Who Killed Hip Hop? Top 10 Suspects

Science dropped by Martini & Jopparelli. Jul-19-2009

Here we are with another guest post. This time our dude Antonio gives us his point of view about something we are really concerned about: Who killed Hip Hop?


When Nas recorded Who Killed It? a couple of years ago, the song (a clever and slightly schizoid metaphor about the death of hip hop laid on top of the I Ain’t No Joke drum loop) sparked a big debate about whether hip hop was dead or not (and most importantly, about who, in case, was responsible for killing hip hop).

Now, the fact that many people were questioning the “Hip Hop is Dead” title to begin with, is a good indication that maybe no killing took place (and it is also an indication of how influential Nas still is, whether we like it or not).

If in any instance, God forbid, I was in charge of a murder investigation, there are certain people I would call to give a statement, Columbo-style, given their blatant lack of a credible alibi.

Forget the autotune boys, the Dirty South ballers and the ringtone rappers. They are just the last ones in a long line of clowns.  Here are the real suspects, brace yourself because there will be some surprises.

DJ Premier

DJ Premier.

Maybe not the first name you would have thought of as someone who killed hip hop. In his case, the reasoning is simple: since Preemo has started dropping bangers in all the best album of the 90′s (sans Wu-Tang, obviously) he created a precedent. First of all, this gave rise to the misconception that producers are more important than rappers (something we can debate to death, but the Group Home album definitely shows that shitty rappers can still make classic albums). Secondly, people started thinking that a couple of good beats were enough to have a hit album (for further proof, check mainstream hip hop today). And the idea of outsourcing the beats to external producers, as Katt Williams would say, “fucked up everything. Everything? Everything”.


Dr. Dre.

Same thing as Preem, basically, but to a whole new level. When Dre invented G-Funk as we know it, the era of hip hop as a musical phenomenon where personality (did anyone say swagger?) is more important than substance began.

master_pMaster P.

During the No Limit years, if Percy did not kill hip hop, at the least he gave it a lobotomy, given the sheer amount of retarded rappers that were signed by the label. Also, he basically invented the materialistic Dirty South wave (way before bling was called bling),which, unfortunately, I think is going to affect us for another 10 years minimum.


Sean Puffy Combs.

(I refuse to call him any other way). Probably the biggest sellout evah, Puffy has the nerve to pretend that he still cares for hip hop, besides building a career as an artist on the death of his (supposedly) best friend. But in retrospect, the glitter and Crystal were there even when Biggie was still alive. Oh, before I forget, Puffy didn’t even write the lyrics of I’ll Be Missing You (Sauce Money did). He just looped up the cheesiest sample ever (or did he? Maybe D-Dot made the beat).


FunkMaster Flex.

One of the most obvious suspects, after the payola scandal. Streets might be watching, but they don’t decide what’s hot anymore. Instead, someone paid by the big labels does…


Someone else who is not so obvious. But, on hindsight, without the Wu-Gambinos, things would have been slightly less annoying in New York. I know he did not act maliciously, but imagine what could have happened without the saga of Bobby Steels and associates…

scottScott Storch.

Going from being part of the Roots Crew to producing Brooke Hogan and Paris Hilton is definitely a giant leap. A bit like jumping from a skyscraper.



Timbo is worse than Scotty (and their forgotten beef was ridiculous, obviously). There is no way to redeem yourself, when you are guilty of making Justin Timberlake a pop icon accepted all over the world. No redemption whatsoever is possible.


Pharrell Williams.

See above. (Artificially) reanimating the careers of human wrecks and feeling good about it is plain wrong. Nowadays Pharrell is considered a sex symbol: it seems like ages ago that Noreaga was calling him a “homo” in public…


Tragedy Khadafi.

Another one who made an unconscious mistake. Still, building the image of Noreaga from scratch has resulted in rappers thinking that personality is more important than technique and message. Very bad mistake.

jay z


The last one of the suspects, and one of the ones in real trouble. As a business partner, he ripped his man off. As a rapper, he ended up giving space to too many irrelevant weed carriers (I see you, Bleek). As the president of the biggest hip hop label ever he did not do his job of developing artists that could have original messages to bring forth. As a guest artist, he appeared on too many shitty songs. And that Death of Autotune is definitely a commercial move. Seriously Jay, get a good lawyer.

by Antonio from The Canteen of the Deranged

Built Like That (Storch dissing Timbo)



37 Responses to “Who Killed Hip Hop? Top 10 Suspects”

  1. Personally speaking, if I got to choose one name from the list I would go with Timbo.

    Definitely my leading suspect!

  2. I like your argument but you left out the biggest culprit of all, the public. We allowed this music to systematically lower our standards and not speak up about it. Now we are stuck with this non sense that is passing for hip hop today.

