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Obscurus Rappus Maximus: Is The New York Rapper Becoming Extinct?

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I tend to think of the NYC absence in the Hip-Hop mainstream as our

fault.  It’s like putting grandma in a home and never going to visit

her.  You have heard all the stories.  You remember all the lessons and

have applied them to your day to day. You don’t think there is anything

else she can say or do that you haven’t already experienced. So you

tend to your own life, forgetting that she is one of the reasons you

are here in the first place. Damn ungrateful ass brat.

 I

don’t think there is anyone in this culture who can’t trace one of the

reasons they love Hip-Hop to someone from New York City. Waxing

nostalgic tends to be an exercise in futility in such an evolutionary

genre, but looking back on New York Hip-Hop of yesteryear can be quite

the romantic experience for people. Not that New Yorkers particularly

want folks to do that.  It’s probably in giving too much credence to

the past that we lose what these people are doing today. Kind of like

with grandma.  If you think what she has already given you is all she

has to offer, then you wont pay attention to anything new she’s trying

to present.

 There are some folks I’ve spoken with who really

believe the fall of New York is New York’s fault.  Defrosted and warmed

over “heard it before” production; a serious lack of creativity and

maybe a bit of the crabs in a barrel mentality have plagued the once

great city and its artists.  This, I have issues with as the South

seems to have a more cookie cutter pattern than any region I’ve ever

seen, yet it works. If creativity was the problem then 90% of rappers

wouldn’t be rapping, regardless of what area of the country they are

from.  That leaves a lack of unity, but that of course would be a

symptom of the fall off, not the cause.

 So what is it?  Jay,

Nas, 50 and Busta have all been around for a long time.  While they

still put out stuff their respective fan bases enjoy from time to time,

how much longer can we expect them to? And who exactly are they going

to will their crowns to? Maino? No disrespect to dude, but he wouldn’t

be able to carry 5 boroughs on his back too far. And speaking of the

one new ray of light emanating from the black hole known as the New

York mainstream, the attention didn’t shift in his direction until he

got a southern co-sign.  So could that be the fix?  Does T.I. need to

start a label just for wayward, under-appreciated New York emcees?  Is

the North East in need of a down home southern fried rescue? I really

hope that isn’t the case because tainting the boom bap with leaning and

snapping is just ass.  Really, it is.

 Maybe it’s the

onslaught of participants.  I haven’t been to New York in years, but I

swear it seems like every other guy is a rapper these days.  It might

be the saturation of the industry with decent talent that leads to

everyone getting a paper thin slice of the attention pie. Hell if I

know.

 Maybe New York is just a done deal.  That wealth of

talent will simply have to sit on the sidelines and accept their

minimal consideration as the best it’s going to get.  It does appear

that the rest of the country has moved on in a major kind of way. 

There is a southern arrogance that talks some of the artists down here

into believing their reign is perpetual, but most of us know better. 

I’ll bet a million dollars there were plenty of New Yorkers thinking

the same thing 10 years ago. So what is there to do?  Short of finding

and removing the screws they used to install that glass ceiling  that’s

keeping the north east out of the spotlight, all we can do is pay a

little attention and respect to the birthplace of the music. Support

the folks that you feel by actually purchasing their music and last but

not least, find some time to go visit grandma.

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