Ask any hip-hop fan what they think of the modern state of the craft, and you'll generally get two answers: They either hate it or love it. Some people (commonly referred to as 'old heads') believe the culture has lost it's way recently, claiming a lack of emphasis on the more verbal and oral aspects of the genre.
The omnipresence of auto-tune and 'mumble' rap has turned some older hip-hop fans sour, with many citing a lack of lyrical depth, message, and flow. This may or may not be true, it's completely subjective to your own tastes and opinions. But Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am has weighed in on the topic in an interview with Rolling Stone, stating that he thinks hip-hop has lost an element of skill to make:
"What’s the number-one sport on the planet? Soccer, because anyone can play it," Will responded when asked about why hip-hop is the most popular genre at the moment.
The problem with hip-hop is everybody could do it. It doesn’t take much f**king skill right now to make hip-hop.
"It’s become the lowest-hanging fruit. It’s no longer about Rakim-level, Nas-level, not the deep, metaphorical simile shit. Out of respect for the Nases of the world, let’s not call it hip-hop. Let’s say that’s rap. But instrumental music is going to be the next biggest shit."
He continues from there, saying that listeners are yearning for more complex and skill-orientated music:
"That’s the only way to prove intelligence or taste: demonstrating your artistry," he explained. "Right now we’re competing human on human, and eventually we’ll be competing human on machine – the moment there’s a fucking AI mumble rapper [laughs] . . . it’s inevitable, bro!"