Wednesday, April 22, 2009




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.



Kingsmomma said...

So true, So true
Very Sad but true

Bobby A. said...

In my opinion the MCs in the south still can't rap. Sure they can make a hot track, but really rap the way it should be done.... Please. No disrespect to Wayne, but my truth is that he is one in a million of fakers.

Keith said...

Yeah Man and that is so sad...
I hate this bubble gum ish that they play on the radio now..That's why I went back to listening to R&B and Neo soul(hate that term)

Where are the new Jay Z's, the new
DMX's , the next Nas? I wish someone would step up.

xcentricgem said...

I feel so deeply about this ...

I was chatting with my son telling him that when he grows up and looks back at the music he liked .. his age group will probably say 'Man .. I don't see why that song was so hot .. why did we listen at that...' This conversation derived from him giving 'Stanky Leg' instructions.

When we look back .. the music still has relevance ... I don't think that NY is gone ... its just that they are our age and some of us are not likely to rush out and get the new JayZ cd (I would) ... Its just not the same feeling ... going to a Big Daddy Kane concert and he's got a gray beard and 'pot-belly' .... who needs those constant remiders that at our age ... we have no business out there and they have no business rapping .... WOW!!! I'm so upset ....

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

MC's like them in the day is a dying bred

Will said...

I don't know about that, Family. Bubble gum rap has always been around and it didn't originate in the south. Remember "The Pee Wee Herman" and "Rapping Duke"? There has been and always will be a place for those kinds of songs in music. Every genre (and generation) has to deal with that.

Don't forget about the lyrical talent of MC Shy D and Pastor Troy back in the late 80's. Both from the "A". Did you also forget about the lyrical talent of the Mr. Scarface and the Ghetto Boys? That's Texas; also from the late 80's. UGK was local heros at that time. Do we discount the lyrical talent of Bun B? Maybe we wouldn't call some of their songs lyrical, but these cats had (and still have) lyrical ability.

NY M.C.'s will always be "lyrical" but lyrical dosen't matter if you don't move the crowd. Face it. A hot freestyle doesn't make a hot song. Again artists in every genre have to balance their artistic vision with the taste of the record buying public. It's been that way, it will be that way.

The NY MC's who are still selling recognize that you have to reach the listener where he or she is. The responsibility of delivering the message belongs to the speaker (rapper). You can't speak French to an English speaking audience and blame the audience for not being interested; no matter how eloquent your message is!

JZ always wanted to spit underground, but he would be irrelevant right now if that's all he had done. I think the whole of Pop Culture is better off for him having regognized the need to balance lyricisim with the creation of a hot song. Lauren Hill and Wyclef Jean managed to do it. (Still wishing Lauren had not lost her damn mind!) if any rapper wants to remain relevant he better learn it.

And as far as Southern rappers not being lyrical, there are a lot of so call "lyrical" NY cats who don't want to see Lil Scrappy, Big Boi, Andre 3000, T.I., Young Dro, and others in the cipher. Believe That!

Angel said...

I really know what it means when they say hip hop is dying...

The Dreamy One said...

I know you love New York hip hop but it was time for a change.

who knows maybe it will come back!!!

ShellyShell said...

This post is true and so SAD!

I miss Eric B and the god Rakim and all the others! They were saying something and moving the crowd!

I'm going to agree with BobbyA. MC's in the south can't rap. Yeah you have Andre 3000 an Scarface but everyone else to me is GARBAGE! Wayne's shyt is hot because of the beat. Because he's NOT dropping science on us! Shyt I heard my cousin spit better lyrics!
Yeah, you have some cookie cutter shyt. Evere genre does but this shyt that's on the radio is GARBAGE! Although I do like that Busta!

I think Jay-z is pretty wack. I've been saying it for years and people get on me but I don't give a damn! I'll put Reasonable Doubt against anyone one of his albums! The one thing I can say for him is that he evolved. He can't be 39 and a multi-millionaire talking about ho's,cars and hustling! So, he's spittin what's real to him now. I can respect that. I just don't think his game is that on point! I bought the new Jadakiss album and I like it but he's still talking about all that shty! I know he doesn't have Jay paper but damn he has a little loot...Hmm maybe not he was with Puffy! Anyway he still spits some hot lyrics but he's not mainstream so he's not going to get the play. Although in NY they play him a lot!

