Via New York Times:
And then, inevitably, the adopters and interlopers begin to succeed on their own terms, which leads to phenomena like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” and Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.” For the last few weeks “Thrift Shop” has been the No. 1 song in the country, according to the Billboard Hot 100, and since the beginning of February “Harlem Shake” — more specifically, the first 30 seconds of it — has been the soundtrack for the latest viral dance-video craze. Both songs have been hovering at or near the top of the iTunes sales chart.
Depending on your lens, this reflects a tremendous cultural victory for hip-hop or the moment when hip-hop, as a construct, begins to lose meaning. What it really portends is hip-hop’s centerless future, in which its elements and references will be widely up for grabs — even more so than they are now — and used in unanticipated ways, inevitably weakening the center, and maybe undoing it altogether.