FEATURE: How Ya Like Them Apples?

Joell Ortiz remembers finding out he was on bad terms with his boss. It was June 26, 2007, and the rapper, who was signed to Aftermath Records, a subsidiary of Interscope, was schmoozing at the Def Jam after-party for the 2007 BET Awards. He hadn’t been invited to Interscope’s bash, and here he received a complimentary bottle of Champagne. But it wasn’t just the snub that tipped him off.

That night, he ran into a guy from Interscope “who spilled the beans.” He told Ortiz he was on “thin ice” at the label. The knockout blow followed: “It sucks, man,” said the label guy. “Jimmy”—that’s Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine—“doesn’t want you up there.”

Ortiz was perplexed. After all, he’d done nothing wrong. The Brooklyn-born MC knew how to make records (“When I went to Aftermath, I was already a seasoned steak”), didn’t ravage the label’s budget (“I didn’t get that deal and live that movie; I didn’t go to Sony Studios or the superbig producers”), and had never crossed Iovine, either on the phone (“We never spoke”) or in person (“We never met”). But here he was, apparently in danger of being dropped. “I left that party a little upset,” Ortiz says.

There were other signals that he wasn’t a priority at the label. Ortiz’s manager, Mike “Heron” Herard, remembers he “could not get the person who does digital marketing for Interscope on the phone” and claims Interscope ignored repeated requests from Rockstar Games to use Ortiz in Grand Theft Auto IV. “[Rockstar Games] finally got in touch with me, but they originally went through Interscope, who never reached out to us. That was such a clear sign for me that we weren’t going to stay there.”

Rather than landing in Jimmy Jail—industry slang for being shelved at Interscope if the album isn’t a guaranteed hit—Ortiz asked for his release. (According to his camp, handing over a record Dr. Dre wanted, presumably for inclusion on Detox, expedited the process.) And by February 2008, Joell Ortiz was no longer on the Aftermath roster.

So rapper and label part ways. Big deal, right? Happens all the time. But Joell Ortiz is a gifted lyricist with mixtape chops and a devoted following. He was on the cover of XXL. He had a video added to BET. He was supposed to be the MC who could “bring New York back.” But, then again, so was Saigon. And Papoose. And Tru Life. And Uncle Murda. All five New York rappers signed with a major label. Not one released an album. And not one is still signed.

Nothing could get them a release date. Not a co-sign from the greatest producer in hip-hop history. Not the exposure provided by a recurring role on HBO’s Entourage. Not 21 (and counting) mixtapes. Not the street cred that comes with punching famous rappers in the face. And not the newspaper headlines that pop up after getting shot in the head. Every trick in the book failed. An era ended before it could even begin.

“You are talking to someone who A&R’d and mixtaped this whole generation,” says DJ Sickamore, CEO of the talent development company The Famous Firm. “There are, like, 20 to 30 record deals in there from first-stringers like Saigon and Papoose to guys like Vic Damone and Rasco. Now, in New York, it’s a straight Great Depression.”

In May 2006, Sickamore did a little shock-blogging for XXLMag.com. He wrote that Young Jeezy, T.I. and Lil Wayne were the new incarnations of Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas. Commenters howled. Sure, it was a stretch. Today, however, Jeezy, T.I. and Wayne are responsible for the whole climate in the rap industry shifting down south. Perhaps nothing personified this transfer of power like L.A. Reid’s taking over at Def Jam Records. Here was an Atlanta-based executive reared on R&B running hip-hop’s most storied label, one historically associated with New York MCs like LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Method Man, Jay-Z, Ja Rule, and DMX. L.A.’s reign hasn’t gone over well with some artists.

“You know, L.A. Reid does R&B. He’s not really with the rap shit,” says Uncle Murda, who left Def Jam last fall. “Jay-Z signed me… We all felt good about the situation. But when Jay-Z left, we felt uncomfortable.”

Meanwhile, ringtone rap—the unabashedly poppy music perfected by Southern artists like Soulja Boy, Flo Rida, D4L and T-Pain—became the rage. (Not much room for a single like Saigon’s “Pain in My Life,” a record about teenage girls with STDs.) Even the icons got down with it. Wayne’s “Lollipop” and T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” feature sung choruses and not much traditional rapping (at least not in the Kool G Rap sense of the word), but they were the biggest rap hits of 2008. And radio, of course, plays the hits.

