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 2006, 33 hip-hop albums debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s top 200, 11 of which came from New York artists


FishScale, Ghostface Killah

Todd Smith, LL Cool J

Blood Money, Mobb Deep

Killa Season, Cam'Ron

The Big Bang, Busta Rhymes

Year Of The Dog...Again, DMX

4:21... The Day After, Method Man

Rotten Apple, Lloyd Banks

Press Play, Diddy

Hustler's P.O.M.E. (Product Of My Environment), Jim Jones

Kingdom Come, Jay-Z


On Top Of Our Game, Dem Franchize Boyz

King, T.I.

New Joc City, Yung Joc

Idlewild, OutKast

Best Thang Smokin', Young Dro

Release Therapy, Ludacris

The Inspiration, Young Jeezy


My Ghetto Report Card, E-40

Laugh Now, Cry Later, Ice Cube

Doctor's Advocate, The Game

Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, Snoop Dogg


Reality Check, Juvenile

The Heart Of Tha Streetz, Vol. 2 (I Am What I Am), B.G.

Like Father, Like Son, Birdman & Lil Wayne


Second Round's On Me, Obie Trice

Eminem Presents: The Re-Up, Various Artists


Pimpalation, Pimp C


In My Mind, Pharrell


Port Of Miami, Rick Ross


Game Theory, The Roots


Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor, Lupe Fiasco


Hoodstar, Chingy

Out of the 33 hip-hop albums to debut in the top 10 of Billboard’s top 200 in 2006, none were from new New York artists dropping their first album.


In 2006, 17 hip-hop singles reached the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100, 4 of which came from New York artists.


“Come to Me” – Diddy Featuring Nicole Scherzinger

“Show Me What You Got” – Jay-Z

“Control Myself” – LL Cool J

“We Fly High” – Jim Jones

Out of the 17 hip-hop singles to reach the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 in 2006, none were from a new New York artists.