  3. djmp45 says:

    the internet killed it

    • You have to explain your sentence otherwise is a nonsense.

      • djmp45 says:

        1 too many myspace rappers/producers (do we need a million of rappers ?i rather have 10 good)
        2 everybody and their own family putting out “albums” because you dont need a label anymore (at least the labels where doing some selection …even if we know they made million of mistake ).
        3 good producers scared to sample because the information will spread and they’ll have to pay money for it
        4 too many youtube beef bullshit (see the scott storch ) to boost your image (see ice t) when you have nothing to say anymore as an artist

        those point are refered to today’s hip hop, but on the other hand, the internet gave me access to past music that i didnt know and that’s not out there anymore ..music that came out before the internet and still sounds good today (so obvviously there’s a good side as well)

        regarding the post i appreciated that antonio had the balls to add premier to the list, not many people on the internet will have done that!

  4. vincetastic says:

    This is an excellent top ten list, mad creative. I would have to say it was Puffy, the biggest hip-hop sellout of all-time. If you’re a cheesy person that watches way too much MTV, then you love him, if not you want him not do vote and just die. You can cross-post this to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and link back to your site. We are trying to create a directory for top ten lists where people can find your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

  5. Antonio,
    I read your article for a second time and I have to disagree with you fully. To say Primo & Dre started to kill hip hop by making exceptional music is crazy. Thats like saying Michael Jordan killed basketball because he was to good. When a good album comes out and you play it so much that you get tired of it. Anything that follows is not as good as to what you were just listening to won’t measure up. Primo & Dre did not kill anything, what happened was nobody stepped up and made another great album. I am not saying only Primo & Dre are the only two people responsible for all of hip hop. I am merely using them as a metaphor for all of hip hop based on your article.
    As far as the rest on your list I will have to say that they each fill a void in the ever growing genre that is hip hop. You have to remember that when hip hop started it was in 1 place in the Bronx. Then it spread all over the world. The bigger it grows, the less special it becomes because the next generation was raised on the previous example. The same thing happened to R&B, rock & roll.
    One last comment, this argument you have with the death of hip hop is in stark contradiction with your other argument on a previous post here. You were telling everyone that there is great new hip hop that is a classic and is just as good or better than the old school hip hop everyone talks about. If the people mentioned in your article killed hip hop then why would you care so much about a dying art form. You are saying on one hand that there is new great hip hop and on the other hand hip hop is dead. I think what you really exposed to us is who you are as an intellectual. Thank you for this lively debate.

    • ilmago aka Magic Johnson says:

      I think this is a funny post, that’s why I suggested M&J to post this. (yeah Antonio I hate you less than you think).
      Antonio named some of his (and ours, and everybody’s) favourite artist in this top 10… I think he reached his goal of making the reader re-think the god-status of some legends such as Premo or RZA.
      And I think that re-thinking the god-status of a legend is always a good think, always.

      For example all that mafia bullshit was the lamest thing that happened to hip hop if you ask me. Like it or not, Wu (and others…) started that.
      You got young kids around thinking that mafia is some cool thing, like they are revolutionary or something. That’s really sad, and lame.



  6. Anyway, my number one suspect: capitalism.

    What’s that thing that takes every good idea (not only art…) and makes some commercial bullshit out of it? capitalism.

  7. Antonio says:

    Billy Ray:
    it is obvious that was an intellectual exercise, and I do not necessarily think I am always right (not even in this case).
    That said, I really think hip hop is alive, but some of the points made by the guys on this website make it obvious that my favourite music genre is not faring too well. So I tried a different angle on the subject, and it seems it was well received.
    On a side note, I really do agree that the public should do more of an effort to promote good stuff over commercial shit.
    I never thought you hate me, although obviously you can “hate me now” (ha ha). I think we had a lot of pointless arguments, but that is the internet, mainly.
    And I absolutely agree on the rethinking of icon/god-like status. I always try to do it, even for people that I really admire.

  8. nolvorite says:

    These are the 5 people that killed hip hop
    1. NWA
    2. 2pac/biggie (that one wasn’t even beef WTF)
    3. Puff Nooby
    4. 50 Cents
    5. Soulja Boy
    6. Maybe Nas

    Now argue with me…

    Ok I said NWA killed hip hop because of all the hype they brought in the 90′s (after they all split) which lead to more hypes, then 2pac/biggie got shot which gave way to shit rappers like 50 cents, Soulja boy, and should I keep going (dance moves – yeaaaaaaaah). Really it’s not a problem to be mainstream (drugs,sex,hoes), you just have to improve the quality of the rap AND NOT JUST THE MOTHRFKIN BEAT. What happened is, those shit rappers I just mentioned didn’t care about that either! That’s why hip hop died.

