
And with all the name brand rapping blowing their loads (No Cash Money) in 4Q of 2006, 2007 will only get worse.
Until then, we can try to understand exactly how Pharell's "In My Mind' was nominated for Best Rap Album.
Rap Grammy Nominee List
Full Grammy Nominee List
Yahoo's Official Grammy List w/ Videos