Questlove, ?uestlove

Questlove Explains Why Commercial Hip Hop Is Failing + More

(AllHipHop News) In 2013, the music industry experienced its lowest five week stretch in Soundscan history and the last week of July 2013 had the lowest weekly total ever (4.68 million copies). Earlier today (May 20th), Questlove spoke on how even commercial Hip Hop is failing due to the changing climate and its stagnant relationship with innovation.

Questlove answered questions from Vulture readers about his recent five-part essay series on Vulture which focused on the change and demise of Black culture. In his answer to one reader, The Roots drummer explains how Hip Hop’s apparent dominance is deceptive and that it’s not only the art that is suffering but the sales:

Now the commercial heads aren’t doing big numbers anymore. Big Sean went from selling more than 300,000 copies to under 150,000. 2 Chainz moved more than 600,000 of Based on a T.R.U. Story, but was down to 250,000 for B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time. Rick Ross, for the most part, held steady as a gold-selling artist between 2006 and 2012, with albums in the 550,000 to 750,000 range, but his last time out he got to 300,000. Future’s Honest, one of the most highly touted and advertised releases of the year, moved 11,000 copies in its third week on the chart, and has only sold 85,000 overall so far. 

Questlove and The Roots recently released their 11th studio album, …& Then You Shoot Your Cousin, a body of work predicated on experimentation. According to Questlove, while Hip Hop may have a few acts indulging in that level of experimentation, innovation is becoming lost on the art form”

In DJ/sonic terms, it’s similar to what happens with a siren: When it’s headed our way, the pitch is a little higher because sound waves are bunched up. As it moves away, they spread out and that pitch drops. Well, hip-hop culture has redshifted. The pitch has dropped. Innovation may exist, but it’s not the dominant characteristic anymore. It’s moving away.

Check out Questlove’s full Q+A on Vulture here.

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