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Are Hip-Hop and Rap Music Going Out of Style?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," March 1, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Time now for "Big Entertainment." Drugs, guns, sex: that's the message people are getting from much of hip-hop music. Well, now it looks like people might just be getting sick of it all.

Sales of rap and hip-hop are down, way down, about 21 percent just this last year. Bill Cosby has been speaking out against some of this hip-hop for years, saying that some of it puts down women, glorifies violence, and pushes the lifestyle of mindless bling gangsters.

So is rap music's push for a gangster lifestyle finally bad for business? Helen Little is the programming director of Power 105.1, a radio station for hip-hop and R&B music here in New York City.

So, sales down, somebody finally reacting to stuff that treats women bad and glorifies violence?

HELEN LITTLE, POWER 105.1 PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Partly. You've got to figure that there are a lot of people who have said I'm not going to participate in this because that's one of the things that is a message that people who are in favor of more positive music say. If you don't like it, don't buy it. And I think maybe that message is starting to sink in. But at the same time there are other issues that could be a part of that, such as the economy.

GIBSON: What do women say? I'm not going to — everybody knows what these recordings call women. I don't need to say it here.

LITTLE: No, you don't.

GIBSON: I don't need to say it here. But women hear this stuff and they hear them being treated badly. This is pure misogamy in a lot of cases. So what do black women say to you about what you put on your radio station?

LITTLE: Well, I think the people that listen to the radio station — one, I play edited versions of everything, so you don't hear that on the radio. So the people that have a concern, voice a concern, they also have the option, too. If you don't want to hear it and we're playing it, which we don't, you can turn it off.

At the same time, people that do have strong opinions usually aren't fans of the music. They express theirselves, they may even rally against it. But at the same time you do have women who will guiltily say well I don't like what they say, but I like the way it makes the dance — I can dance to it and things like that.

GIBSON: Those are good reasons, but has there been sort of an ethic on the business side of this music business to push this stuff, and that maybe record executives are starting to say oops, maybe we pushed people too far?

LITTLE: Well, I don't know if it's necessarily been pushed. I found that even working in a record company that if it starts to take off, they follow it as opposed to they put it out there and if it starts to warm up, they go chasing it. Then they push it a little bit more and what happens also is, ok, this is starting to take off. Let's stay with this trend, let's see what else happens. Let's see if it's going to generate more dollars. So maybe now the fact that 21 percent down is going to wake up a few people and try something different. I don't know.

GIBSON: Helen Little is the programming director at Power 105.1, a radio station that plays hip-hop here in New York City. Helen, thank you very much for coming in.

LITTLE: Thank you.

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