Victor Vazquez and Himanshu Suri from Das Racist respond on Flavorpill, and they make a lot of good points:
Concepts like “periods” and even “genre” are loose collections of tropes that have no inherent meaning but rather contextual meanings that are only useful to the extent to which they can help organize texts. The point at which they actually serve to define texts is when they can enter a lens of scrutiny so intense as to render them meaningless.
In the article, SFJ describes Jay-Z and Kanye’s new work and the work of Kid Cudi as “hip-hop by virtue of rapping more than sound,” describing the “sound” as mostly ”blues-based swing” (a term he also uses in A Paler Shade of White) as opposed to the “four-on-the-floor thump” or “European pulse, simpler and faster and more explicitly designed for clubs” that is “replacing” that swing. But even ignoring the fact that “rapping” is technically a “sound” (arguably the single defining “sound” of the genre, and even that is not entirely true, considering sing-rapping like Bone Thugz N’ Harmony et al.) and that music “explicitly designed for clubs” seems hardly antithetical to rap (or hip-hop or whatever you want to call it), what seems even more contradictory is that SFJ himself admits that rap is “a spinoff from New York City’s early disco culture” which is not only almost definitively about “four-on-the-floor thump” but itself shares roots with black American soul and funk.
And actual “swing” vs. “thump” argument aside, European dance music is nothing new to rap. In perhaps the most obvious example of this, Kraftwerk, the quintessential German techno band, has been sampled by everyone from Afrika Bambaataa to Jay-Z. Sampling has helped make rap’s “sound” not only diverse but literally referential in a way that serves to weaken the notion of genre as even a relevant question and make a lot of questions about origin and period seem fairly moot. All this is to say nothing of where Dancehall, Reggaeton, and Bhangra fit into all of this as other types of electronic music that are not European but that inform and are informed by “hip-hop” and further complicate its status as a genre. The more you look at the idea of genre as a collection of tropes, the less there seem to be any one single trope that holds sway over the rest.
[...] Rap (nor anything else) needs not necessarily be viewed in terms of origins or boundaries, births or deaths. Genre is a construction whose analytical use is primarily economic in nature. The study of genre is largely the study of marketing.