When rap came out 30 years ago I thought it was just a fad

Now it seems like it dominates the music industry, movies and fashion. My only question is why?

Unfortunately, there exists more "thugs" than decent people in these troubles times.
My question to you is. Were they thugs before rap or did rap make them thugs?

Taters .... Our very own audiophile philosopher.  You stay awake nights thinking up all these questions you ask?  Will you reach audio enlightenment?  I wish you the best of luck.  As for Rap, you know, it's kind of like Jazz.  Would it last?  To everyone's amazement it did, but why?  Hmmm, maybe just because I don't get it doesn't mean no one else does.  Matter of fact a whole lot of other people do get it, so it must be successful despite me.  Who'd of figured?  As for the thugs, they have been with humanity since the dawn of time.  Didn't you take history? 
Sorry to be a smart ass, the target was just to big to miss.  
There is a big difference to me. Jazz has lasted in a small niche way and I am happy for that. I don't remember it dominating fashion or the movie or music business like Rap has. So I ask the same question I asked before. Why?


Why ask why?
If you're comparing Rap to Jazz, 80s and 90s Rap music was free-form, inventive, improvisational. There was a similar niche market.
But now it's a formula like Pop music, it's mass produced for the younger generation and along with that comes the fashion so your kid can look like his favorite thug. IMO, this mass-marketed formula not only includes music that sounds the same, but all Rap artists now look the same.

I can understand how Rap music and it's fashion is so popular, due to some very smart marketing people, but I cannot understand how Hollywood and celebrities embraced it.

Why? Why not?! My generation (the 60's) embraced first "Frat" Rock (The Beach Boys, The Ventures, Paul Revere & The Raiders, etc.), then British Invasion, both the 1st wave (Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals, Yardbirds, etc.) and 2nd (Cream, Hendrix---though American, he was perceived as British, Led Zeppelin, Traffic). Why? The 50's generation liked Jazz, Pop vocalists, the original Rock n' Roll. Why? In the early 70's singer/songwriters (Carole King, James Taylor, Elton John, many others) ruled, and Progressive Rock was hugely popular. Why? The mid-to-late 70's saw the rise of the "anti-Prog Rock" Punk movement spearheaded by, it can be argued, The Ramones (though The MC5 and The Stooges inspired them). The early 80's was the era of Corporate Rock (name your poison ;-) and, for the trendier, New Wave. Why? The late 80's were owned by the Sunset Strip hair bands/Arena Rock "acts". Why? The 90's saw Alternative (REM, all the other "College Radio" bands) become THE music to like. Why? And then, every once in a while an Artist comes along who endures for decades---Dylan, Tom Petty, Springsteen.

Pop music is largely just fashion, no different than clothes or hair styles. How then can Rap have stay popular for so long, defying the normal rules of fashion? A person or people who don't like Rap (I have a feeling that's most Audiogoners) is/are the wrong one/s to ask. One may as well ask why jeans have been fashionable for so long. Pre-50's men did not wear jeans, sporting khaki's and slacks their entire lives. Post-50's guys rarely wear anything but jeans.

Unlike the examples in the above musical timeline, Rap didn't replace anything---it is it's own genre. It may be thought of as younger peoples Blues, which it is somewhat similar to. As with Rap, Blues was originally criticized (by white America, of course, for whom it was neither created nor intended, but also by Baptist Preachers) for it's crude/vulgar lyrics, repetitive musical structure, lack of melody, and general unlistenability, just as was 50's Rock n' Roll by the Big Band generation. That generation couldn't understand how the following one could like the music it did; I know 60's guys who continue to piss and moan about how music nowadays is no good, they not being able to accept the fact that "their" music (The Beatles in particular, it seems) is no longer being made (it is, but only on a cult level), or popular the masses. Why should they expect it to be? That is no different than their WWII parents bemoaning the death of the Big Bands. We had our time---it's now "theirs"!   

"We had our time now it's theirs"

I understood what you are saying and I agree with you. The problem is it is just not a phase like other music. It has taken over our society like a terminal disease. You can't go see a movie nowadays that Isn't playing rap in the movie or at the end of a movie. Even the mainstream department stores carry hip hop clothing. You even see rap-hip hop themes in commercials. Yes, everyone has their turn and I understand that. The problem is the rap culture is like a relative that has overstayed there visit. 

I couldn't agree with you more taters. I myself am one who finds Rap not merely unlistenable, but unbearable. When heard, I do everything in my power to get as far away from the sound source as possible. I not only can't answer why it has stayed popular as long as it had, I can't fathom how it can be liked in the first place. But I am about as far from Rap's target audience as you can get. You too taters, apparently!
Rap caters to the lowest common denominator. Just like the Jerry Springer show and the Kardashians. And I despise all 3.
I have no doubt that Rap is viewed in certain circles as merely the current phase in the continuing downward spiral of Western Civilization, the dumbing down of humanity. Rock n' Roll was certainly viewed thusly in the mid-50's by the WWII generation, and I've read that intellectuals in the 20's felt the same way about early Jazz. I'm thinking every generation views the following one in that way. And it may be true---no music that followed J.S. Bach is as good as his ;-)! 
I take a much simpler view on this.  Rap occupies the same place with our culture today, that rock did 45 years ago (I am 58 now).  As I think to myself when I see most of what is around today (be it clothes, fashion, music, etc.) ... we had our time at the plate, now it is time to step left.

Rap will pass as the sound of the masses 20 years or so from now, just like rock has past for the most part.  Many baby boomers just have a hard time accepting that rap is as big as rock was.  

My mom passed away 3 years ago at age 90.  During her last year, I spent most every day either with her in the nursing home section of the hospital or in the hospice we set up in her apartment.  When the patients had lunch in the lunchroom, the staff piped in big band music from the 40's.  It will be no different for us ... just not sure how I will feel about the Stones in 2046 ... hope they don't play any Bon Jovi.

Happy New Year!  Grease for Peace!

I think it's the sworn duty of every generation to annoy the generation that came before them.

I'm 58. My parents couldn't stand "my" music when I was growing up (Ten Years After, Deep Purple, Santana, The Who, Allman Bros, et al.) I loathed my father's classical, big band, and chamber music, although I've come around a bit since.

I view rap/hip-hop the same way we've all felt about "our" music; as the voice of the current generation. Were we not rebelling against current convention by turning it up loud, growing our hair long, and dressing shabby? Today's hip-hop is the current generation's street music, blooming from the frustration and anger they feel due to their conditions. (I suppose. I'm no expert on this.) For many of them, music is a way up and out, an opportunity to be seen and, possibly, to make a fortune.

I don't get hip-hop. I don't appreciate it at all. I think it's all crap. But I understand where it comes from. Now, if it would just go away. Not likely, though.
Hmmm...interesting discourse here. 

As as I was re-alphabetizing my vinyl collection recently I came across Public Enemy's "Fear Of a Black Planet" and two Beastie Boys releases- the debut album and "Paul's Boutique."  Conspicuous by their absence are any newer releases in the category, perhaps because I don't listen to radio all that much, perhaps because the more current stuff is virtually without merit. 
The same can be said for most popular music in general; it's pretty boring. 

BUT...I'm not a youngster anymore. My parents did not like Led Zeppelin, The Stones, etc. etc. etc, and so on.  That was probably a part of the attraction!

I didn't listen to or really know about jazz until I heard Blue Rondo Ala Turk one day. 
Kapowie!  My music collection prior to hearing that had been virtually 100% classic rock and r&b, now it's more like 60/40 jazz to classic rock. People can change is what I'm saying. 

The next musical wave?  Whaling songs!
The biggest problem I have with RAP/Hip Hop isn’t that it’s for the most part bad music, it’s just so booring. I’ve actually heard some cuts over the years that I rather like, when it actually integrates decent music to clever lyrics with that rhyming and timing.

I am of the opinion that good music, that which has a timeless appeal that transcends generations and cultures, has always been rather rare. Pop/secular music has always been, in Western culture at least, a reflection of what is going on in society. RAP generally reminds me that things aren’t going so well , a selfish, disrespect that is SO prevalent in many of the banal lyrics. All things must past and so will RAP evolve or be replaced. I agree, it’s gone on way too long unfortunately.
I don't think most of it (rap) is even music.  I feel the same about a lot of the modern classical compositions I was forced to study in college.  Comparing either to real music is akin to comparing that orange-colored chemical crap they put in Pixy Stix to taking a bite of a slice of an actual orange.
Interesting topic.

