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New York’s Losing the Lion’s Share – 2003 Recap

In the wake of XXL’s 10 Freshmen for ’10 cover, one question kept coming up: What happened to New York? For hip-hop’s first 25 years, the music’s birthplace created dozens of stars. From the Bronx’s KRS-One to Manhattan’s Doug E. Fresh, Brooklyn’s Notorious B.I.G., Queens’s 50 Cent and Staten Island’s Wu-Tang Clan, each borough produced its own legends. Even outlying provinces like Long Island and Yonkers got in on the act, expanding New York rap’s borders with the likes of Public Enemy and DMX.

But that was then. Over the past seven years, the well has gone dry. Since 50 Cent detonated onto the scene with his eight-million-selling megabomb Get Rich or Die Tryin’, New York newcomers have been having a hard time blowing up. In fact, since 50 made his mark in 2003 with both his solo debut and G-Unit group album (Beg For Mercy), only a handful of local rappers have managed to debut in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart: Juelz Santana (2003’s From Me to U), Sheek Louch (2003’s Walk Witt Me), Loon (2003’s Loon), Lloyd Banks (2004’s The Hunger for More) Tony Yayo (2005’s Thoughts of a Predicate Felon) and Mims (2007’s Music Is My Savior). And only Lloyd Banks (2004’s “On Fire”), Mims (2007’s “This Is Why I’m Hot,”) and Lil Mama (2008’s “Lip Gloss”) have had a first single break the top 10 of the Hot 100 singles.

In XXL’s May issue, which is on stands now, we went searching the five boroughs, as well as Long Island and Yonkers, in search of some answers as to how New York fell into a hip-hop drought. But over the course of the next few days, we’ll give a year-by-year breakdown of the music that came out of the Big Apple and how it stacked up against the rest of the hip-hop nation.

Men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t…

In 2003 26 hip-hop albums debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s top 200, 11 of which came from New York artists


Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, 50 Cent

Street Dreams, Fabolous

La Bella Mafia, Lil’ Kim

Diplomatic Immunity, Cam’ron Presents The Diplomats

From Me To U, Juelz Santana

Grand Champ, DMX

Walk Witt Me, Sheek Louch

Loon, Loon

Blood In My Eye, Ja Rule

The Black Album, Jay-Z

Beg For Mercy, G-Unit


Monster, Killer Mike

Bow Wow: Unleashed, Bow Wow

Trap Muzik, T.I.

Drankin’ Patnaz, YoungBloodZ

Deliverance, Bubba Sparxxx

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, OutKast

Chicken N Beer, Ludacris


Philadelphia Freeway, Freeway

State Property Presents: The Chain Gang Vol. II, Various Artists


Jackpot, Chingy

Da Skool Boy Presents Murphy’s Law, Murphy Lee


Mississippi: The Album, David Banner


Da Unbreakables, Three 6 Mafia


The Neptunes Present… Clones, Various Artists


Cheers, Obie Trice

Out of the 26 hip-hop albums to debut in the top 10 of Billboard’s top 200 in 2003, only 5 were from new New York artists dropping their first album.

50 Cent

Juelz Santana

Sheek Louch





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