New York’s Losing the Lion’s Share – 2008 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 past few days, we’ve given 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. Today, we touch on 2008.

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

In 2008, 22 hip-hop albums debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s top 200, 4 of which came from New York artists.

NEW YORK ARTISTS

The Elephant In The Room, Fat Joe

T.O.S. (Terminate On Sight), G Unit

Untitled, Nas

Exit 13, LL Cool J

FLORIDA ARTISTS

Trilla, Rick Ross

Still Da Baddest, Trina

Definition Of Real, Plies

We Global, DJ Khaled

CALIFORNIA ARTISTS

Ego Trippin, Snoop Dogg

Raw Footage, Ice Cube

LAX, The Game

Shwayze, Shwayze

GEORGIA ARTISTS

The Recession, Young Jeezy

Paper Trail, T.I.

Theater Of The Mind, Ludacris

LOUISIANA ARTISTS

Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne

Savage Life 2, Webbie

ILLINOIS ARTISTS

808s & Heartbreak, Kanye West

PENNSYLVANIA ARTISTS

Rising Down, The Roots

MISSOURI ARTISTS

Brass Knuckles, Nelly

TEXAS ARTISTS

II Trill, Bun-B

MISSISSIPPI ARTISTS

The Greatest Story Ever Told, David Banner

Out of the 22 hip-hop albums to debut in the top 10 of Billboard’s top 200 in 2008, none were from new New York artists dropping their first album.

In 2008, 10 hip-hop singles reached the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100, none of which came from New York artists.

LOUISIANA ARTISTS

“Lollipop” – Lil Wayne Featuring Static Major

“A Milli” – Lil Wayne

“Got Money” – Lil Wayne Featuring T-Pain

“Mrs. Officer” – Lil Wayne

“Independent” – Webbie

FLORIDA ARTISTS

“Bust it Baby” – Plies

GEORGIA ARTISTS

“Whatever You Like” – T.I.

“Live Your Life” – T.I.

CALIFORNIA ARTISTS

“Sensual Seduction” – Snoop Dogg

CANADIAN ARTISTS

“Dangerous” – Kardinal Offishall

Out of the 10 hip-hop singles to reach the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 in 2008, none were from a new New York artists.

  • BIGSCREECH

    Album wise this isn’t really about just New York falling off. The only State that had a new artist debut in the top 10 was california with “schwayze”. I’m assuming that’s a new artist, because I’ve never heard of him

  • August Martian

    The whole music recording business is going off a cliff with Hip Hop leading the way and the best XXL can do is focus on why NY is not selling compared to other states (which in the album side is on par with the other two main states Florida and Georgia)? The divide n conquer tatics are still in effect for the sake of driving traffic I see.

    Instead why don’t XXL hold an official gathering town hall meeting style with artists, DJ’s, managers, producers, label execs and website owners and discuss what can be done to save the dying business. Sure beats the same old ‘NY is falling off’ routine.

  • http://xxlmag.com the brown

    YO! I was just about to “…and FUCK FAT JOE, too!” on that Suge post, but low and behold, here’s my chance. Fuck Fat Joe!!! He sucks!

    • http://xxlmag.com me again

      LOL! I just voted for LL!

  • brand-new

    wow…what an awful year!! i’m a huge nas fan, but i could never get into that album…i had to give my vote to T.O.S.

  • Kenny D

    Had to vote Nas, but as a whole, New York was flushed down the toilet in 2008. And to be perfectly honest, 2008 didn’t have that many good albums. I mean Raw Footage, LAX, and Paper Trail were alright, but they didn’t blow me away.

  • Eff That

    co-sign august martion…when will people finally realize that Hip-Hop is international now and stop giving a fuck what NY puts out if its not good? (ex. Exit 13) What we need is all these so-called Legends to stop being afraid of losing money and get balls enough to PUBLICLY state who is fucking up the game and if their fans care enough, then they will listen. We sit back and watch the industry take over while they just put more songs out whining over “the game done changed” GTFOH with that BS

  • Sha

    The truth is… Hip-Hop has long stopped being JUST a New York thing. It is global now. And while everyone knows where it came from, there are many artists around the world that crush your typical NYC artist. I prefer NYC hip-hop. It speaks to me more than other locales. But New York emcees sound like copies of each other. They don’t stand out any more. Back in the day there were so many flavors. You had black power emcees, you had your hippy flower child emcees, you had your raw “I’ll bust your ass” emcees, you had your emcees for the dance music. But now? They all sound the same. And that’s just real talk. Yeah, the blueprint was conceived in NYC. But the art has crossed borders and entered almost every society. New York emcees can’t expect to hold it down just because the art was born there…. Innovate. Perfect your craft. Strive for lyrical dominance. Not just for your corner. But global dominance. KRS spoke on this shit years earlier. We should have emcees battling on pay-per-view and in global emceeing contests. Hip-Hop can have a resurgence in NYC. It can happen any day. Who knows what kind of ill emcees will rip up the norm and carve a new lane. But judging on what I’ve seen so far? It seems that this moment is quite a far distance off. NYC emcees need to own up to falling into stagnation. Look at yourselves and then you will be able take over again. But on a global scale. And that’s real talk.

  • Sha

    The truth is… Hip-Hop has long stopped being JUST a New York thing. It is global now. And while everyone knows where it came from, there are many artists around the world that crush your typical NYC artist. I prefer NYC hip-hop. It speaks to me more than other locales. But New York emcees sound like copies of each other. They don’t stand out any more. Back in the day there were so many flavors. You had black power emcees, you had your hippy flower child emcees, you had your raw “I’ll bust your ass” emcees, you had your emcees for the dance music. But now? They all sound the same. And that’s just real talk. Yeah, the blueprint was conceived in NYC. But the art has crossed borders and entered almost every society. New York emcees can’t expect to hold it down just because the art was born there…. Innovate. Perfect your craft. Strive for lyrical dominance. Not just for your corner. But global dominance. KRS spoke on this shit years earlier. We should have emcees battling on pay-per-view and in global emceeing contests. Hip-Hop can have a resurgence in NYC. It can happen any day. Who knows what kind of ill emcees will rip up the norm and carve a new lane. But judging on what I’ve seen so far? It seems that this moment is quite a far distance off. NYC emcees need to own up to falling into stagnation. Look at yourselves and then you will be able take over again. But on a global scale. And that’s real talk..

  • WUDDLIVE

    the game is fucked up because these eastcoast artist are cocky-most of them are click-esh an they talk reckless,thesedudes dont make good records like they use to.my bad the hot artist never get signed or the record label push garbage rappers-newyork never fell off its just that hiphop is worldwide now the south had it-the west had it,-trust me philly,newyork,newjersy got spitters-tell diddy to stop jumping on one hit wonder bandwagons and bring back that newyork shit-the internet has crippled the labels so lets just put out some good hiphop-we are tired of the extra gangster shit-i love hard shit,i want to hear something hot-i came up listening to rap that help elevate the young people-

  • http://xxlmag.com High As Fucc

    Hip hop is all over the country its way more than jus new york wit niggas that rap and and make catchy feel good muzic if the industry quit thinking jus New york and jus findin good quality artist and make good music there would be no what happen to new york rap, it need to be what happen to rap period.

  • Dub

    2008 was a bad year for rap in general, which is why Carter 3 sold like crazy

  • mistaarrrayjay

    yo…someone needs to buy that dude Sha a country…dude knows what the fuck iz up. Word

  • CAPO STATUS

    i think this is the year i stopped listening to rap until the beginning of this year