Murder Was the Case That They Gave We?

Today I decided to highlight Joe Budden‘s 2008 lyrical diatribe “Who Killed Hip-Hop?“. Laid over Marvin Gaye‘s “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler(What’s Going On), Regular Joe proceeds to go in on exactly where and when Hip-Hop “lost” it’s way. He touches on everything from RunD.M.C.‘s seemingly defunct relationship to The Lady of Rage‘s stint on the The Steve Harvey Show. In all, he voices a numerous amount of valid reasons as to why Hip-Hop is in the state it is in now; now being 2008.

You may say, “Dude, this was almost 2 years ago. Hip-Hop’s contours have change since then, what substanstial relevance could this song possibly have?” And my answer would be, “Beaucoup.” Besides the apparent self-inflicted death of auto-tune (To credit Jay-Z‘s “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” would be giving Jay-Z far too much credit) and a recent fresh crop of Rookie/Sophmore MCs, Hip-Hop has yet to returned to her full grace.

Regular Joe’s critiques and observations hit home and leaves one questioning: “Who Killed Hip-Hop?

The song is broken up into 3 parts. I’ve also provided lyrics, just in case you miss anything.

Who Killed Hip-Hop” by Joe Budden

Can anybody pinpoint the day it went wrong?
I mean, I used to blame Reggaeton
I can’t front, I thought all that was corny
Was it Ja’s fault?
Lil Mo said she ain’t get paid for ‘Put It On Me’
Look, you bring it up and dude’s get on some coy
Was it T-Pain with that funny voice shit?
Or was it Lil Wayne with that funny voice shit?
The whole game dick rode that funny voice shit!
I can’t tell when it happened
Was it when Lil’ Jon showed dudes you could sell without rapping?
Was it Laffy Taffy? I thought they was kiddin’
Shawty Lo said ‘Dey Know!’, I really didn’t
Dancin’ became cool again, then came ‘Walk It Out’
But I ain’t know what the fuck niggas was talkin’ bout
Unit kicked Game out, they ain’t give a
Then we see the same shit happen to Buck
It was a few years ago, but I remember the summer
50 made fans start looking at the numbers
A&R’s won’t take risks, they won’t sign niggas
The word ’swag’ came out and started to blind niggas
Rap dudes want reality shows
And my dumbass was thinking that reality sold
Did it start with the iPod?
Or when rappers had to pay DJ’s for them to do their job?
Now all the content is the same, it don’t differ
Everybody sold some drugs or pulled triggers
The more you think about, you gonna just get sicker
I mean, why the fuck would Nas wanna call his shit ‘Nigger’? Nigga!
Was it when the Wu broke up?
Pac, B.I.G., Pun went to sleep, never woke up
Lupe was doing a tribute and choked up
Some of these stupid ass fans was like, “So what?”
Some them they ain’t educated
Fuck blaming the south, we ain’t segregated
I mean, it was all good around the Kiss and Beans
Took a left turn around the Kiss and Green shit
Maybe it all started when Roc-A-Fella parted
Ways, it’s natural to shift toward fame
I watched every last one of dudes shit on Dame
Kind of got that in common, I can dig that pain
When they gave Jay a desk and suit
They finally gave a rapper a chance to come execute
But somethin’ told me the suits at the tables was hurtin’
they fired everybody, labels started merging
Far as sales? The decline is strong
Ask the experts, they’ll say that the climate’s wrong
I mean, some niggas prime is gone
I peeped it when niggas started puttin’ fake diamonds on
You can tell a dude, “I spit better than you”
But then he’ll say, “I’m richer for whatever I do”
