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