“Who doesn’t want to hear their song on the radio?” says Joell Ortiz. “So I’m not going to sit here and lie and say it doesn’t affect me, because it does. And then you’ve got people saying, ‘New York rappers are trying to sound South.’ Umm, maybe because they want to get on the radio. What’s on the radio? Southern-sounding stuff. Maybe if I get a simple chorus and a skip beat I’ll make the radio.”

The point is, Southern rap styles are more accessible to a national audience. Says Jeff Sledge, president of Jive Records, “New York’s tone tends to be aggressive and mad, and that’s not what people want to hear anymore… They loop a beat and rap real hard. The audience for that is shrinking.”

Some recently successful New York artists seem to have taken the hint. Jim Jones’s star-making single “We Fly High” could have been a leftover from a Jeezy/Mannie Fresh session. Mims’s “This Is Why I’m Hot” rivaled D4L’s “Laffy Taffy” in simplicity and doofy catchiness. Maino’s “Hi Hater” came equipped with ringtone-ready synth blips and a sing-along chorus straight from the schoolyard. Jae Millz hooked up with Lil Wayne for “Every Girl.” And Ron Browz latched onto the T-Pain–pioneered Auto-Tune craze with “Pop Champagne” and “Jumping (Out the Window).”

Saigon learned a lesson from releasing a downer like “Pain in My Life.” So now he’s changing his strategy. “I just made a strip-club song,” he says begrudgingly. “I said, Fuck it. I got to come in through the back door, because they are not going to let me in my way. So I have to play their game a little bit… I feel good because I produced the record myself, but I feel bad because I know it’s the bullshit. It’s bullshit. It’s bullshit, but, unfortunately, people are gravitating toward bullshit.”

Bullshit or not, it’s the new shit. And in the eyes of some label executives, New York rappers are stuck in the past. “The Joell Ortizes, Sais, Papooses, they are making the same record,” Sledge says. “If you took a Papoose record and placed it in 1994, it would not sound out of place.”

Former Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam artist Tru Life, who scored a minor hit with “The New New York” in 2007, ran into similar problems with producers while crafting his still-unreleased debut album. “I wanted that old-school vibe, but with a new twist on it,” he says. “I couldn’t really find it. I wanted to bring that New York vibe back that was missing, but it couldn’t be over those same old-school beats. It had to be a new sound.”-By Thomas Golianopoulos

For more of the How Ya Like Them Apples? feature, make sure to pick up XXL‘s May issue hitting newsstands April 7.

  • Pierzy

    I find this depressing.

    Its things like this that make me wish it WAS 1994 again.

  • JayTravel

    This has been going on since 2006, and if we keep suppoting bullshit then they’re going to still play it on the radio. Support New York hip hop, Jadakiss’ The Last Kiss drops tuesday, every hip hop head should cop it.

  • Phil

    Shit, you can see the problem right there with that fool Jeff Sledge! His view of East Coast Hip-Hop is far too limited. He’s no entrepreneur, half the industry are fake businessmen. If you’re a real business, you TAKE RISKS to establish market presence and longevity. These NY artists are far from living in the past, they clearly want to take Hip-Hop forward if you just LISTEN instead of describe it like that fool from Shuck-n-Jive Records who can only say East Coast cats “rap hard”. That’s a primitive, biased, and cowardly view of people who are clearly trying to advance and add variety and substance to the culture, and the business! There are a nuch of cowards everywhere in the game who got nothing but excuses.

    • Zulu1925

      Phil

      You cannot (better yet, should not) take risks on new business investments when your existing investments are in a precarious situation. If the music industry as a whole wasn’t sliding into an abyss of low sales, industry execs would be more apt to take risks on artists with lower projected initial sales numbers in hopes of building these artists into potential sales juggernauts – and make no mistake, it’s ALL about the financial bottom line. With that said, if more “heads” would cop their favorite artists from legitimate outlets, instead of from homie at the barbershop or the dude with the sidewalk stand or unauthorized downloads, then those execs wouldn’t see your preferred artists as such a financial risk. Like it or not, those kids who like “ringtone,” “bubblegum,” “bullshit” rap are spending billions of dollars in allowance money to keep that shit coming! So, as a REAL businessman, a record exec would be foolish NOT to supply that demand. I’ve read lots of posts where people debate whether record sales determine the validity of the art (i.e. is Nas better than Wayne). Financially speaking, there’s no question who’s better. And, until more people put their money where their mouth is, all that’s happening is gum-bumping because there’s NO WAY you can have an art discussion with an accountant!