I seen all this coming, I knew what we was in for
back when Erick Sermon had jumped out of the window
Was it when Ma$e retired? He couldn’t hack it
Tip could, he just needed some more ratchets
DJ’s, Producers, the one’s who get us the farthest
Said, “Fuck rappers!”, and they became the artists
I gotta talk candid
Did we start having issues around the same time Jimmy and Cam did?
Or was it when Chingy thought he ain’t need Ludacris?
his Next album, found out that that was ludicrous
Papoose and Clipse both survived
Inking with Jive, then getting jived
Your man Jae Hood repped that D-Block gang
Then I seen dude dragging his D-Block chain
Or did one-hit wonders change it all along?
They made labels only want to sign a dude’s song
And you really don’t know
If you think the fans pick the videos on 106
I’m just stating the truth
Did it start when Fox stayed in the news
more than she did the booth?
Or was it when Lil’ Kim stopped exploiting sex?
The fuck is up with DMX?
I hope dude’s straight
Have an opinion and they gonna say you hate
I can’t front, I’m missing the old Clue tapes
Next thing, the underground sunk further
The Feds was on Irv so The Inc. dropped Murder
I never blame Fab, Jeezy, Rick Ross
Did shit get lost when Shyne went up north?
I’ll never understand the Hip-Hop police
When Hip-Hop is what Hip-Hop needs to police
These blatant-ass radio attempts sound so bland
Twista kept trying to recreate ‘Slow Jamz’
Then we send the wrong message with our slang
Broke niggas blowing they rent to make it rain
so you walk in and give a bitch a few $20’s
She’ll smerk her face up, looking at you funny
This chick told me she only take new money
Man, I snatched my shit back sooo fast
Or did it start when rappers said, ‘Fuck it’
Sacrificed music and started raping they budget
Nothing wrong with dude’s being candy or pop
Something was wrong when Joc hit the Candy Shop
We buying our own records, maybe no one’s to blame
Are we a business that we can’t afford to maintain?
Second week show that boy numbers ain’t high
I hate to break it to you, numbers always lie
Or when Ortiz signed to Aftermath
and Now he’s feeling the aftermath
Was it Fight Klub fucking with them battle raps?
Not too many of them gettin’ signed after that
I mean, some can’t stay afloat
A million Busta albums he’s still not mentioned with the GOATs
Fuck looking for answers, time will tell
Was it when Def Jam didn’t want to resign L?
A 15-year old told me Cass was ass
Rather than spazz, all dude could do was laugh
Or was it when the whole East Coast fell off?
or got comfortable, maybe dudes was too well off
The more niggas said they didn’t write down lyrics
The more it started to sound like they didn’t
But, do whatever you can to keep the lights on
but dumbin’ down just became the new “DYLAN!”
Honestly, I ain’t know what to think
A few years ago we had the young kids wearing pink
I can’t blame the fans for not knowing a damn thing
when We trained them to be this way
I mean showed ‘em whatever to sell with no limits
Since the early 90’s, sold ‘em a false image
So when some shit comes that don’t fit the mold
It’s like mole and nigga you won’t even do Gold
They watch the videos,
See you on the corner with a whole bunch of people and think that you hood
They turn on the TV,
See these video bitches and they think niggas girls really look that good
I mean They get so many free verses when the album drops, the shit’s more like a bonus
Why pay for it? Why take home this?
With one click of the mouse they could own it

I mean some of them are fooled so easily
By whatever we say or we show ‘em on TV
But that was all part of the plan
Or was it when Eminem made ‘Stan’?
I swear some of these fans, they put they whole life on the line
It’s like they can’t like more than one rapper at a time
Less about the product, more about the digits
It’s a business, we got less fans and more critics
Maybe we at a cross
Canibus made one of the dopest diss records but some still say he lost
And I ain’t believe my ears when niggas tried to tell me
That KRS-One had a rap beef with Nelly
If rap was alive, we’d be trying to be the best rappers ever
Not the best rapper alive
But you won’t get accepted at all if you ain’t street tough
Onyx was the hardest ’til Sticky got beat up
Now ‘I’m A Thug’ is how I gotta behave
If I wanna be paid, if I wanna see praise
You know something’s wrong when niggas are gettin’ shot
And you gotta sit and wonder if the whole thing’s staged
It ain’t REAL no more
Or did we just expand on our audience, maybe we appeal to more
Or, do we think ya’ll are just getting dumber?
We tried to make gettin’ older getting younger
Did we lose our hunger? Something’s gotta give
Did we outgrow ourselves? Is Hip-Hop for kids?
If it is, they turn on MTV Cribs
And think, “That’s where these motherfuckers really live!”
Or, was it when Lauryn Hill dropped a classic?
So did the Fugees, til Wyclef tapped it
Songs don’t do it no more, the shit’s shocking
Seen it when “Lean Back” had the whole world rocking
Now it’s “Fuck your bars!” if your hook is fly
So we look at Crooked I with a crooked eye
Dope ass rappers ain’t seeing no dough
If everything’s commercial, where the fuck is the show?
But anybody making a dime, see I’ma wish well
Still we took a big L losing Big L
Or was it when YouTube came in the game?
Now nobody’s from their living room can make a name
Or when Indies like Koch came and blew up
Niggas at the majors they literally threw up
To some, it ain’t fun no more
You know it’s fucked up when D.M.C don’t talk to Run no more
To many egos, like we ain’t one no more
Shit’s predictable, niggas aint stunned no more
We startin’ to see shit we never seen before
At one point, we even had the magazines at war
OR, was it street DVD’s like Smack?
Showed you just how stupid your favorite rapper would act
This shit get lifeless
When MTV made a list of the hottest and ignored the nicest
Changed the whole steelo
I mean the averaged fan never heard of Goodie Mob or a Cee Lo
But they heard of Gnarls Barkley!
And Dr. Carter still say we got a heartbeat
I ain’t gonna lie, I was scared to death, straight up
I started to hear rumors of an Outkast breakup
I was like, “That ain’t true, it sounds desperate”
Then started to see Big Boi and 3K separate
We had periods where it was drier than a desert
Are we all killin’ this shit? Is it a group effort?
Are we alive and well or barely surviving?
Is it R&B’s fault? Them niggas is thriving
Then a lot of people go and blame LimeWire
I don’t think it’s downloadin’ dog, the line’s tired
Did the fans just get tired of the outcome?
One dope single and a bullshit album
So they share albums with each other
Was it Master P with them ugly ass album covers?
Or when we started appearing in the news?
Timberland said they didn’t want black niggas wearing they boots
I mean, I know it got foggy, atleast blurry
When the label dude got knocked out by Keith Murray
Or was it when we became obsessed with the brand names?
Had the kids trying to buy shit they can’t name
And some think the evidence is ample
Did it start when Puff took advantage of the sample?
Is it all watered down with no fire?
If you had enough money you can buy a ghostwriter
Or the Diamond District, with Jacob the Jeweler
Had to buy his watch to be looked at as cooler
Fucking with them trends
Our stupid asses wasted a hundred grand on shit that ain’t even in
Look, is the game now as bad as it’s ever been?
It’s not ringtones, just the songs that they represent
I heard all of ‘em
The sad part I wouldn’t recognize most these niggas if I saw ‘em
I can’t explain it, I don’t know what to tell ya
Now goin’ Gold is look at as a failure
Maybe old heads in charge just weren’t able
DJ’s is spinning now with no turntable
Maybe the fans are just bored of us
Or maybe there ain’t enough room for all of us
It’s like, even a friendship will stop at a point
Mike Jones went platinum off of Slim Thug’s joint
But there’s so many ways to get fuckin’ rich
Supahead caked off by just suckin’ dick
Did we sell out just to get in demand more?
Did we go against everything we used to stand for?
Both are likely
There’s two sides to a coin, who you rollin’ with: Souljah Boy or Ice-T?
Some niggas wanna sit around and complain about
I rather analyze, seek how it came about
If we could rewind the world
We wouldn’t have to watch Flava Flav try to find his girl
Look, today it’s all about marketing and promo
I remember VH1 was just for old folks
But no ma’am
If I ain’t know better, I would think that mix show is now programmed
We let the power of the dollar annihilate us
Now the size of our chain gonna validate us
It’s too simple, they can’t think we’re really deep
I just heard Chris Brown on the ‘A Milli’ beat
Seen a video, it’s called ‘Lookin’ Ass Niggas’
Grabbed the remote, tired of lookin’ at niggas
But that let a nigga know if we ain’t dead
Then we just half alive, maybe braindead
Did it start when Capone left Nore?
Nah, he went to jail, that’s a whole different story

