[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou probably remember the days when you inserted a cassette tape, pressed down the record and play button on your stereo’s cassette player and recorded your favorite songs from the radio. I know I can remember anxiously awaited countdown radio shows to come air. However, obtaining free music has changed drastically throughout the years due to the internet. The internet features a number of downloading programs that allow users to upload and share music with others. This trend of pirating music has skyrocketed to epic proportions, despite efforts to stop it. And sadly in one sense, our favorite hip hop artists are amongst the artists who have the most pirated albums and songs. On the other hand, it’s nice to know that hip hop remains a popular music genre.

[quote ]According to numerous online sources, Rihanna’s Talk That Talk album was the most downloaded album of 2012. Other top-ranked pirated albums include Drake’s The Motto and Kanye and Jay-z’s The Throne. These are all hip hop albums, so you may be wondering why hip hop is the most pirated genre of music. [/quote]

For one, hip hop music is very popular. Tune into some of the popular radio stations. Usually, they play a combination of different types of music; however, hip hop tends to be a staple. With beats ideal for dancing and some jams that can really put you in the mood, it’s not wonder it’s so popular. Did we mention that some hip hop music is inspiring as well?

Obviously, much of the music today is downloaded by the younger generation. And who is hip hop music geared toward? Everyone, but television and the media oftentimes markets hip hop artists to the younger crowd, who is quite internet savvy. Programming on stations like MTV feature a great deal of hip hop, rap and R&B, and a majority of those watching the channel are younger fans.

With hip hop music being so diverse and oftentimes having a relatable topic, it attracts a wide variety of people ranging from the teenage girl sitting in her bedroom to the 30-some-year-old man grinding in the club. For these reasons, it’s not surprisingly that it’s commonly downloaded illegally. Plus, the genre offers more mellow jams and upbeat dance songs, so there’s something for everyone. The hip hop industry has also merged with other popular genres like country – i.e. Nelly and Tim McGraw’s “Over and Over Again,” and  Neyo and Tim McGraw’s “She Is,” – to produce truly unique sounds that bring hip hop and country fans together. Another example is the ever-growing trend of combining hip hop with rock, such as Run DMC and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” which is one of the best known hip hop songs fused with another kind of music. Other blended song examples include “Numb Encore” by Jay-z and Linkin Park and “Bring the Noise” by Public Enemy and Anthrax. Because of mixed genre songs, hip hop is being exposed to listeners of other genres and drawing in more listeners than ever before. You can’t forget that those who create mixtapes for a living oftentimes turn to hip hop music to create mixes.

The piracy of the hip hop genre obviously harms the number of jobs in the field and the artists, but it’s reassuring that this variety of music is here to stay and that our favorite artists are being listened to and recognized as true talents, even if they’re not reaping the financial benefit from it.

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