Ringtones Killed NYC Hip-Hop

Southern rap out-blasts urban beats
By Victoria Floethe,  Newser User
Posted Oct 20, 2008 12:53 PM CDT
In this March 2, 1988 file photo the rap group Run DMC poses at the 31st annual Grammy Awards in New York City.    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan,File)
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(Newser) – Once the king-maker of neighborhood phenoms, New York no longer spawns hip-hop's best, and the rise of ringtones is the culprit, writes Matthew Mundy in the New York Press. Because Big Apple beats are less pop-friendly than their Southern counterparts, they're not making it to teenagers' cell phones. "Hip-hop is now dance music. Clever rhymes are cool commercially, but they’re not what sells records these days," author Nelson George explains.

But a little unity would go a long way in terms of regaining market share, Mundy writes, and it's time for New York rappers to put aside petty rivalries and join efforts. But fans could use a wake-up call, too. "If the lyrics are too complicated to sound good belching out of a cell phone, maybe it’s a good thing," he writes. "That rap is best when you have to push rewind a couple of times to catch that tricky metaphor, unpack that sharp double entendre."