I second that Rasheed. I listen to just Christian Rap now since '96, but I grew up on Old School - 90's Hip Hop. Speaking of which, I can't believe we're discussing Old School and no one's mentioned Sugar Hill Gang, Get Fresh Crew, Salt 'N' Pepa, MC Shan, MC Lyte?!? But I digress...
Even though I stopped listening to what's on the radio eleven years ago(for the most part) and I'm Christian, even as a general hip-hop fan it saddens me that the creativity and versatility is...well, not dead, but it's in ICU. Everybody talks about the same exact thing - money, drugs, sex, guns, or how they're the best pimp/rapper/hustler (these days, hard to tell the difference, so many cats finance their albums off drug money) out there. In the 90's, you could have 100 rappers talking about 200 different things.
Musical production has improved since then, but it's wasted on less than innovative lyrical content. There's really a handful of cats that actually talk about something, like Mos Def, Talib, Common to name a few. There's others that have the potential but forsake it for record sales. Jay-Z could easy be spittin conscious complex lyrics, but he numbs his stuff down because it won't sell as much. Kanye does it on occasion, but not enough.
I'm not saying rappers should all be like Public Enemy and X Clan, but they owe it to themselves and their fans to challenge themselves and not settle for cookie cutter subject matters.