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January 20, 2008

Why New York Rap is Dead

**Disclaimer: This article was inspired by the fact that its 2008 and NY rap hasn’t had any prominence since ’98. **

It’s no secret New York’s hip hop scene has taken a backseat to them country boys in the South. The sad thing is it has been almost 10 long years that them boys south of the mason dixon have had a grip on the game. 10 long painful years, I might add. How did we get to this point? Isn’t New York the hip hop mecca? Didn’t we invent hip hop? Sure we had Fifty and those G-Unit guys for a minute, but Fifty was pretty much rappen with a twang when he was hot back in ’03. And as for Jigga, he’s loved so much, because he’s all we got. The purpose of this discussion is to figure out why New York ain’t on top. Check out the 5 reasons NY Rap is dead.

5. Jay-Z
From the 80′s and 90′s there was this idea of succession in NY, in which when you were the “Man” aka “King of NY” everyone for the most part agreed. Even though there were battles, they were fought with nobility and ultimately fostered camaraderie between rappers. At the end of the day, New York rappers supported New York rappers. Jay-Z changed things in the late 90′s-early 2000 by for no apparent reason going off on New York’s hip hop legends specifically Nas and Mobb Deep. Till this day, most believe Mobb hasn’t recovered the damage Hov did to them and most of us cynics regard Nas as a bitch for signing to Jay-Z’s Def Jam.

Jay-Z also didn’t give New York rappers a chance when he was trying to build his “dynasty”. Who were the first cats he put on? Philly niggas. Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Peedi, Young Guns, State Property, hell he was even trying to sign Major Figgas and Gillie. These guys are all okay, but are you telling me there was no one in NY that was as good as these guys? Come on there’s like 30 million people in the state, you could have got a dude from Buffalo who was better then any of these guys (I’m not even going to talk about Memphis Bleek here). Point here is Jigga marginalized the fans.

4. 50 Cent
Carrying on from where Hov left off, Fifty went on a rampage breaking down every single New York legend. We all know how Fifty is and his marketing strategies are no longer as effective, but by breaking down everyone from Wu-Tang to Jadakiss to Fat Joe, he made the fans take sides as if it were a war. We all know how lame it is to break down others to build yourself up, but for a big artist like Fifty to do it it only influenced the younger rappers to do it as well giving rise to the “crab in the bucket” mentality. Case in point, how many rappers had beef during this period? Everyone.

3. The Dirty South
I know saying “we invented hip hop” as an argument for saying “we should run hip hop” is just as futile as Ford saying “we invented the car, so we should make the best cars”. In many ways, the South is much like Japanese automakers in that they support one another at all levels. Toyota doesn’t want to destroy Honda but they both have a common vision to destroy GM, Ford and Chrysler. It is this shared vision of being put on the backburner for so long that has driven Southern rappers and Southern fans to unite in a common cause to take over the rap game. The south has invaded every national outlet from radio to tv to magazines. I guarantee Ozone magazine will be a bigger magazine than XXL in a few years. Contrary to what New York rappers say the South movement is not going to die. It just keeps moving from state to state (one day they got to run out of states though).

Moreover, the South is having a damn good time. It’s considered taboo for Southern rappers to diss each other and when they do they usually just fist fight and make up like brothers -far cry from the ultra gun toting NY rappers of the past. Radio hosts in the South never hate on artists or other radio stations. It’s pretty much all love. In short, southern music is fun and easy to digest and has been further elevated by the increase in interest in club and car culture across the country.

2. Record Labels, Video Channels, Radio, Internet
Simply stated, the media is not supporting the New York scene because it doesn’t generate any interest nation-wide. Since New York radio, isn’t trying to break any artist anymore, but rather just run the same playlists it’s nationally owned corporation tells them too, it doesn’t have an interest to play any independent artists. The indie NY artists are working hard and many of their management teams hit me off with audio and interviews, but the thing is even I ain’t feeling most of them, since the majority of visitors to this site come from all over the US. Would they really care about some indie NY artists who I think sucks?

1. New York Rappers
I don’t know if I’ve just become hard to impress or do NY spitters need to step their rap game up? I have no clue how some of these guys even get mentioned. Dudes like Joel Ortiz? Saigon? Tru Life? J.R. Writer? Jae Hood? Are you kidding me? These guys have maybe one thing going for them. Where is the total package? Right when Big Pun came out, I knew he was a star. Right when DMX came out, I knew he was star. Same with Fifty before he got shot. Even Nore. None of these new guys have that magical “it” quality (If you think you know someone who does, please hit me up). My point is what the hell happened to the breeding ground?

New York rappers inspired each other and the culture thrived producing superstars. Now rappers see Southern rappers get away with certain things and think “Hey I don’t have to think so hard about my lyrics I can just write the first thing that comes to mind and I’ll be successful too”. What this has done is kill New York’s style of rap, I call “witty thug rap”. It’s intelligent, fun and hard. No rapper in NY is doing this style anymore and it has opened up the door for rappers like Lil Wayne who now does a Southern variation of “witty thug rap” to appeal to the East Coast heads.

What do you think?

