What is Hip Hop REALLY worth to you?

I was conversing with Dave House of Interscope records this morning and a topic came up.  Now, aside from the “hip hop is supposedly dead” topic, we were wondering why urban music seems to fall off the Soundscan charts much quicker than other genres.  Especially, on the top 20 charts on Soundscan.

One example would be the Kanye vs. 50 Cent “sell off” during September 11, 2007.  If you remember, Kenny Chesney (country artist), also dropped his album the same day.  Now, we all know who won that battle between Kanye & 50 cent, but, if we look at the chart TODAY, Kenny Chesney drops this week to #50, while Kanye drops to #158 and 50 Cent is off the top 200 list.

Now, take Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” album. Dispite illegal downloading, he was able to sell over 1 million copies during the first week’s release. Does this mean that his fans felt that it was more important to own an actual piece of Lil Wayne? I see this happening with other genres (country, rock/alternative, jazz, pop) from time to time.  Their fans seem to buy anything that their favorite artists put out just to simply own a piece of them. Maybe they include “making of” DVDs, posters, concert tickets, etc. inside of the CD cases as an incentive?

Another theory we came up with was that some urban consumers were simply buying the album (during the release) and sharing/burning/copying it with friends.  This would probably explain why albums usually rise and fall off the Soundscan charts almost immediately the following weeks after the release.

Could it be that urban consumers simply don’t feel as if the Hip Hop product is worth buying/owning anymore?