Neither is Queens, Bronx, Mahattan, or Staten Island.
New York is gone...gone from the landscape of hip hop.
When I say that New York is gone, I don't mean it literally. There are still some great MCs that rep the Big Apple. However, the landscape of rap in New York has changed. Can it make a comeback? I dunno.
If you're like me and grew up in the 80s/90s, then you saw some of the best MCs come from NYC. Quite frankly, back then most of the dudes from the South couldn't rap. Back in '88, you had MCs like Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Kool G Rap, LL Cool J, etc. The South could only offer regional acts like 2 Live Crew. That's not a diss to Uncle Luke (love that dude) but the South had no voice. I grew up in South Carolina and New York MCs was where it was at.
As we moved into the early 90s, the balance of power shifted to the West. The Death Row era was in full swing with Dr. Dre, Snoop, Dogg Pound, Tupac, etc. There was also a movement brewing in the South with Master P (No Limit), Outkast, Goodie MoB, Geto Boys, UGK, etc. When it looked like New York would be lost in the shift, hip hop was gonna flow back through New York. The next wave brought the likes of NaS, Jay Z, Biggie, Wu-Tang, DMX (and the whole Ruff Ryder crew).
Some said New York MCs were back. Some said that they had never left. As we moved in to the early '00s, New York MCs have sorta drifted away. Or did they? If you look at hip hop right now, who's the lyrical MC that will carry the torch? Dudes like NaS, Jay Z, LL are all on the downsides of their careers. 50 Cent? I dunno how "lyrical" he is b/c he spends so much time starting childish beefs. A few years ago, magazines had pegged MCs like Jadakiss,Papoose, Joel Ortiz, Joe Budden (NJ), Saigon, etc to lead the movement of bringing back "the lyrical New York MC." But a combination of slow sales, bad record deals, and the influence of "bubble gum/microwave rap" has pushed NYC out of the limelight.
I don't think NYC is gone from hip hop. But NYC MCs used to run the playground. Nowadays, they hope to get a chance to get in the park.