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57 Comments


 
 

  1. late

    I know im late to this and didnt get to read all comments but did anyone mention the generation gap as the cause for ny losing? Im from the south and am an 80s baby so i grew up a lyrical hip hop. Kids buying albums nowadays have no sense of what lyrical hip hop is because for the last ten plus years it has been pushed to the backburner and instead of all forms of hip hop being labeled as hip hop it has now taken on the label of ‘backpack underground or consious’ making it less appealing to the general masses. Its not only ny thats losing. There are many lyrical cats in the south that cant win such as field mob. The dumbing down of society had alot to do with where yhe direction of the music has headed. The lack of any kind of variety has hurt also. Hell…all these rappers are now popstars in my eyes.


  2. johnster

    Glad Rap is dead! Rap and the people that listen to it are DUMB as hell;the most stupid people on earth! Rap is not music;its just some Moron talking like some gang member. Rock and country are where its at!
    FUCK RAP!!!!! ITS A JOKE !


  3. Golden Child

    The sad thing about New York Rap is that everyone wants a record deal. This is the reason why promising NY rappers, like Ali Vegas, could never really get on because he went through several “bad deals” with major record labels. New York’s underground scene is not a thriving as other places in the country. In the 90′s, NY’s underground mixtape circuit was nothing short of legendary. But once Jay-Z brought NY to a new level of mainstream success without really taking anybody with him, it was a disaster. The best rappers from NY are well-known. I live on the East Coast. but I’m from the Bay. Out here on the East Coast, unless you have well-known veteran co-signing you and holding your hand on stage, no one will fuck with you. If Cam’Ron wasn’t holding Vado’s hand, NY wouldn’t fuck with him. If Illmatic wasn’t produced by DJ Premier, Large Professor or Pete Rock, no one would have ever listened to that album.

    The Bay is entirely different. 90% of Bay artists produce and distribute their own music independently and the locals gobble it up. It has been this way since Too $hort in the early 80′s. Not only that but the Bay has a huge following in many places from Kansas City to Seattle to Denver to Europe. Historically, places in the Deep South like Louisiana and Houston were influenced by the Bay’s sound and independent hustle. The Bay created the independent hustle that would make Master P, and later Cash Money, rich. The Bay makes music for the block and by the block. When you hear independent rappers from Frisco and Oakland spit they are spitting about things they really have done or seen because their main audience is the hood. Independent rappers make much more money that signed rappers on TV anyway. All of the old Roc-A-Fella roster like Beanie Sigel and Peedi Crack are broke because they fucked with Jigga man instead of going the independent route. The Bay doesn’t care about legions of fans in White America. This is the reason why industry rap trends like studio Blooding and Cripping has never taken off in the Bay because, well, there aren’t any Bloods or Crips in the Bay. The Bay is still putting out good music and high quality videos, it is just under the mainstream radar. New York needs to start supporting independent rappers as well because major record companies have been bleeding NY rappers to death for decades. Many old school NY rappers are broke today. My homie use to work with Danae Dane waiting tables in Jersey a few years ago. The only reason Jay-Z and 50 got rich was off of endorsements and their clothing companies.


  4. dar

    joel ortiz is nice


  5. Ladeeb

    I say, if NY power houses like Jay-Z or sell out Diddy actually took time and reached out to NY rappers and put them in the game, NY would be right back on the map. The south gives each other chances. NY gotta open doors for NY, because no one else is waiting and willing to do it. Radio has to start back playing fresh music. I get so tired of hearing the same dudes replayed over and over. The internet has become so vital in finding new artists because if it was left up to the radio, you would only find garbage. I’m from the south, but I always loved listening to up north rap because it had so much substance. It was like listening to a movie. Nowadays, listening to some of these down south albums is like you’re in a 24 hour club. However, artists like BIG K.R.I.T. are coming up. Artists that actually speak about life’s reality and struggles are trying to take it back to what rap was originally about. There’s a time to party and have your booty shakin music, but there’s more of a need of music that inspires and uplifts. So whoever does that, North, West, Mid-West, South, or East Coast, I’m down to listen. But as long as you have an industry fueled by people that don’t even listen to hip-hop, we’ll forever suffer.


  6. Bobby Stevens

    It cant be dead with young kids like this coming up

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sDGmPvWvZA&feature=channel_video_title


  7. god complex

    All I do is listen to nineties rap started off on nas and now I dont even listen to his rubbish anymore, you get what you want out of rap with the mutual respect for the style of the artist. I love raw rap, most of which is inappropriate to play publicly or bug out my friends. I find I need challenge and provoking lyrics to filter emotions without giving a care else. If the sound is raw doesnt matter where its from, although over time you will question your taste in said artists lyrics clashing with a perfectionism of beats vs lyrics through moral thinking. Although it looks bleak for rap for you maybe not because you can find new artists everyday still making good music e.g molemen, army of the pharoes. By the way jay-z got laz-y cant rap never could since queens. It seems he gave it in to continue his feminine style albums people wanna copy that? Timbaland can still make dance music its always been club beats anyway. You will find you wont like the truth behind rap whatever the case a good example is agent orange by cage on fondle em records- rest in peace. So whatever happens in fashion or tv I have only gotten more raw taste for rap on whole with worldwide prospects you just dont see this in media popularized because it can have negative affects on the social structure, in schools etc.


 
 



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