**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.
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?