the take

New York ‘Times’ Commenters Mourn the Decline in Hip-hop Sales

Photo: Miroux / Dalle / Retna

In a thoughtful, 2,000-word piece in Sunday’s New York Times, Kelefa Sanneh considers the effects of hip-hop’s waning sales on its cultural relevance. In 87 (and counting) not-quite-so-thoughtful comments on, Times readers give their opinions on the subject, many of which are ill-informed, poorly spelled, and expressed exclusively in capital letters. Who are these sometimes racist, seldom articulate pundits? And to what do they (usually incoherently) attribute the decline in rap CD sales? As a service, we give you Vulture’s Field Guide to the Commenters of the New York Times:

The Musicologist:

Maybe people have figured out that much of “hip hop” is boring, hateful, non-music. —Andrew

The Old Guy Who’d Make a Terrible Radio Programmer:

I think hip hop has to move, volitionally, in a distinctly moral direction, if it is to continue to thrive as a cultural force. —karl

The Musically Unadventurous Phonetic Speller:

In my opinion The Times has been wasting costly space to review and cater to this mock talent in an attempt to build circulation among the devotes of this hate spewing, mindless genre. It only disserves to be ignored. —JBB

The Pessimist:

I think people are tired of hearing about the “bling” when there are so many more important things to worry about. —GNJ

The Guy Who’s Just Sick of the Damn Hos-and-Bling Talk:


The Guy Who Thinks the Kids Would All Appreciate a Nice Melody:

I hope Rap and Hip Hop fade into oblivion. Gangster rap is the worse with it glorification of violence, guns, dogfighting and the denigration of women. When I was growing up Black music ruled with talented stars including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner and Billy Preston. —Brien

The Conservative Music Fan Who, Even After All These Years, Has Not Yet Mastered the Use of Ironic Quotation Marks:

Hip Hop isn’t music; plain and simple. These artists are successful ($) in spite of themselves. Thank goodness it’s on it’s way out as a “genre”. —Rob

The Pop-Culture Critic Who’s Not Listened to the Radio, Read a Periodical, Watched Television, Used the Internet, or Gone Outside Since 1973:

Did I miss something? When was hip-hop ever RELEVANT? —Carol

The Possibly Racist Defeatist Who Claims to Have Inside Knowledge of the Times’ Circulation Data:

It’s interesting that people posting on the New York Times would know anything about this. Ask the thugs in the hood if Rap is dead — it doesn’t seem like they mind the message of bling, bitches, money and rims to me. Get real — most of the people buying this junk have never and will never open a newspaper in their life. —fruff76

The Guy Who Obviously Doesn’t Listen to Hip-hop But Thinks He’s Got It Pretty Much Figured Out Anyway:

I’m newly rich, I like to pay for sex (and/or make money from girls who do), I have horrible taste in jewelry and everything else for that matter, I have a record (felony or otherwise), some smarter (insert ethnicity here) is actually pulling the strings and making the real money, and I like to continue to use the n-word as if it was alright. —Nomore Wars

Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears’s Father:

I have taught my children to stay away from that stuff (the music) because I have told them it “makes their soul dirty”. —Bob

The Shrinking Market Is Changing the Face of Hip-Hop [NYT]
Earlier: New York Times Commenters Still Confused About Snoop Dogg

New York ‘Times’ Commenters Mourn the Decline in Hip-hop Sales