Fabolous has been hard at work over the last four years, releasing a string of mixtapes, readying his sixth studio album Loso's Way 2: Rise To Power (tentatively set for a late August release), and reveling in the experience of becoming a first-time father. More than a decade after the release of his debut Ghetto Fabolous in 2001, the Brooklyn-bred rapper has also found himself with a new moniker: veteran. Things have changed in the rap game in the past twelve years, a reality that Fab is quick to recognize and acknowledged while putting together his new album. "The sound changes," he says. "We're kinda in a ratchet, 'turn-up' era of hip-hop right now. Not to say that I wanted to make my music that sound, but at the same time I have to make music that can compete and fit in on radio or in the clubs."

From the New York-centric days of his come-up to the Southern re-emergence of the last half-decade to the the new crop of talent emerging from the Big Apple now, Fabolous spoke to XXL about how the game has changed since the days when G-Unit ran the show, how Lil Jon broke down the door for Southern rappers in New York City, and how New York has finally come full circle.—Dan Rys (@danrys)

"As somebody whose been in the game as long as me, I've seen different sound changes and what's successful and what works, I've seen that change a few times. A lot of the young guys, they can just come out with their style, and then you can be in the game for four years, five years, and it changes a little bit. In 2003, 50 Cent was the biggest artist in the game and he was selling more of a gangster, aggressive approach to hip-hop. It was melodic, but it was definitely aggressive; he was wearing a bullet-proof vest, and you don't really see that as much [today]. You don't really see, in the top artists in the game, anybody doing that aggressive content in their music. So that should just show you how far it's changed in ten years. It's just a different time. Now it's molly's and smoking weed in the forefront. You gotta be able to adapt. You don't gotta go out there and pop mollys and [do] what's going on, but you still have to adapt. That's part of the challenge.

"New York is coming back full circle. One thing about hip-hop, one of the reasons why it was always dope, was that it was diverse. It catered to different ears. So I don't think all New York music needs to be Joey Bada$$ or Action Bronson-based. There's French Montana, there's A$AP Rocky, even though they're not as new as those other guys, or maybe they've had a little bit more mainstream success.