First, while what I am about to say may suggest otherwise, I am not a fan of Rap music. Which is to say that I rarely choose to listen to it, much as I rarely choose to listen to Opera.

And while I can understand the visceral dislike that some people feel towards it, I find the dismissive talk to be ironic. Why? Because the dismissive reactions are, by and large, reflexive, and not thoughtful.

In order to seriously discuss Rap, I believe that it is crucial to venture beyond the aesthetics of the genre, though there is arguably a very broad spectrum in that regard.

While I am not anything like an expert, I don’t think that there is any doubt that Rap is an important form of expression. The rawness, beat-centric nature, openness (in terms of lyrics), de-emphasis of melody, etc., are all reflections, in my view, of the world from which its progenitors came, and related anger and frustration that has been simmering for a long, long time.

Of course the work of every artist and musician is, to some extent, informed by their environment, but the inner city in the U.S. has been particularly toxic to those who grow up there.

This isn’t meant as an excuse for rude lyrics, or misogyny, etc., but at the same time there are plenty of Rap artists who have meaningful things to say, and the fact that the public’s appetite for their music has grown so remarkably confirms this.

Finally, for now, I’ll contribute this interesting, brief essay from 2009, from Bernard Chazelle, Professor of Computer Science at Princeton:

Bring the Noise

Public Enemy’s political voice may have obscured the enduring brilliance of their work. It’s been 21 years since the release of "It Takes a Nation" and it’s hard to believe how fresh, innovative, and emotionally powerful that album still sounds. The raw energy of Chuck D’s booming voice, trading rhymes with Flavor Flav, is channeled through a layered mix of swirling scratches, quick beats, and funky James-Brown samplings. It’s only when you listen to the old masters like PE and Run-DMC that you realize how much the current generation (Kanye and the rest) are in their debt. And, who knows, perhaps gangsta rap will even prove to be a short-lived commercial aberration.

You may know Chuck D from his Air America radio show and perhaps less from his status as one of rap’s great MCs, along with 2Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, etc. The "noise" in the title is what the pop world thought of hip-hop in the early days. Chuck D welcomes the slur. Yes it is "noise," he is rapping, our kind of noise, and if you don’t like it, tough. As in much of black music, of course, there is an underground "elitism" there meant to shoo away the white establishment. The "noise" played the same gatekeeping function as the jarring harmonies, forbidding virtuosity, and asymmetric rhythm of bebop did 40 years earlier. It didn’t help matters that Seamus Heaney (a poet I admire enormously) praised the poetic power of hip-hop. Heaney was right, of course, but to declare hip-hop safe for the establishment was the last thing hip-hop needed. (Everyone was probably too busy listening to Britney to hear Heaney.)

Some quick historical perspective. In my view, one pop figure dominates, nah, towers over everyone else. Nothing the Brits did comes anywhere close. Same with Elvis. No one can claim his musical breadth, creativity, and influence. That person, of course, is James Brown. And yet there was always something missing. Brown was always so far ahead of everyone else he ended up talking to himself. And you can’t formalize a new language when you only talk to yourself. Hip-hop is Brown’s legacy as an autonomous musical genre, its culmination if you will. It’s a genre that never ceases to amaze me. It’s not musical in the traditional sense of the word. But there’s an emotional intensity to it, a rhythmic richness, and a verbal brilliance that have no equivalent in pop music. I love it."

Rap is a form of rock and roll.  Go back and listen to Chuck Berry or 60's era Dylan.

When Buddy Holly broke nationwide he opined that the rock phenomena might last a year or two.  Little did he know what the future would hold.

I think Neil Young had insight:

"My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It's better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my."

Some people just can't see the true picture.
Rap is not a form of rock and roll--it is rope-skipping rhymes set to a beat.

And, Whipsaw, my thoughts are not reflexive.  I have been listening to this music for over 30 years and have thought about it a lot.  I just don't think there's a lot to say about it.  
You’ve been thinking about Rap music for 30 years, and this is your conclusion?

I don’t think most of it (rap) is even music. I feel the same about a lot of the modern classical compositions I was forced to study in college. Comparing either to real music is akin to comparing that orange-colored chemical crap they put in Pixy Stix to taking a bite of a slice of an actual orange.

