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Having read “Rhyme and Punishment” (1/23), a well-written though overly lengthy article on an extremely trite subject, I can only conclude from the lack of success of D.C. hiphop that perhaps, in at least one respect, our area is ahead of the rest of the country.
The sad truth of the matter is that hiphop sucks. It represents a tragic regression for African-American music in particular, and American popular music in general, because, actually, it isn’t really even music at all, but badly rhymed oratory on steroids, with highly derivative, or stolen, melodies in the background. Frankly, there hasn’t been anything truly new in American popular music for at least 20 years, and the slavish conformity that has led to the commercial acceptance of this version of the emperor’s new clothes is a big part of the reason why.
Hiphop is dead. It was dead a long time ago, although a lot of people were too stupid to notice. Perhaps it was never really alive, except as a kind of cancerous growth, yielding ever-tumescent imitators of a pathetic imitation of music for its carcinogenic enabler, the mindless public, and its spawn, a denuded Generation Without Letters, completely lacking in intellectual curiosity, subtlety, and attention span.