    • Zulu1925

      @Phil

      You cannot take risks on new business investments when your existing investments are in a precarious situation. If the music industry as a whole wasn’t sliding into an abyss of low sales, industry execs would be more apt to take risks on artists with lower projected initial sales numbers in hopes of building these artists into potential sales juggernauts – and make no mistake, it’s ALL about the financial bottom line. With that said, if more “heads” would cop their favorite artists from legitimate outlets, instead of from homie at the barbershop or the dude with the sidewalk stand or unauthorized downloads, then those execs wouldn’t see your preferred artists as such a financial risk. Like it or not, those kids who like “ringtone,” “bubblegum,” “bullshit” rap are spending billions of dollars in allowance money to keep that shit coming! So, as a REAL businessman, a record exec would be foolish NOT to supply that demand. I’ve read lots of posts where people debate whether record sales determine the validity of the art (i.e. is Nas better than Wayne). Financially speaking, there’s no question who’s better. And, until more people put their money where their mouth is, all that’s happening is gum-bumping because there’s NO WAY you can have an art discussion with an accountant!

  • Anti-Mainstream

    I’m glad an emcee (Joell Ortiz) finally came out and said, “Maybe if I get a simple chorus and a skip beat I’ll make the radio.” That’s all Hip Hop (if you want to call it that anymore) has been these last few years. All these supposedly great and number one rappers today have been dropping the most basic shit I’ve ever heard lyrically and the beats are boring as fuck! People want that lyricists with hot beats style of Hip Hop back again (circa 90′s) but naturally in an updated way because if you get Joell Ortiz or whomever from NY doing an album with Primo or Rza these days sadly and unfortunately it won’t sell. What we do need is Slaughterhouse as a remedy to this shit because don’t nobody other then teens on the eastcoast like Jim Jones. We need the veteran NY emcees, Nas, Krs-One, Ghostface, Raekwon, Jadakiss, Mef, etc, to put out albums with UPDATED production (and not sounding like the south). Think about it! Krs-One and Just Blaze, or Swizz Beatz. Nas and Just Blaze. Even an eastcoast emcee with Kanye doing come production would help turn shit around. Hey it worked for Common didn’t it?

    • thedude

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Some guys need to work with producers with an updated sound.
      For example, jay z back in the 90′s use to work with primo and all those guys and he had a classic with reasonable doubt. Fast foward to 2001 he had an updated roster of producers with Just Blaze and Kanye doing production and Blueprint is arguably the best hip hop album of this decade. I would like to see guys like joel, papoose and even older guys like krs and raekwon with swizz, just blaze, and kanye.

      Another example is nipsey hussel. His beats sound like 90′s g-funk but you can tell it’s updated and alot of people are feeling his music.

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Says Jeff Sledge, president of Jive Records, “New York’s tone tends to be aggressive and mad, and that’s not what people want to hear anymore… They loop a beat and rap real hard. The audience for that is shrinking.”

    Man, fuck u Jeff Sledge. You’re the bums over there that signed Pap. Plus, that shit will never die. Some of us are a little more enlightened and choose not to dance “jigs”. Besides that, 3rd eyes are open on more consumers than u think. I’m from Queens and I know what it’s like to have cops pull out their glocks and aim at your dome. Why the fuck would I wanna dance after some shit like that happened. Fuckhead. XXL, you guys are no better promoting the bullshit!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/guccipucci1 GUCCI PUCCI

    It’s hard but understand- all of these dudes are artist. I believe sometimes you just gotta change your style to fit the demand. Take notes from SNOOP- this dude is one of the most versatile artist i’ve known for years. He (SNOOP) did he’s thing at Death ROW- when hiphop was hardcore-real hardcore. Then he worked with MAster P- when the club music started buzzin. All i’m saying is that: SHOOT A NIGGA WHILE HE”S TAKING A SHT..STYLESP…MUSIC- that’s not what it’s about anymore..BACK to the basics- PAC give your dudes the blue-print on how to make music use it……

    • El Tico Loco

      This is exactly what’s wrong with the game right now, just what you said. Why should somebody do what the next man is doing? Not saying you be this or the other but be original be yourself? You speak as if there’s no more hardcore hiphop it just doesn’t get equal shine. And by look of record sales that approach is not working either. You want the artists to be versatile at the same time you want them to be true to themselves, and right now if you can’t tell the demand is for variety, not the hard shit or the weak shit but a little bit of everything. This is what made hip hop lose it’s spirit, the fact that no one wants to go against the grain.