Really? Sorry to be harsh, but I would frankly expect a deeper opinion after 30 minutes of thought.

To be clear, I’m not asking you – or anyone – to LIKE the music. But if you are going dismiss it so thoroughly, at least provide a reason beyond "yuck!".

TostadosUnidos offered: "Rap is not a form of rock and roll--it is rope-skipping rhymes set to a beat."

Perfect description if ever I saw one.  IMHO, Rap is "music" for the lazy and uncultured.  Think about it, what does it take to put together a Rap group and start churning out "songs"?  The answer?  All it takes is a few guys getting together with some microphones and a recording device.  There is NO need to devote any time to leaning how to play an instrument well and with learning how to integrate your playing with the rest of the band members.  You can put the whole thing together in an afternoon and then load it up to YouTube for distribution/consumption.  This is the sad byproduct of our instant gratification culture.

I'd be willing to bet that upwards of 95% of rappers cannot play *any* instrument at all.  The really sad part is that most of today's "music" buyers are willing to shell out hard-earned dough for this lame garbage. 

I really don't blame the rappers, I blame the lazy ass, baggy pants wearing public (mostly white, BTW) for supporting this garbage for nigh on 30 years now.  I cool guarantee you that 20 years from now Rap will be seen as nothing more than a nasty pothole on the road to musical excellence.

The one question that has never been answered to my satisfaction is where *do* you go to buy those baseball caps with the brims on the side?  Every one I've ever seen always has the brim in the front.  I must be shopping at the wrong stores....

Old white guys whining about rap again??? Look like any other music form there are good examples and bad. Check out Galactic "From the Corner to the Block" for some well done modern rap integrated with jazz, blues, and funk. And yes I am an old white guy myself I just try to keep an open mind.

I like rap under the right circumstances. It really works in film like chase scenes, fights, etc. -very exciting.

I think a reason it prevails is that no one has created a replacement music form. Also, rap songs usually have a well defined message i.e., it is about something the listener cares about (whatever that may be).

Finally, watch the movie "Myra Breckenridge" from 1970 and see Mae West (related to kanye?)  doing the first known rap performance!

This makes rap 46 years old -not 30... (hey kids! Why are you listening to "old fashion" music? C'mon, invent something of your own!).

 I really liked Run DMC,  and SOME of PEs early works, some real honest social commentary  but this was before RAP decidedly took a wrong turn with the likes of 2 Live Crew and their pornographic obscene objectifying of women, one of the original gangsta rappers. Didn't know who they were at the time but when I was visiting a job site and one of my workers was playing it through his boom box at higher than acceptable dbs, that is for all those that might object to that garbage to hear and with legitimate reason. The young man, who really was clueless and really a nice kid had to be told that not everyone was digging the rhymes as much as he was. THIS was my first negative impression of RAP aside from some of the talented groups that have come since, Black Eyed Peas? Kanye West epitomizes everything I distain about the RAP culture aside from whatever talent he exhibits.To publicly do what he shamelessly did to a fellow artist on a nationally televised major music award show,with his prestige demonstrates that SOMETHING is wrong either with him or the fact that he feels entitled to do it.

I was thinking about this, I always thought of Run DMC as the "first" rap group that I could clearly identify as RAP artists. Then it occurred to me that maybe it was THIS artist, maybe with a bit less funk.


I think low rider pretty much nailed it!
typical formula:
inner city "club" format that crosses over,then adopted by the suburban kids and then the ad companies swoop in and extend it beyond any real musical influence it ever had !

Rap is NOT Music!

And stay off my lawn...

I guess it's easy to criticize any form of music. I don't like Rap but I also don't like Opera, Big Band, Punk (with a few exceptions), Pop, Avant Garde or experimental Jazz, Middle Eastern, Country.....the list goes on. While my tastes gravitate more toward rock and roll, I own and enjoy many different genres of music including Rock, Folk, World, Jazz, Blues and Electronic.  For me, I don't look (that's an interesting term because we can't actually see it can we?) at music in terms of its category but rather how it's constructed, the presentation by the artist, its creativity, the feeling that it comes from the artists soul and overall sound. I'm not a big Jazz fan but I think Patricia Barber is one of the most talented artists on the planet. I really enjoy her music and respect the musicianship of her band members. At the same time I do not like certain instruments such as trumpet (sorry Miles Davis fans) it just comes across as too "blarry" to me. Give me a smooth sax any day.

