“I think it’s pretty evident – and everybody says it – that hip-hop is definitely not as good as it once was. It’s sort of like disco was. “There was a time when disco was the s**t and Steve Rubell had Studio 54. But the minute you heard Disco Duck by Rick Dees, that was the telltale sign that disco was over. I think that if hip-hop continues on the path that it seems like it’s going down, then it looks like it’s not going to hold up.”

That’s the way Q-Tip phrases it. And I have to agree. Hip hop, at least a lot of the popular form of it, is not nearly as good as it once was.

Still, it’s tragic that Q-Tip is joining the seemingly endless parade of artists who claim hip hop is dying. It doesn’t really help the cause that much, and may just ensure it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think there is enough new talent out there to keep hip hop from going the way of disco, but not without some effort. So some of the more underground artists out there will need support to get their music out. That is the only panacea for hip hop.

I can’t bring myself to say that hip hop is dead. I just can’t. Not when so many new amazing artists keep popping out of these underground scenes. With Mos Def and Common still making music. In fact, I’d say hip hop is becoming admirably international as time goes on.

Perhaps hip hop is dying in the pop sense. Maybe it’s true what Billboard claims, that hip hop sales have declined 40% since 2000. Still, maybe that’s a good thing for the art form. Maybe this will push it back to the streets, get things back to the roots and away from musical trainwrecks like the G-Unit.

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