Is Rap Losing Its Dominance?

Contributed anonymously:

Is the dominance of hip-hop on the charts coming to an end? A year ago such a possibility would have seemed unlikely as rap titles routinely held the majority of the positions in the upper reaches of the Billboard charts. Yet recently a change has been taking place in the mix as releases by rock groups and more traditional r-n-b singers have begun to gain wider popularity. This may be the result of radio discovering there is an still an audience for good rock in the wake of the recent success of U2 and Green Day or possibly the audience tiring of the banal posturing of much of hip-hop in the last few years.

A glance at the Billboard album charts for June 4, 2005 shows evidence of a change taking place. Of the top 20 titles, only two are by rappers (50 Cent, Memphis Bleek). Rock groups with titles in the top 20 are System of a Down, Dave Matthews Band, Weezer, Def Leppard (yes, that Def Leppard), Nine Inch Nails, and The Killers. Pop and pop/rock titles in the top 20 are the American Idol season 4 album and titles by Rob Thomas, Kelly Clarkson, and Mile Jones. R-n-b and pop/r-n-b titles in the top 20 are by , Kem, Gwen Stefani, and Natalie. There are three country titles by Toby Keith, Cowboy Troy, and Rascal Flatts. A collection of hits by various artists rounds out the top 20.

While hip-hop is more successful in the Top 20 singles, it is mainly due to one artist (50 Cent). Even here, there is a broad range of musical styles at the to with Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas, Rob Thomas, The Killers, 3 Doors Down, Green Day, and the Backstreet Boys all represented. Other than 50 Cent, the hot item at the moment is Kelly Clarkson with “Since U Been Gone” (#7) and “Behind these Hazel Eyes” (#8) in the top 10 and “Breakaway” (#40) still in the top 40 after 41 weeks on the charts. “Breakaway” and “Since U Been Gone” were back-to-back singles with sales over 2 million each in the U.S. alone – an almost unheard of feat these days.

What does all this mean? Well I am not predicting the fall of hip-hop but I am suggesting it will no longer have a stranglehold on the charts. As it became dominant, the lack of variety made it seem rather stale. The one great strength of pop music is that it can assimilate anything. Just as when disco lost popularity but had its signature features incorporated in the dance pop of Madonna, Janet, and others, so you see elements of hip-hop mainstreamed into pop music. The more creative hip-hop artists (e.g., Outkast) will continue to have an audience as well as lesser talents who have good commercial sensibilities (e.g., Eminem, 50 Cent). But the days of interchangeable rappers dominating the charts is likely coming to an end.

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2 thoughts on “Is Rap Losing Its Dominance?

  1. dennis says:

    Rap and hip hop and yes ,R&B is losing it’s place in America as the dominant musical force.this is evident partly by the number of rock acts(white)as seen so often now days on the late night talk shows.groups like green day and others have gained tremendous ground as other bands have also come to the forefront of the musical spotlight in the USA.Most of these bands have released albums in which the tracks on each are not only distinguishable from one another,but are attractive tunes as well(unlike rap and hip hop which relies more on beat,bass,repetition and often times negative or rebellious lyrics).If one listens to rap music via the radio,what’s noticeable right off is the fact that most rap songs have near the same beat or tempo and the only thing differing one song from another are the lyrics and maybe some added electronics or maybe a slightly different change in tempo somewhere mid song. Rock music is a more versatile type of can be stretched and bent and totally worked with in a way that each track on a 12 track CD, can sound different from the last and even be very listenable.rap and hip hop just don’t have that huge advantage.Not only is rock(usually thought of as a ‘white’ based style of music)coming back into dominance in the USA,but television programming has made strong “white” comebacks into the industry.2009 is the definitely the first year of what I’d call the return of white TV. Very few black programs are due out this fall and few are running now in’s interesting to look over the TV guide each week.white,white ,white with a few token black prime time bombs ….the few black programs slated for the fall season are only typical of fall season programming of the past and are sure to be bomb.and I mean the bad kind of bomb..duds..fizzling out sooner than later,while the white programs surpass anything else on home to the finish line.i know I probably sound happy about all of this..and I am.

  2. Izo says:

    Lol @ Dennis turning this into a white vs black thing. Fail. If rap loses dominance I’m sure you can expect a new “Hendrix” rise up eventually. I don’t see how race plays an important factor when it comes to music especially when the highest selling artist of all time were beyond the race wars. Sure you can generalize but in the end, you’re wrong.

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