While music-industry sales have plummeted, no genre has fallen harder than rap. According to the music trade publication Billboard, rap sales have dropped 44% since 2000 and declined from 13% of all music sales to 10%. Artists who were once the tent poles at rap labels are posting disappointing numbers…. This year rap sales are down 33% so far. Hip-hop now faces a generation that takes gangsta rap as just another mundane marker in the cultural scenery. “It’s collapsing because they can no longer fool the white kids,” says Nickels. “There’s only so much redundancy anyone can take.” Artists who never jumped on the gangsta bandwagon point the finger at the boardroom. They accuse major labels of strip-mining the music, playing up its sensationalist aspects for easy sales.
From Time magazine: