Is The Cost of The Hip-Hop Lifestyle Affecting Sales?

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The one uncanny thing about hip-hop culture that even I don’t understand, is the amount of money that it takes to live it. Maybe I should put that as, The amount of money that rappers say you should be spending to live it. As I really analyze music as a whole, its subject matter and spending habits, it’s starting to make sense to me why rap music is on a fast decline as far as record sales yet, everybody looks like they could afford to by 10 copies of 1 album per week of their favorite artist and have change.

How you want it? My Jeans is $300 – Jay-Z [Show You How]

Just bought a shirt that cost a Mercedes Benz car note – 2 Chainz [All Me]

To the fan who is obsessed with “Living the Culture” how can you not expect them to run out and try to exercise the type of buying power as the lyrics stated above? I mean, you’re not official till you look the part right? If you can’t get the shades, the chains, jeans and J’s you not really in it right? WRONG!

In my humble opinion, I believe the materialistic bars of a lot of our favorite rappers has become the death to some of our pockets and their record sales. Why? Because too many fans would rather look fly and download your music for free, than develop their own style of fly and purchase your new project off of iTunes. That would make two individuals helping out each other “For The Love” and keeping hip-hop the creative, eclectic culture that it started out being.

As crazy as it may seem, thousands maybe even millions of fans, young and old, feel pressure to buy the latest J’s, cop those PRPS Jeans and get that chain and shades with the white v-neck tee because that’s what has been identified as the “Fly Guy Guide” in hip-hop. I know some fans Thank God for the West Coast and Wiz Khalifa because Chucks will always be in style.

Ladies: Bags and Heels. Then for rappers to say they buying it, PLUS “flying you out” it’s not much a modest earning man can do for you outside of “On our Anniversary…”

When a rich n**ga want you…and your n**ga can’t do nothing for you – Chris Brown

This type of pressure isn’t seen really in rock, pop and country. That may definitely be why it sells more. You hear a country song and it gets no more materialistic than, “jeans, boots, pickups, and rifles”. Kenny Chesney probably wears Wrangler Jeans. Now his boots might be the price of Jordan’s maybe even more but, you don’t hear him singing about having a pair of boots for everyday of the week or giving his fans the chance to count his pockets by singing “These boots cost a Ford F-150 Car note”.

There are even “Urban wear Boutiques” now! So NOW, the $150 pair of Jordan’s are $275 and if you want you can buy a $40 t-shirt to match it. How is that feasible? How did we as a culture okay selling street wear at “High End Fashion” prices? It’s hard to pay the light bill with those prices let alone buy a concert ticket or CD. You have no disposable income before sales tax is included. If you got it, you got it and more power to you but, a bigger portion of the hip-hop community just doesn’t have it like that. No need to have a $1,000 presentation to sit on the couch and text. Jay-Z front row tickets are in the Hundreds. Kid Rock’s tickets were 25$ and Kid Rock has sold MILLIONS MORE Records than Jay-Z has. I’ll go on record and say Jay-Z will NEVER Catch Kid Rock in sales…He still needs to catch Eminem, Nelly and 50…but hey Numbers Don’t Lie right?

Is the issue the culture or the messenger? That’s another debate in itself. What I do think is rap has gotten a tad too “Purchase This To Be This Guy” and artist are becoming less relatable. I don’t ever remember LL Cool J actually rapping about his Kangol but, I do know his flow and his image made you want one and the cost is something you only dealt with at the register.

Another thing to remember from a kids or just young adult fan perspective is that not everyone can afford the same things. High School is hard enough socially without pocket counting because of what you can afford or not.

I wear Levis. Why? Because I’m my own man and to be honest I can’t think of a reason to buy PRPS Jeans which I haven’t seen cost less than $150 and on their actual site at LEAST $180!

Now I will say a nice wallet and belt of the high end persuasion is justified. If you buy the right one you can have it for years and they won’t even crease. Plus if it does fall victim to wear and tear it can get replaced for the Free99.

I’ve never owned a pair of Jordan’s and I’m FROM Illinois and came up in the Jordan Era! Once I started making my own money spending $150 on shoes didn’t seem like the move, especially when I KNEW I wanted DMX, Big Pun and the new Jay-Z Album. Sure, everyone’s priorities are different but, just take a second to think about why?

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