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
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
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
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.
SEE NEXT PAGE FOR TOP SINGLES OF 2003