    So it’s two words that they don’t have:




      no nas didn’t kill hip hop simple as that!

    • jay says:

      Lil Wayne, Soulja boy, and others killed hip hop. Hip hop is supposed to be about where you are from, the stuff you went through and did, and making some nice beats instead of techno. it is not about the money you make either, that is why you got so many haters and you hear rappers getting robbed of their chains. nwa had nothing to do with killing hip hop neither did biggie and tupac, and they encouraged skinny jeans too, no one (unless you skate or a girl) wears skinny jeans i think its gay. and thats whats killing hip hop

  9. reiser says:

    You forgot to mention Kool G Rap. After he perfected the multisyllabic rhyme scheme there wasn’t much room for improvement anyway, so people probably thought “maybe I could fuckin BARK on a record to sound fresh”.
    And I think that the mafioso rap really started with him, not the Wu, so there.

    But really, now, let’s be serious: you know the REAL killer of hip hop? The public embracing the anti-playahating mentality. As Aaron McGruder once pointed out via Huey, so-called “hating” has been the main reason behind black artists always being on the forefront of music.

  10. boum boum says:

    very funny post…hip hop kille’d itself !


  11. fritzthecat says:

    Here we go again. You guys alwasy make me think of this:

    How can you say HH is dead when there are kids still coming out with new styles and using HH to do their thing?

    Only earlier on I was on another blog reading about up jerk songs, a bit retro but sounds fresh to me: http://matthewafrica.blogspot.com/2009/07/jerk-songs.html

    You say HH is dead, all you do is namedrop people from across the ocean I suspect you’ve never met. Who cares about P Dingbat and co., they crossed over to pop, good luck to them, someone new and fresh will take their place.

    I think it’s simply a generational change. You, Nas, and all the other guys from the same generation are getting old, having babies, nothing sounds fresh as it used to do when you were in your early 20s. Just deal with it.

    Tipici italiani, sempre a guardare al passato con nostalgia :-P

    • Hey Fritz, discussione già affrontata mille volte, eterno dilemma, mi ci rituffo a capofitto.

      Ovviamente la tua critica è diretta interamente ad Antonio :-D , ma mi sento in dovere di risponderti lo stesso.

      1 – L’articolo che citi è divertente, ma inizia dichiarando che ogni genere musicale ha la sua età dell’oro: questo è cio’ che sostengo io da sempre. Quindi non ci vedo niente di male o di ridicolo nell’appassionarsi ad un genere focalizzandosi sul suo periodo migliore.

      2 – Qui a M&J ascoltiamo anche un sacco di roba nuova come si vede dagli altri post. C’è roba nuova in giro che mi fa letteralmente impazzire. Personalmente spendo un sacco di soldi anche in musica nuova (vinyl of course, he he sono nostalgico in questo).

      3 – L’effetto “nostalgia dei 20 anni” secondo me non sussiste, infatti adesso ascoltiamo un sacco di Afro Beat, per esempio. Se a 20 anni mi avessi dato un disco di Fela Kuti ti avrei detto “che cazzo è sta merda” e sarei tornato ai Mobb Deep.

      4 – Nessuno ha mai detto che non ci sia roba carina in giro, le Jerk Songs che segnali non sono male, pero’ sono pesantemente anni 80, dunque mooolto nostalgiche anch’esse.

      5 – Non darmi del tipico italiano che mi incazzo: sono appena tornato dalle vacanze, dove grazie ai sandali Birkenstock, e al fatto di essere alto due metri, sono riuscito a mimetizzarmi tra i tedeschi :-D

  12. Divine_Swagga says:

    Every time I see these kinda post it makes me remember the saying “there is nothing new under the sun” . Every generation in every genre of music feels that they are the originals and that any kind of evolving or newness means that the old form is less relevant ..or in this case “dead”. Jazz, Soul, R&B, ect are all changes of one form of music into a newer more relevant to the society at hand style of music. I see many dissing Soulja Boy and his kind.. Well guess what?? His music is completely relevant to the myspae, twitter, selfish, self indulged, society that we live in today. Like Jazz is still around in its form all these years later and Soul still has it roots on society.. Hip Hop, original Hip Hop will always be around. But changes in it to become more commercial are just signs of success. Tim-bo is wrong for his success with Justin? That helped kill Hip Hop?? Really? Changes come with time. I’m 29yrs old and I find myself listening to “music ” (if that’s what we want to call it now) and saying the same thing my Mother and Grandmother would say about the music I enjoyed. That it all sounds like noise.

