Music Historian Shares Reasons For Hip Hop’s Declining Popularity

Following a reduction in market share and the first loss of dominance on music charts in quite some time, media outlets were inundated with opinion articles lamenting the “decline” of hip-hop.

Although it didn’t last long, hip-hop eventually overtook rock ‘n’ roll as the most famous music genre in the United States in 2018.

The music style that provided millions of people a voice appeared to be losing popularity in 2023, the year when hip-hop celebrated its 50th birthday.

The younger generation of hip-hop artists had a tough time breaking through in 2023 despite the fact that historic performances by legendary artists at key events highlighted the year.

Though its growth rate has been far slower since its boom in the 2010s, hip-hop remained the most listened-to genre of music in 2023, with a 26.8% share of the U.S. music industry, down from its 2020 peak of 28.2%, according to research by Luminate.

The cause of wane in enthusiasm could be caused by a number of reasons, including a basic cyclical slump, the fact that hip-hop has gotten watered down, or the development of music streamers displacing the old gatekeepers of music.

Musicologist and historian Zachary Diaz said businesses and major record companies have attempted to cash in on hip-hop’s fame through what he calls the musical gentrification of the genre. The result is a “dilution” of the hip-hop sound since the genre has found its way into so many other types of media and advertising.

From its inception, hip-hop served as a platform for the Black community to share its experiences of racial oppression and inequality while also bringing its culture to a global audience. The initial intent that pushed hip-hop to be formed may have been lost in the midst of its meteoric rise to fame and subsequent commercialization.