  • k.ing

    please…

    everybody know’s that the hard shit will come back… it’s that time… look at the economy… look at the struggle…

    this bull shit rap is only runnin the radio’s and mtv 2… those album’s don’t sale… aside from wayne and T.i…

    Ny or La can come back spittin that hard shit… if they put there minds to it and get some new producer’s…

    Nippsy will blow this year wacth!!!

    • opm509

      want these artists to stay around then BUY there stuff and not the bootlegs or download it for free its not the artists its the consumer thats fucn it up say wut u want but the reason why the tips and weezys are so indemand is cuz PEOPLE BUY THERE SHIT if this is the hiphop you like support there undergrounds then they’ll get the majors attention

  • http://colby-sempek.com Ghost

    Cosign most everything above…but come on XXL what’s with that scanned photo of Ortiz with dust spots and shit? Your layout/design game is way better than that…

  • abdulnasir

    this is just some sad shit that talented rappers like saigon have to resort to make strip-club songs to get attention. what is he, the ying-yang twins?

  • kelito-vision

    NY we on life support….damn…

  • $ykotic

    Welcome to the disposable rap era. Do whatever sells. Be afraid to do you.

    I agree with k.ing.

    NY ain’t on life support. Stop hating each other and band together and make a stand.

    In the west they get that show money all up and down I5.

    Everything comes full circle. What you leave you go back to.

  • http://XXL TheGodJustice

    That strip club song that SAI is talking about, I hope it’s that “CHILLY BOOM” joint with KARDINAL OFFISHALL with JUST BLAZE on the track. Now that’s a club banger that doesn’t sound NOTHING like the Southern club songs. It’s a straight up NY club record. What people tend 2 4get is that EAST and WEST HIP-HOP can amke club records that don’t sound like each other, or any other region’s music. Take not people:

    Mid-90′s:

    BIGGIE-”BIG POPPA,” “ONE MORE CHANCE,” “THE WHAT,” “PARTY AND BULLSHIT,” “PLAYER’S ANTHEM (JUNIOR MAFIA F/B.I.G)

    TUPAC-”CALIFORNIA LOVE,” “IT’S ALL ABOUT U,” “HOW DO U WANT IT,” “AMERIKA’S MOST WANTED (WITH SNOOP)”

    69 BOYZ-”TOOTSIE ROLL,” “THE TRAIN” ETC.

    Now I just named club joints from three different artists (yeah I know the first two are pretty typical), from three different regions. Now think about other artists from each region at that time that came out with club bangers that didn’t sound watered-down at all. How about I continue…………….

    LATE 90′s

    DMX-”PARTY UP,” “GET AT ME DOG,” “STOP BEING GREEDY,” ETC.

    MOBB DEEP-”QUIET STORM (GRIMEY, AND CLUB-READY, AND FROM NY),”

    REDMAN-”I’LL BEE DAT,” “DA GOODNESS,” ETC.

    SNOOP DOGG-”BITCH PLEASE”

    OUTKAST-”ROSA PARKS,”SKEW IT ON THE BAR-B” ETC.

    MASTER P-”MAKE’EM SAY UGGH,” WELL, JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING NO LIMIT.

    And so on, and so on. I could go on until the new millenium, where there’s only a handful of EAST and WEST, and A SHITLOAD OF SOUTHERN CLUB JOINTS. My point is, everyone can make a club song, regardless of what region they’re from. It just has 2 be down the line of originality, not sounding like the others, PERIOD. What the industry plus media has done was divide the HIP-HOP community to the point where there is no balance in music whatsoever, and they hand pick the artists and music for us, when it should be the other way around actually. Until there is a change within it, then we’re stuck with what we have now. All I can say is support those you like, nd just hope that they will be heard.

  • Gnixs

    The reason NY isn’t making noise is because all their artist are in there mid 30′s and wack as hell. If they want to get back on the scene they have to come with a young, creative, fresh sound a la Kid Cudi, Drake, something with mass appeal.

    NOBODY BUT OLD HEADS ARE CHECKING FOR SLAUGHTERHOUSE! THEM NIGGAS IS LAME! NY STEP YOUR GAME UP!

    • yoprince

      co-sign.

      “New York’s tone tends to be aggressive and mad, and that’s not what people want to hear anymore… They loop a beat and rap real hard. The audience for that is shrinking.”

      this was the quote of the article. NY needs to step their rap game up. don’t emulate either. come up with something new. the two options are not copy the south or rap like it’s 94. come up with some fresh shit.

      for one, quit tryin so hard to be tough guys still. we know NY hasn’t been hard since Guliani. your shit sounds dated.

      NY still got old heads doin it though. NAS, Ghostface, Jay-Z, Cam’ron all still creative with it. Jada is nice but he gotta push himself. Same with Fab. Saigon is cool, but the rest of them NY mixtape dudes aren’t bringing anything new to the table.

      but honestly, it ain’t just NY rap, rap in general is in a serious slump right now.

  • Stylistic

    What? Mid 30′s, why does age matter? A kid in his early 20′s ain’t going to spit better then a NY Hip Hop pioneer. I’d rather hear Krs, Kane, and Rakim spit at 40 then any of these wackass kids today? What are we getting at by saying a rapper sucks because of his age??? My second debate…Slaughterhouse lame? This is what NY needs. Four of the finest emcees from the underground forming together like Hip Hop’s fantastic 4, and don’t look now but they might be the best group from NY to come up since Wu-Tang because lets face it Dipset tried repeatedly and flopped!

  • Connoisseur

    Ok. I’m from the South (ATL all day), but I am mos def a new school hip-hop-head and I can clearly identify that hip hop is slippin. As a fan of Outkast, UGK, Hova, B.I.G, Nas, Big L., Mos Def, the Roots, Talib Kweli, Tribe Called Quest, Twista, (at least Adrenaline Rush, Twista), T.I. and Wayne (and most recently Slaughterhouse). I feel that something is lacking. But my question is why is HIP HOP limited to the north? Do my uptown hip hop brethren not consider OutKast or UGK lyrical? True a lot (A LOT!!!!!!!!) of garbage comes from my region. To the point where I’m limited to listening to classics (for me at least) such as Reasonable Doubt, ATLiens, Ridin Dirty, The Chronic, Marshall Mathers, as opposed to the radio. Hell, it’s even easier to listen to R&B now (that I’m in my mid 20′s, i can empathize with a lot of the shit). But most shit that coming out now just SUCKS. Hell, I’m downloading more instrumentals now than anything. It’s to the point where Hip Hop doesn’t need a savior anymore. It just needs a complete revolution. (Anthony Hamilton is nice, so are Wale, Kid Cudi, and even Currency has talent, but I don’t think we can rely on them… or Asher Roth). I’m asking the other MATURE posters here…what must be done to save our music?

    • Phil

      Mad respect to you, man. We need to hear more of a variety of voices from the fans in the South, for real.

  • Sleepy Wonder

    Saigon Is Stupid, Fuck The Radio, Fuck Major Labels & Most Definately Fuck Jeff Sledge. I Don’t Understand Who The Fuck Listens To This Southern Ringtone Garbage Besides Little Kids. I Personally Don’t Know Anyone Who Listens To That Shit, And If I Did I’d Probably Smack Them.

    • Michelle S.

      You’ll be smacking a hell of a lot of people.

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Gnixs must be under 28 years of age. It’s apparent.

  • eastsidemda

    FUCK ALL THE COMMENTS THAT BEEN POSTED BOTTOM LINE STOP BLAMIN THA ARTISTS AND BLAME THA LABEL FOR SIGNIN THE WACK RAPPERS ITS NOT THA ARTISTS FAULT TRUTHFULLY ITS NOT EVEN THE LABELS FAULT ITS EVOLUTION PEOPLE ITS A RAP GENERATI0N GAP A LOT OF TEENS THESE DAYS DIDNT HAVE OLDER FAMILY MEMBERS TO PUT THEM ON OLDER RAP WHEN I SAY THAT I MEAN THE 90′S ERA CUZ IM 18 AND I LISTEN TO ALMOST EVERY RAPPER WHO CAME OUT DURING HAT TIME BUT THE GENERATION AFTER MINE THEY BEEN RAISED ON MUSIC FROM THE 2000′S UNTIL NOW ALL THEY WANNA HEAR IS SOMETHIN ABOUT DANCIN AND SHAKIN ASS LETS BE HONEST ASK YO YOUNGER COUSINS WHAT THEY FAVORITE RAPPERS ARE I BET THEY ONLY NAME NIGGAS WHO CAME OUT DURIN THE 2000′S ITS NOT THE RAPPERS OR THE LABELS RESPONSIBLE FOR WACK MUSIC ITS THE YOUNG GENERATION BUYING WAT THEY WANNA HEAR WHILE ALL THE TRUE HIP HOP FANS SUFFER AND AS FAR RAPPERS NOT SWITCHIN UP THEY STYLES THEY BETTER ITS CALLED ADAPTATION ITS NATURAL SELECTION SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST YOU DONT EVOLVE YOU BECOME EXTINCT

  • Westcoastmexican

    this is sad but History repeats itself and im sure that when that bullshit ringtone rap goes away, real hip hop will rise once again…

  • Michelle S.

    Sorry to say, but as long as people demand it, bullshit will be heard. Now if people start to get sick of it, they’ll stop asking for it. You also have to look at radio stations. They’re corporate run. What could they possibly know about it? Also, the well-known record labels play a part in it too. They sign people and expect them to promote themselves w/o telling them. Get w/ a label run by somebody who knows what they’re doing and are committed to helping you get to where you need to be/get the support you want. If they’re not working with you, leave. It’s not all about an advance. If you don’t mind putting in work, you could start your own label, own your own stuff (masters) and keep most of your money (b/c in most cases alot of that advance money does end up being spent on making the album anyway; correct me if I’m wrong).

    But not all the blame is on those people though. Some rappers put out BS and expect people to like it, but think it’s everybody’s fault but theirs. (Reminder: not everybody who puts out wack music actually sells.)

  • http://www.myspace.com/mohp89 moh.p

    this is fuckin bullshitt..joel ortizz and papoose deserve giant careers man, they would stomp on shits ike jeezy..bt unfortunatl major labels suckk dickk.

    they need to just keep it grindin on dem indie labels. and fckkk i wish i was a millionaire so i cud fund them real rappers. shits depressing, joell and pap, was shining stars, who gettin taken out cos they dnt fit wid da new crowd…fuck da new crowd, im 19 bt i dnt give a fuck about dat new
    808 wack shit.

    that shudnt be hiphop that shud be another genre

  • Brahsef

    NY rappers just gotta start realizing they’re like underground indie rock bands. You ain’t gonna get rich off this shit anymore. You’ll make enough money to pay the bills and spend here and there, but you ain’t gettin big unless you’re fuckin lucky.

    And people that are saying rap music is dead now adays just aren’t tryin hard enough. Sure your local “urban” radio station plays some boo boo ass music, but who even listens to the radio anymore. Burn some CDs, use your IPOD, and just remember there is always good rap out there.

    Artists to be excited about:
    Drake
    Kid Cudi
    Charles Hamilton
    Wiz Khalifa
    Big Sean

    • Phil

      Respect for the positive attitude. Can’t agree about that Drake cat at all, but you got the right mindset regardless.

  • hellyeah

    it’s a wrap for ny hip hop

    that shit is fucking dead and seeing all you elitists/purists crying like bitches about it makes me feel warm and fuzzy

  • nujerz

    Jeff Sledge and DJ Sickamore are some industry made bitches. Fuck those two.

  • Dj zappout

    Sickamore is some shit. He hated on m music at beat battles . His sensibilities are Joell Ortiz ,Saigon etc…. and he was dissin my shit in favor of that style of beat. There you go right there none of his records came out. I am tired of how ’94 beats dominate beat competition like Sha money’s ONE STOP SHOP and the winner will never be heard from again. At least this article put it out there.

  • Nate

    For those of you who (STILL) don’t know Joell is in this little supergroup named Slaughterhouse. they performed last saturday her in Cali. It’s real hip-hop and they could perform all around the country- fuck a radio single or tv play. Catch their vid on youtube or other site “Move on”
    This is a good article and points are taken but you don’t have to play the dumbing down game. Fuck dumbing down. Slaughterhouse won’t do it, and I’ve already heard fire albums from all 4 members of the group, Joell Ortiz, Buddens (new album), Crooked I, and Royce the 5’9″

    Saigon and Maino do what they have to do to do I guess. But I’d still buy Joell over them because he rhymes tighter and gets better production to match his strengths.

  • 11KAP

    Real Hip Hop isn’t dead. It’s just been driven further underground, but the phoenix still rises. You can’t silence us.

  • gkid12345

    Papoose was set to be the next big thing, i’ll honestly never understand what happened

  • http://xxlmag jb

    It ain’t about running the game, it’s about making your presence felt. NY will always have bangers here and there. Unfortunately I don’t feel that any of the current crop of NY rappers can take it to that next level. Pap maybe but he has to prove he can make a well rounded album. I think people are sleeping on Red Cafe. He might be the one to make moves. I think he has potential.
    http://www.myspace.com/lidujay

  • ripsta

    its sad. i love joell ortiz, tru life, saigon, and termanology. why arent they on the radio? i have no fuckin clue. thats why i dont even listen to hip hop stations anymore. i find myself listening to whatever i download, or any other music station. like rock, and the news. thats sad. i dont even watch mtv jams. its all bullshit. lil wayne, t.i. , kanye, flo rida, soulja fagg boy, jim jones…… its sad when thats all the radio plays.

  • Holla Mann

    With rap becoming more of a drama show than a actual art form the good people at Street Commodity Ent. proudly present the best unsigned with lines…… The and only Holla Mann hails from the grimey streets of Flint michigan with the rhyme skill of the best out and the heart of a soldier at his finest. Equipped with enough 16′s to upset your more established artist Holla Mann brings forth his debut mixtape series L.I.V.E Thru ME ( life-in-various-events). The 13 track opus is a soundtrack for those from all aspects of life be it ya’ bodega hustler or your average 9 to 5′er. Holla Mann’s uncanny ability to cover a wide range of genres from gutter,conceptual, lyrical and street gives listeners a reason to feel every track. Known for his metaphors, realism and ability to slaughter verses this force to be wreckoned with in the form of a man will make you holla for more! The world has been awaiting a artist like this, so open ya’ ears’ and put ya’ eye’s forward the futures before you…EXCLUSIVELY ON DATPIFF.COM

  • Curtis75Black

    Question to all : How diverse is your Hip Hop Musical taste ? How many cd’s have you actually listened to from artists that dropped in the past year ? How many cd’s have you brought in the past year ?. All I hear from ya’ll is a bunch of excuses blaming “ringtone” artists and a few southern cats who rock to make us dance. NY was dancing at one time remember ? NY Hip Hop didn’t start with Illmatic, Ready to Die or 36 chambers !! We at one time was rocking “Jingling Baby” from LL and dancing also. Niggas forgot about the fun and stayed on the “crossover/Sellout Mentality” which fucked NY over. Ya’ll want these new emcee’s to blaze ? Tell them to make a cd and stop fuckin’ with the mix cd’s. You want to hear maturity, Listen to the vets and stop shunning them !! You want Papoose to blow, Buy his shit whenever it drops. Everything is not about “The Corner” with New York.

  • http://www.thejetsettersonline.com/ Katmama621

    The problem is simply this…
    The younger generation goes to the music store and buys a cd or goes to itunes and downloads a PURCHASED cd.
    The older generations turns their albums and cassettes into disks, borrows and burns to disk or finds what they rocked to in highschool online and download for free.

    You want to keep old school around? Put your money where your mouth is.

    Joell Ortiz and the like represent this generation of hip hop who were raised on East Coast or West Coast music and when they finally get their chance to shine, find out why most of those artists remained classified as “underground” or “independent”. Their money came mostly from touring.

    I hope this will not remain the case for long as I have raised my son to have appreciation for the old school and I can definitely hear it in the beats and lyrics that he and his group members create.

    Shameless Plug Alert!
    http://www.datpiff.com/mixtapes-search.php?criteria=The+Jet+setters

    I introduced him to KRS-one, Nas, Mos Def, Luniz, Camp Lo, Talib Kweli, Gang Starr, Stet, Pharcyde and JayZ and he introduced me to Joell Ortiz (“Call Me” is my jam!), Cool Kidz, Fly.Union, LEfortheuncool, Skyzoo and his group, The Jet Setters. There is definitely still an audience out there who want to hear that style of music. Check out the number of views these artist mentioned get. I can’t imagine there being a day when I cannot hear that sound.

    We just have to financially support it.