The mainstream press has never paid hip hop more attention than in this moment, yet has never seemed less informed or less invested in examining and explicating what lies before it. The slapdash lists are more about marketing and giving people something to shout about than any genuine appreciation for or reckoning with hip hop history or culture. We can’t stop talking about hip hop, but we aren’t saying much of anything. Why is that?Part of it is inevitability. As Succession’s Logan Roy proclaimed, “money wins.” Greg Tate (RIP) wrote that story on hip hop’s 30th birthday. In December of 2004, Tate assured that “twenty years from now we’ll be able to tell our grandchildren and great-grandchildren how we witnessed cultural genocide: the systematic destruction of a people’s folkways.” Back then Tate laughed at the people who gathered for a birthday party when, in his view, they were really presiding over a funeral. Hip hop had died, the moment it fully married into global hyper-capitalism.Of course, people have been declaring hip hop’s death for so long, and with such enthusiasm, that it has become as hackneyed a trope as any in the discourse. Back in 1984 Tony Van Der Meer, in his intro to David Toop’s book The Rap Attack, wrote, “It’s very simple: Hip hop has become a public relations and marketing strategy that promotes and sells products to the youth.” Again: in 1984. Van Der Meer saw Wild Style and was like, “It’s a wrap.” Hip hop hadn’t even seen its Golden Age!