So hip-hop is in trouble? Sales are down? The music's lost its edge? Sorry, but weren't we just saying those exact same things about rock a few years ago? And it turned out that rock wasn't dead at all - you just had to know where to look for it. Which turned out to be any place other than commercial rock radio and the Billboard charts.
Like rock, and its surprisingly close cousin, punk rock, hip-hop started outside the mainstream and has come perilously close to being co-opted by that mainstream. All those pretty little pieces of paper with dead presidents on them, you know... But I actually think there's a lot of really interesting hip-hop being made now. Again, you just have to know where to look - and as indie-rock is where the interesting rock music is made these days, indie-hop is booming too. I'm partial to Mr. Lif and P.O.S. myself, but you can make a pretty long list of creative rappers whose music you won't hear on Z-100. So take that fork out of hip-hop... it's not done yet.