Where Were You on 9/11?


The death of Aaliyah hadn’t begun to sink in when hip-hop was forced to mourn all over again on September 11, 2001. That morning, a quartet of synchronized planes overtaken by Al-Qaeda embarked on a terrorist mission. One plane flew into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, another crashed in a field close to Shanksville, Pennsylvania and a pair of jets flew in the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City. Both towers collapsed within two hours.

Out of 2,993 victims, 2,606 perished in the New York attacks. The economy plummeted and any mention of the World Trade was treated with extreme sensitivity. Radio stations edited The Notorious B.I.G.’s “blow up like the World Trade” lyric out of “Juicy,” a scene featuring WTC was edited out of the original trailer for the upcoming Spiderman blockbuster and The Coup was forced to use an alternate cover—the original art featured group members Boots Riley and Pam the Funkstress blowing up the Twin Towers—to their Party Music album.

Some turned to Jay-Z’s epic sixth album, The Blueprint, and Fabolous’ debut, Ghetto Fabolous—both released on September—to ease the pain. Eventually, the city moved on and 9/11 references became acceptable. Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the horrific attacks became a popular name-drop, M.O.P. released a song titled “Ground Zero” and the Dipset nicknamed its crew Taliban. A decade has gone by, but the wounds are still fresh.

In commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, 10 New York rappers (one for every year) tell XXL where they were on the day of the terrorist attacks.—XXL Staff
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