Or, maybe somethings really wrong with our ears
Obie Trice got dropped, so much for Cheers
Female emcees, they don’t ever hit the target
somebody said they saw Amil working in a Target
The sad part is we already lost Remy
Or did we go wrong when E-v-e got skinny?
What’s up with Jacki-O, Rah Digga, that I can’t figure
And Trina ain’t been the same since ‘Nan Nigga’
I know it had to do something to his heart beat
When Lady of Rage started doing Steve Harvey
I know we caught a lil’ trama
somewhere between Yo Yo, Boss, and Lil’ Mama
Lot of females found another way to extort
Most of our video models have turned escort
Do anything to see dough
So they’ll exchange sex with an artist or director for a lead role
Or should we get back to basics?
Where’s the Rakim’s or the Master Ace’s?
The Big Daddy Kane’s, or did we never recover
From Dre not being on the side of Ed Lover
Or when rap dude started signin’ their friends?
Instead of going out and tryin’ to find niggas with skill
Seen it happen when D-12 put out Purple Pills
And while the whole hood laughed, them niggas sold a Mil’
Some of us ain’t prepared for something so lucrative
I just heard Yung Berg say some stupid
Like we almost caught one in the torso
When each Bone Thugs member took they own crossroads
Some disagree, some gotta see the same
or maybe Hip Hop died on Aailyah’s plane
If it relocated where did it move to?
I still Love H.E.R. the way Common used to
Or did Bill O’ Reily come fuck up the spirit?
With negative remarks about everybody’s lyrics
Spend all this time dissin’ us
Nigga you 95 years old motherfucker shouldn’t be a listener
Lost Jam Master, who was tougher then leather
Or did it start when Treach started fuckin‘ Pepa?
As our jeans got tighter and our tee’s got longer
I’m trying to figure which age group we belong to
Or did we all go astray, the second Dr. Dre left N.W.A.?
I mean in my opinion we was on easy street
When he was beefin’ with Eazy-E
Or did we get fucked up when producers found a way to cheat?
Signin unknown niggas to start making their beats
If you sell your own shit it gotta go for cheap
Put my name on it and the price increase
Or, is it cause everybody’s so self-centered?
Is that the reason Hip-Hop itself ain’t centered?
Or have we already seen this shit with our own eyes?
Rico Suave, Hammer, and Vanilla Ice
Everybody want in the game so in return
You got label executives fuckin’ their interns
And anybody lookin’ at that new Vibe bracket
Should see that they don’t know a thing about this rap
Or maybe we shoulda stopped being proud
When there was no more Rawkus and no more Loud
Tried to get conscious around Vote or Die
So they made it look like all our votes was lies
As the years go on it’s like we keep gettin’ more voids
We got lost when we lost one of the Lost Boys
I knew we was impersonating a fraud
When Kay-Slay smacked my man at the awards
Regardless, it’s our fault as artists
Runnin’ with entourages who act like they ain’t never left the projects
Who do we wanna target
Will they put an Uncle Murda cd in a Wal-Mart or a Target
We got the nerve to not wanna hear Ras Kass
But fuck with V.I.C. ‘Get Silly’ and that trash
I felt ashamed
When J-Kwon told me he ain’t like Raekwon cause he stole his name
Was back when everybody in the club got tipsy
Now every contract gotta be 360
So fuck eatin’ better scrape the plate
Now every beat gotta at least have an 808
Did the lights get dim when we first heard Mims?
And said “Another New York rapper on the South tip”
Is it overcrowded?
They keep sayin “If it’s so fucked up, then do something about it”
I doubt it, there’s just one thing they don’t understand
That job is way bigger then just one man
Or maybe all of these pleas that it’s deceased
Is false and it’s right where it needs to be?
Maybe we built on something that’ll last forever
See ‘Face and Geto Boys just got back together
Maybe no one can stop us, even other genre’s now jock us
We even doin’ songs with the rockers
How is that the feelin’?
Kanye’s amazin’, Wayne just sold a Million
We closer to a ceilin’
How are we in a coma?
When we the only business you can excel without a diploma
Technology changed, made everything simple
Myspace is now a dude’s bio slash demo
Aside from this rap we generatin’ more money
We took it global and penetrated other countries
So let’s celebrate, sip some Cris’
Some more shit we embrace just to end up dissed
Go and buy the bar out so we can all get bent
Let’s go and cop a bunch of cars just to still pay rent
Or here’s another bright idea to entertain
Let’s go and put our face on the bottom of a chain
Are some of us just nigga rich, with nigga money
While jews keep laughin’, “Look at these nigga dummies”
Should Hip-Hop be a steppin’ stool
Till we find another role we can step into?
Some of us doin’ movies as a matter of fact
And some never stopped to plan life after rap
I mean, as a whole did we stop movin’ further
Around the time Snoop Dogg went on trial for murder?
Or was it Scarface creatin’ these clonies?
30 years later everybody’s still Tony
Maybe anybody complaining is deranged
Can you expect something to grow and not change?
We’re socially accepted, deviated our old route
To simplify the term we all sold out
I think I figured out who’s to blame
Started out Obama, ended up McCain
So we Kurt Cobain’d ourself and we’re defeated
So next time they ask “who killed it” tell em WE DID!!!