The current state of mainstream Hip Hop is quite dismal; I write this as a woman closer to 40 who has been devoted to the preservation and documentation of Hip Hop culture for at least a decade now. I offer that a major part of why the artistry has experienced such a horrific decline is because there is no longer room for diversity in voices — women are edged out, queer people remain forced into hiding, elders are ridiculed for trying to pursue careers, and if it isn’t in English, most American mainstream consumers will miss out on its brilliance.
That is a compelling theory. I wrote a lengthy mathematical analysis comparing hip hop in the 1990s to hip hop in the 2000s, verifying objectively that the artistry declined over that time period, but I found it hard to pin down specific causes. My best guess was that the increasing commercial viability of hip hop in the 2000s led to formulaic homogeneity and simplicity for short term financial gains for producers and record executives, and, having read your piece just now, I agree that one way that homogeneity has been achieved at the expense of the cultural value of hip hop has been to eliminate a diversity of voices. Ironically, the measures taken by the industry in the 2000s were to diminish the very things that grew hip hop in its nascent days and made it flourish like it did in the 1980s and 1990s, causing it to become commercially viable in the first place.
I have come to see this kind of short term, selfish thinking as a cornerstone of capitalist patriarchy. Hip hop has been one of many victims. Artists labored to build a vehicle for self-expression; the capitalist patriarchy hijacked the vehicle and drove it straight to the bank. They didn’t check the oil, they didn’t rotate the tires, and now the vehicle is broken down, but not in a fun way like Mix-A-Lot’s hooptie.