  13. youdontneedaknow says:

    Surprised to not see Vanilla Ice in this, he kept white rappers back for a few years…
    Lol, not even surprised to see half of these names and ‘crimes’. Puffy definitely killed hip-hop, ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ was half the original song’s lyrics. Only a fake needs to get someone else to write a death song about your best mate…
    One comment, Soulja Boy didn’t kill hip-hop, he was on the mainstream with one gay song, how did that kill hip-hop? He just made a bunch of people pick shitty ring tones for a few weeks, which is a similar crime, but not worth giving him attention over.

  14. Doni says:

    To tell you the truth guys I think 50 cent killed it in his own way like know rappers mentions hoes,drugs,sex and all the BS couse of thid dude. He mention that crap millions of times in his music thats why Fucking faggots stop rapping about political shitt and all that couse they think it is cool now.

    And we cant forget BOW WOW that dude I hate so fucking much he started the fuckin trend so young basterds like soulja boy can be in the music industry. And these young artist only got little girl like fans not couse they sound good but that they look good. oo and I have to mention that little white boyho got the support from USHER. Justin Bieber…………………..I’m seeing that dude all over the internet and I think more white young non talented basterds like him are on there way.

    And many artist that comes after 1 mounth when the game have allready changed so much and saying ”this is fresh this is new wow. uhh” Like take it easy it was something knew a mounth ago now something again…….that shit makes more TALENTED artist think that WE reall fans want that.

    you dont have to talk about diddy he helps the untalented to achieve there goals just like usher.

    AND the last artist. I dont know ho he is but. The one that made so if you have the biggest bling bling, money and 1000 necklaces around your neck you will have a good video or you will be sucesfull.

  15. Bryan Cambell says:

    It’s safe to say lil wayne and gucci mane aren’t helping

  16. supahslime says:

    What about Kanye West?! No-talent bum who thinks he’s a “rock star”.

    That remix where he put Justin Beiber on a Wu-Tang beat is simply UNFORGIVEABLE. A crime like that deserves heavy penalties. UNFORGIVEABLE.

    Other perps not already mentioned include:

    Outkast, B.E.P, Eminem, Buck, Yayo, Beyonce Knowles

  17. myspacekillah says:

    lol how can beyonce be responsible of killin hip hop without being an hip hop artist stop smokin crack man

  18. Rain Man says:

    Hip Hop has always had its head on the chopping block… but R&B swung the axe.

  19. All you killed HIP-HOP! When ya’ll started downloading mp3 on the net for freeo passing up the recorded shops! Besides all you named i rather listen to those cats. Than listening to this auto tune wack ass so called
    HIP-HOP(more like electro house)Bullshit!

    oh, by the way all our good rappers are getting old now can’t make hitz anymore …..so sad….. fuck the radio… YOU Killed HIP-HOP !

    with yo bright shirts thinking its 90′s go ask yo older brother what was the the era like he’ll tell you try using a pay phone dumbo!

  20. blany says:

    listen to fashawn

  21. Haha says:

    Hahaha you made a list of the most legendary rap icons, your an idiot who knows nothing anout hip hop. You probably like young
    Money and gucci mane and shit you looser

  22. Real Hip-Hop says:

    You’re forgetting that the industry is the main reason for the way Hip-Hop is today. They started it with the payola scam (and still do it), but now people have listened to the same songs so much that it’s become widely accepted. And people learn to like it because other people like it. It’s sort of like mass hysteria in a way. The corrupt labels control the radios and hire lobbyists to stuff money in the pockets of congress so that laws can get passed in their favor. Meanwhile they screw the artists that they’re taking creative control of. etc……

  23. WestCoastRespectsEastCoast says:

    Something happened to hip-hop when N.W.A. got on the scene. Before then there was X Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers, Public Enemy, early RUN-DMC, Eric B & Rakim, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five etc.Hip-hop used to make you listen and want to get educated. More importantly it used to teach respect for one another and have fun. Then this misogynistic and beefing thing started to infiltrate. Also, like you all were saying the BEATS, SWAGGER, flashy MUSIC VIDEOS took first place to the quality of lyrical content. SoulJah Boy was just repeating what Master P was doing with all of that silly ” UGGGHHH” and “YUUUUU.” And, big corporations just saw dollar signs!

  24. Georgie boy says:

    This is bullshit I disagree how can Preemo of all people kill hip hop if he played a major role in hip hop and where it’s at today and RZA that nigga is legendary you forgot to place Rick Ross Lil Wayne and Drake there but instead their spots are taken by legends U GOT BALLS TO POST BULLSHIT and still get paid for it I’m form South Africa and one thing I can tell u Preemo Dre and RZA are the reason why I still bump this shit Lil Wayne, French Montana, Drake, Rick Ross, Birdman,Gucci, etc. are the reason I switch of my radio and rather blaze a blunt this is bullshit