So the point here is that while there are many different genres of music there are just as many individual tastes and it's not for me to judge others tastes. Just as I don't understand how people like Rap, I equally don't get how people can enjoy Country or Opera. (Interestingly, I saw Phantom of the Opera and really enjoyed it. It is not classical Opera however.) So in regards to Rap, while my thoughts mostly align with other comments made here, it does have its audience. It just doesn't have mine.
Remember Blondie's Rapture? As a white kid growing up in the country, that was my first exposure to rap. Up until that point, I didn't even know it existed. When we first heard that song, we were thinking "What the hell is all the talking for? She's not even singing anymore." We thought she had lost her voice and was disguising it by using a delivery method that didn't require the ability to hit and hold notes.

Rap to me is street poetry. It can be artful or awful. It can combine real music done with real talent, or not.

The one thing about it that that makes it very popular is that, like video games, it can be picked up and performed by the completely talentless. It doesn't even require a real band, so it is much easier to create and sell. It's perfect for movies because you don't have to pay a real composer for a real score and then pay a producer to hire an orchestra to play it, record it, master it, etc. Think of the soundtrack overhead of the 50s and 60s. All the overhead that used to go to paying for real music can now go to promotion. Puff someone up with a cool name, cool clothes and a fake persona, shout a bad poem in time to the synthesized beat and you're in business. All you need is someone delusional enough to perform and not realize that they really suck, and there are plenty of them. They all want to believe they are special. That's what young narcissistic people do and now they have an avenue to do it that doesn't require actually singing a note.

It's really pretty brilliant. It's modern marketing through and through: Make crap, sell it for the same or higher price and pocket the difference.
Whipsaw, there's a lot of music that I don't like.  But I don't say that it's not music.  I simply don't believe rap possesses the melodic element required.  If you're not going to have the melodic or harmonic element you'd better have some pretty interesting rhythm happening. 
If a "beat" poet recites with bongos accompanying, is that music or just a guy reciting poetry with percussion behind it?  Isn't that  essentially what rap is?
BTW,  again you insult my power of reasoning.  Why?  It certainly doesn't help your case.  I've heard rap as long as it's been around.  I keep listening and I keep thinking.  Again, the fact that I don't care for it is not the reason I don't think it qualifies as music.  You're jumping to conclusions.
Tostadosunidos, to say that rap isn't part of rock and roll is historically incorrect.
I appreciate all the interesting comments on this thread. When someone said that 95% of the rappers can't play an Instrument that really summed it up for me. Rap to me is like Porn. It's the easiest way to get your 15 minutes of fame.
onhwy61, I think rap is part of rock and roll tangentially--certain rock songs have rap elements. And what all is rock and roll? Is disco rock and roll? Is Motown rock and roll? I don’t even think a lot of the Beatles’ catalog is rock and roll--certainly a lot of it is. And of course there’s a lot of material that could be argued either way. I’m personally baffled by some of the people voted into the rock and roll hall of fame--not because they are not great artists, but because they didn’t play rock and roll or weren’t part of the pre-rock influences. Which is different from thinking someone doesn’t belong there because of the value of their music.

Kids are going to like what they like. I’m not sure that the people who enjoy rap now will still be listening to it when they are 60 though.

I think our culture in the US has been on a downward slide for some time and this is reflected in music, movies, tv and politicians. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of good people and a lot of good culture being created here, some of it in the rap/hip-hop genre, it’s just that the bad is growing at an alarming rate.

bdp24, Jimi Hendrix was entirely American. Born here, lived here and served in the US Army. A couple of Brits signed him to a lousy management contract and worked him too hard, and his British friends let him die instead of calling an ambulance, but that doesn’t make him British in any way.

Wow read this thread.  I grew up in the midst of it.  I guess some people think of rap as a thug genre. It's not.  I remember the wordplay and creativity that was involved.  It's a shame that all people see now is that side of it. The Internet and the monopolizing of local radio stations has been terrible for true hip hop. The Heavy D's and Chubb Rock's of the would have a hard time.  I was listening to LL Cool J aThe other day and Early Run DMC and I smiled. Google a picture of Rick Rubin. He was a long haired hip hop loving white guy but he had a vision and produced tracks with rock overtones with a street feel. Pure entrepreneurs on a street level. Sometimes people are limited by what they are exposed to.  I'm not going to look at Rock music and say they are just a bunch of dopers. I respect all musical genres. Today's rap has its own sub genre that I don't actually like but it is what it is. Russel Simmons half a billion dollars. Dr Dre a billion dollar deal.  Jay Z half a billion dollar deal.  I think today's rap has been dumbed down but I think you can't put all rap or hip hop in the same boat. Our education system or lack of a successful one plays a part.  Low vocabulary and limited life experience and exposure sums up most rap that the general public knows about. I listen to rock country jazz classical pop. It all has its good and bad. I'm a heavy jazz guy. Enjoy all. 
I don't listen much to rap. Almost none at home. To me, it requires the least degree of musical talent of any form of music that I know of.  You don't have to have enough talent to sing a song. You don't have to play an instrument. Those talents are the hallmarks of music to me.
But there is a talent that involves a musical aptitude in "rapping" with, around and between beats and in choosing the right samples. Also, the thickness, tone and timbre of the rapper's voice can serve the song.  Most rap songs that I can tolerate have a hooky sung chorus--so, in that regard, those songs incorporate aspects of music with which I can identify. On the other hand, I like working out to some rap due to the beats I use to push my workout forward. As much as I don't consider most rap as good music--I'd rather listen to most rap over, say, Bon Jovi or others of the bathetic rock genre. 
Jimmy Fallon's house band "The Roots" rap group/band.  The public now craves it and the Internet has evolved to help the dumbing down of culture period.  I'm a jazz guy who listens to Harold Mabern ,Ahmad Jamal, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dave Holland, Miguel Zenon, Dave Brubeck quartet, Mulgrew miller, etc. etc.  great musicians that I enjoy.  Oh must I not forget lightnin Hopkins! Sign of the times. Today's music at times is mind numbing not just rap!

Some of you are horrible people.

I am not a Bon jovi fan by any means. But I would rather listen to him than rap any day of the week.

You are right. Rap is not the only culprit.

Hmmm, to summarize RAP isn't music (rhythm and poetry), boring, demeaning to many including women, and you don't need any musical talent.  Only Dr. Seuss lyrics required.
"Some of you are horrible people"

Actually the people on this website are pretty civil. If you want to see horrible people check out some of the other audio related websites. I won't mention any names here but it will not take you to long to figure out who I am talking about.

Great topic.

Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" is a rap song.  IMO

I don't "get" a lot of rap music. Yet when I think about it, there's plenty of rock, jazz, pop, and classical music I don't "get" either.  Rap isn't the music I'd put on when I've invited an attractive lovely into my mancave but when I need a dose of courage or fortitude to kick start my mojo, rap can work quite nicely. 

To each his own I guess.

"When Rap came out 30 years ago I thought it was just a fad."
Wishful thinking.
most rap has less than 5 letters in the words now. I'm an old school hiphop head. big daddy kane, rakim etc. Groups like whodini were the first rap group to record in dolby stereos in europe. it had the best wordplay and beats. A tribe Called quest had a movie that michael rappaport produced. They mixed jazz with hip hop. Guru did jazzmztazz.Those were great rappers. This OOH OOH OOH crap is not it for me please dont lumo now with my rap era
Someone earlier said that Rap took a wrong turn and I agree.  I was listening to this style of music since the term "Rap Music" was coined as a genre. For me, it goes back to 1980ish with The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Anybody who's heard their song "The Message" knows what real Rap is about. These were a group of young Black men from the South Bronx with a social and political message about growing up on the mean streets.

For close to two decades, groups with a message such as Public Enemy, NWO, Run DMC (who were more tongue in cheek), Kool Moe Dee, Salt-n-Pepa, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Tupac in the 90s and so many others produced rhythmic and lyrical music. Some were political/social statements and some were just fun.
(and I'll agree that James Brown was the king).

Then came a generation of self-indulgent, "me generation" types and I can't explain how the music and the business changed except for the greed of the "artists" and their management, and the record labels.
The "formula" I mentioned earlier was created and the mass producing of music and music videos (everyone featuring big booties and the Hip-Hop stars living the good life while still being a thug and maintaining "street-cred") flooded the market. This formula includes a "one style fits all" type of Rap/Hip-Hop with heavy Auto Tune as a major part of the track. Only a handful of today's artists have anything to say; most songs are about being a thug, tapping that ass, bragging about sexual prowess and wealth.