All in all hip hop is wack! I don't think it's coming back to where we want it!


12kyle said...

@ Kingsmomma
That's where we are right now

@ Bobby
I think there are some MCs from the South...but there aint a lot of em. I think Wayne is ok. I mean, he's on every track so he's kinda been forced on us. He spits when he wants to...problem is most of the time...he doesn't want to

@ Keith
Whoever the "next" MC outta NYC is...he betta come with it. Radio has virtually ignored them

@ xcentricgem
Lmao @ stanky leg convos with kids

Sometimes I wonder if it's just me getting older. But I don't think it is. Music just aint music no more. And I know that sounds like the old dude who wants hip hop to come back...but maybe that's what I am. LoL

@ rawdawgbuffalo
Mannnn, you aint neva lied!

@ Will
Not sayin that we didn't have weak raps back in our day. The problem is that almost every song today is the equivalent to the "Pee Wee Herman" song from back in the day. And mainstream radio is passing it off as a hit. That's scary. Cats aren't even trying to be lyrical anymore.

@ Angel
It's on life support

@ Dreamy
I agree. Music moves in cycles. It's a whooooole lotta folks who are waiting on that cycle to come back around.

@ ShellyShell
I would say that there are more than a handful of southern spitters. The problem is they get "lumped in" with the likes of the Laffy Taffy Dudes, Stanky Leg Boys, and Ashy Face Crew (lol)

Miss Mika said...

Big brotha CBW,

For me, it isn't really a matter of what coast the talent comes from, so long as there is talent there. I am a lover of TALENT, and the crap that is played on the radio today... is NOT talent (with the exception of a small few). When they start signing some talented artist and not these kids who are trying to commercialize rather than immortalize the true meaning of hip hop, THEN and only THEN will I start listening to the radio in support. Until then, my CDs will suffice.

Rashan Jamal said...

no argument with anything you said. If Jim Jones represents NY Hip Hop, then NY Hip Hop is gone. I hope someone can get it together, cuz that's my favorite type of hip hop. The NY, lyrical, boom bap type...

~Ms. Moore~ said...

DITTO to you and excentricgem. I believe I am probably the oldest blogger on your site. Even though I can appreciate JayZ and Big Daddy Kane I do not want to see them perform on stage,or in a video and I do not want them to release any CD’s without the title being …greatest hits. LL seems to have aged less than most other rappers his age (and older), but because I know how old he is even he needs to let it go.
I have a theory maybe these new HIP HOP artist sound bad because they look bad or vice versa---IDK. Run DMC made jeans and sneakers look good. LL and Cool Moe Dee made jogging suits and Members Only jackets look good. Even Heavy D dressed to impress as a big man. I know that styles come and go and change constantly but the styles now are amongst the worst things ever. I will be very happy when this sloppy look goes out. Yes the sagging jeans and t-shirts as long as a dress and 3 sizes too big disturb me. We as a people, (yes us black people) most of us have always had a sense of style and good taste even if we had to spend our last dime on an outfit we still looked good even if we just went to the corner store.
But I digress. I am truly tired of tracks with hot beats that make you want to get up and dance before you even think about what is being said. Then when you stop and listen to the lyrics you have to ask “WHAT ARE THEY SAYING AND WHY”?

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

I don't think we'll ever experience the talent the pioneers brought to the game. I listened to a Rakim piece the other day, pure cussing and all that mess...just the truth. I read somewhere that Kool Herc is in his mid-50s I miss those days.

*a little teardrop is sliding down my face*

The F$%K it List said...

As die hard as I am for my city, Its so true.

Jadakiss is an awesome artist but his style is too hard for any cross over success and there is no one else I would see Rep my city currently. As for the originators they've done their jobs and no matter how the wind blows NY did their job, we gave the world a culture.
Don't fret we will be back when its time. Hip Hop is not Hip Hop without us, which is evident by the current state of music.

Ya'll aint ready for it!

Anonymous said...

dang took me waaaaaay back. Ok, will I see your point. Everyday Im hearing music from the south...not even so much from the west...but lets just hope that NY is not dead....and still in the

Eb the Celeb said...

HARLEM is still int he house... HAAAAAATER!

Bet I wont be showing you around NYC this summmer... hmpf!