Starting in 2005, sales of hip hop music in the United States began to severely wane, leading Time magazine to question if mainstream hip-hop was "dying." Billboard Magazine found that, since 2000, rap sales dropped 44%, and declined to 10% of all music sales, which, while still a commanding figure when compared to other genres, is a significant drop from the 13% of all music sales where rap music regularly placed. NPR culture critic Elizabeth Blair noted that, "some industry experts say young people are fed up with the violence, degrading imagery and lyrics."
Others say the music is just as popular as it ever was, but that fans have found other means to consume the music." It can also be argued that many young people now download music illegally, especially through P2P networks, instead of purchasing albums and singles from legitimate stores. For example, Flo Rida is known for his low album sales regardless of his singles being mainstream and having digital success. His second album R.O.O.T.S. sold only 200,000+ total units in the U.S., which could not line up to the sales of the album's lead single "Right Round". This also happened to him in 2008. Some put the blame on the lack of lyrical content that hip hop once had, another example is Soulja Boy Tell 'Em's 2007 debut album souljaboytellem.com was met with negative reviews. Lack of sampling, a key element of hip hop, has also been noted for the decrease in quality of modern albums. For example, there are only four samples used in 2008's Paper Trail by T.I., while there are 35 samples in 1998's Moment of Truth by Gang Starr. The decrease in sampling is in part due to it being too expensive for producers. In Byron Hurt's documentary Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, he claims that hip hop had changed from "clever rhymes and dance beats" to "advocating personal, social and criminal corruption."Despite the fall in record sales throughout the music industry, hip-hop has remained a popular genre, with hip-hop artists still regularly topping the Billboard 200 Charts. In the first half of 2009 alone artists such as Eminem, Rick Ross, Black Eyed Peas,and Fabolous all had albums that reached the #1 position on the Billboard 200 charts. Eminem's album Relapse was one of the fastest selling albums of 2009.In 2010, six hip hop acts topped the Billboard 200; Ludacris, B.o.B, Drake, Eminem, Lil Wayne and Kanye West. In 2011 so far Nicki Minaj and Lupe Fiasco has topped the Billboard 200 and Wiz Khalifa has topped the Billboard Hot 100.
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