I read the whole post, but I just don’t think some artists will “fade away” or fall off. They’ll just grow up and do other things. The whole time I’m reading this, I’m thinking about how ASAP Rocky lost his mind when Rakim walked into the room, during the Angie Martinez interview. He wanted to call his mother and was just fanning out. Eminem gushes over Redman. Nicki Minaj fans felt like her dating Nas was a step up for her, not him. Even on Jay Z’s worst album, he’s still someone who people consistently pay attention to musically.
Of course that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some artists who go another route. But hell, even T.I. mentioned Troyman (from “Rhythm + Flow”) is “Will Smith if he did trap music.” Will Smith — who barely if ever does any music at all but had the whole Twitterverse gasping over that rap he did last year about “if I throw my money up, I might kill a stripper” — is still a topic of conversation for artists who are still popular right now. MC Lyte is forever getting contacted for hip-hop shows, awards ceremonies, etc. Yo Yo spent time as a mentor before randomly getting on “Love & Hip Hop Hollywood” and not acting an ass the entire season.
If your “favorite hip-hop artist” was still in the same mindset as they were when they first came out, we’d view them as the senior player at the nightclub, still trying to pick up women who just moved out of mom’s house. They’re supposed to get older and move into different territories, as does anyone in their respective careers. Still though, anyone who says “Who?” if I mention Rakim Allah deserves absolutely none of my time.