There used to be great Rap in the 80's and early 90's with the liked of Grand Master Flash, Public Enemy, Nwa, De la soul, Eric B and Rakim, Whodini, and Wu Tang Clan and all these guys had a message with thier stuff, some cool samples and interesting lyrics but Modern Rap as they call it is rubbish, it's too many samples/Covers from 70's/80's out there and it's all about Hoes, Cars, Clothes and Cash, it's not only the lyrics that are pointless but also the sound of the music is way to commercial. Rap has officially died.
In one sense you're right... there's so much commercial crap out there, and that's what passes as hip-hop culture nowadays: talentless chancers talking crap about stuff only thick people could ever give a shit about. Hello, Ja Rule, you twat; if I wanted to hear some bloke shouting gruff nonsense I'd go and poke a tramp with a stick. As for P fucking Diddy, just, like, DIE.
But rap's not dead: there's some amazing underground stuff out there, and simultaneously commercial hip-hop (and r'n'b) is responsible for some of the most thrillingly innovative sounds around. For the former, look at Saul Williams, Anti-Pop Consortium and Sarah Jones; for the latter, see Missy Elliott, Dr Dre and the Neptunes.
Missy Elliott is possibly the single most important woman in American music right now - she's a performer, songwriter, producer, label boss, Svengali, style maven and untroubled member of the bling-ocracy all in one. And she's GOOD - Get Ur Freak On was one of the most astounding things I heard in 2001. And she raps with the most incredible charisma.
Choco - right on about all of those except Lil Bow Wow, who is an irritating little shit, and Jay Z, who I just find really annoying and an example of everything bad about commercial hip-hop. Haven't heard of Redman - hang on, isn't he the one who duetted with la Aguilera? Oh dear.
Oh yes, and a mention must go to the one and only PRINCESS SUPERSTAR.