Disclaimer: This article is strictly based on opinions. You are entitled to your own opinion on this subject matter.
Location: Any club in America, Time: 12:51a.m, It's going down. "Let me get more some bottles to the vip!" , "Girl you see his chain?", I know, look at that watch! "More bottles to the vip please!!! The Dj got the club rocking, all the ladies are looking good, security is on the dancefloor getting loose, camera phones out everywhere, CRACK!!!, you hear glass shattering and see everyone running toward the door.
Location: Same club in America, Time 12:51a.m, These drinks too much, and these girls aint talking bout nothing. "Ole boy keep ordering bottles", I see him, icy and all that, I don't even know this dude. "Man you can't even get a drink all these servers bopping on ole boy, and security hate every time we fire up". The Dj drops Lollipop for the fifth time tonight. "And he looking just like one", CRACK!!!, let me get that!", you see the glass hit the floor and run out the door with everyone else.
A nice chain may get you a few extra looks from the ladies, but it also will get you a few extra looks from the jackboys. I'm not saying it's right, just saying it's real. There are two sides to every story, and if you've been doing your thang you may or may not have noticed but we are definitely in a recession, and it won't be fixed with a rebate check. We've lost thousands of jobs to overseaes markets, the gas price has nearly doubled in the past two years,(and with China and India growing don't look forward to much better) almost all retail businesses are seeing decreases in sales (so they won't be hiring) along with inflation, thousands of home being foreclosed, and a weak dollar internationally. Pawn shops are eating real good right about now. People are working extra jobs to take care of their family, staying at home more, it's really hampering our social life and our youth, something you may notice a little further down the road.
So, what does this mean for hip hop?
At first look one would assume this means doom for hip hop sales, with the decrease in sales over the years and the "drought" on good music coinciding at the same time, but the depression has had the exact opposite effect on the game, actually jump starting a trend of more album sales that I believe will continue. Wayne sold a million albums in a week, and it's probraly not his best album. I don't think we're going to see numbers like this from everyone but it at least shows that numbers have stop plummiting, and we're back on the way up the sales charts. Are you more or less likely to buy a cd today?, less likely to take a chance on someone unproven but more likely to support your favorite artist. The recession has served as a filter, and with tight pockets only the neccesary gets through. More conceptual albums, (Lupe "The Cool", Nas "Nigga", Jay-Z " American Gangsta", Jeezy, The Recession", etc...) are hitting the market giving fans a shot at a cd with more than three or four songs, an actual reason to buy an album. Nothing against dance music but it's proven to be great for ringtones and terrible for albums, and with those singles dominating the billboards of course hip hop seems on the decline because who wants a whole album of that?
The recession has also forced rappers back to the basics. If I'm struggling for gas to get back and forth from work, I'm not investing ten dollars into a cd where you only talk about how you fly jets, how much more money you have than me, or your car that cost more than I'll make this year. It also has forced people to come together to survive on all levels. We're seeing more company mergers, carpooling, roomates, etc... This unification created helps us support our own a lot more, especially our own music, leaving the haters shining brighter than ever, lol . Also encouraging are the consistent numbers being dropped by some of the sophmore class (Ross, Lupe, Plies, Game, etc.) in mainstreem rap. Jay-Z's performance at Glanstonbury was historic and shows hip hop's global appeal is increasing, and how many other avenues there are for making money with your music. Aside from album sales, ringtones, shows, films, and many other business ventures made available by your status have catapulted today's rapper to heights that were never dreamed of back in early hip hop, so judging the state of the game by just album sales is stupid. Making money is also not an excuse for terrible music, there's a market for rubber sh*t, so if you're a hustler you should do well, but being a hustler isn't gonna give you a pass for a lackluster album. The recession has humbled many rappers and allowed them to be more relative to the average person, and that connection is and will continue to send more people to the store to buy REAL albums, and not just real cd cases.