And as mentioned earlier, it's mostly young White men and teens who are spending the money supporting this genre. Look at how many suburban HS kids dress the part and show no respect for women.

One note on Rap and Hip-Hop artists having no musical ability, I'd have to agree when talking about today's Rap. When this criticism arose back in the day, the Beastie Boys started to appear live playing their own instruments, which caused other Rap groups to tour with live instruments.
tomcy6---I'm aware of all you said. But, Jimi went over to England as an unknown, where he was heard by Chas Chandler (bassist in The Animals), who signed him to a management deal. A British band was put together (drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding), and The Jimi Hendrix Experience started playing around England, where he immediately caused a stir. Clapton, Jeff Beck, Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison all going to see him perform. Chandler got Jimi a British record deal, and the first album was recorded and released in England and Europe, where it broke big. All that before he came back to the U.S., as an already successful British/European act. He was introduced to the U.S. market that way, as coming to the U.S. from England. Of course he was American---everyone knows that. That's not the point, the point being that he was part of the 2nd British Invasion, which brought a new style of Rock to the U.S. from England. That 2nd wave included Cream, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix himself, and others. The style of Rock they were playing was Blues based, heavy on improvisation and technical proficiency.

At the time I was working for a licensed rock merchandising company. Everyone that worked at that company thought Rap was  a fad including the principal of the firm.

Nehru jackets...

bdp24, Chas Chandler took Jimi to England but Chas wanted to be a record producer not a manager, so he had Jimi sign a management contract with Michael Jeffery, the manager who had robbed The Animals blind. Chas bitched all the time about how Michael Jeffery had screwed them. I guess Jimi thought that Chas was his friend and wouldn’t stab him in the back. Poor trusting Jimi.

Michael Jeffery then proceeded to rob Jimi blind while working him mercilessly, and three years later Jimi was burned out, broke and dead. The worst thing that ever happened to Jimi was going to England.

Jimi was playing with John Hammond when Chas got his hooks into him. John Hammond Sr. probably would have taken note of Jimi’s talent before long and if he didn’t someone else probably would have. That’s just speculation, of course, but what happened to Jimi in Britain is fact. I love the Experience albums but I will never be able to forgive the people who used him for their own gain and who cared so little for him that he ended up dead so soon. So when I hear someone say that Jimi was a British act it’s hard for me to just let it go.

Wow Tom, may I cry uncle?! You are obviously in possession of more knowledge about Jimi than I. I wasn't aware that Jimi was playing with Hammond, but John sure had good taste in guitarists, didn't he? He had engaged both Robbie Robertson (of The Hawks, of course. Bob Dylan stole Robbie and the rest of The Hawks away from John---they were his touring, uh, band) and Mike Bloomfield to play for him in '65 and '66, two of the best guitarists around. In my defense, let me point out that I didn't say Jimi was British (in fact, I specifically stated he wasn't), only that he was perceived as being part of the 1967 second wave of the British Invasion, perceived as such for the reasons mentioned above. He and The Experience also LOOKED British, didn't they? Contrast their ruffled shirts, crushed velvet trousers, and feather boas with the look of American Bands in the late 60's---dirty hippies! The only performers on the stage at Woodstock who looked like they considered themselves to be in "Show Business" were The Experience and maybe Janis Joplin. Everyone else looked like a farmer, except the members of The Band, who looked like they just came off the set of a western movie. 

I didn't see Hendrix live again after '68, but even then he seemed tired, or at least bored. Only the previous year he had been on absolute fire (no pun intended!---my High School Teen Combo performed his song "Fire" in '67-8). Contracts back then could be brutal, requiring at least an album a year. In the late 90's I worked with Emitt Rhodes, and he told us about being sued by Dunhill Records for breach of contract when he didn't deliver his second album on time. They withheld all future royalties in retaliation, and he never received another royalty check until after his song "Lullaby" was used in the film The Royal Tenenbaums, when an attorney/musician sued on his behalf. He signed his deal without legal representation, which was also common back then.