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Fabolous: “New York Is Coming Full Circle”

“But I think there’s lanes, there’s different lanes that need to be in New York music, and I think our sound got a little isolated because, if you look at New York, it’s kind of a city in its own. For a long time we misjudged that because we dictated the music that went on everywhere else. Once the South and the Midwest and these other places emerged—it used to be just East Coast/West Coast, and the South had their market, but it wasn’t the popular brand. Now they got popular, and they’ve started to dictate the sound. Atlanta, Miami, Texas, they started [to] dictate the sound for the states around them, and it was really relatable because Southern cities are more like other Southern cities than New York anyway. Texas is more like Atlanta than it is like New York. They have their differences of course, but the South is more similar in general than it is to the city [New York]. So I think we were isolated in that sound, and after the emergence of those other sounds, we kind of came onto the backburner a little bit.

“I think over time, New York lost that sound, too, because of the generation and the changing sound of the music. That’s why we have a French Montana, who people say raps over South beats and has a Southern kind of flow, and he’ll tell you himself, because that’s the way the music has went over time. Ten years ago, five years ago it wasn’t that heavy. But now up here you hear Atlanta records, you hear Miami records, Texas records, all that in New York, whereas five to seven years ago you never heard any of that. I remember I was shocked the first time I heard Lil Jon’s “Bia’ Bia'” on Hot 97. That was the breakthrough record right there. Let it be known that Lil Jon broke the door down for the South here in New York, because that was the first record I heard that was in continuous rotation in New York that was a South record. From there, they were beatin’ down the door. And it’s the sound of music, and people accepted it and partied to it, and everything.

“But I think we have to continue to do our sound as well and represent our music. There’s still people who, from all walks of life and different countries and everything, people who like that New York sound. I don’t like when people just say, ‘You have to make New York rap.’ I’m proud of my city and I represent my city as well, but I’m not making these, ‘We Are The World, New York’ records that try to say ‘New York is back.’ Nah, man. Each artist on their own, they have to make records that can compete with what’s going on with the rest of the music game, not just waving the New York flag. So you definitely have to represent your city, man, where you from, but I always just stick to making music that I can play in any lane. Sometimes you’re gonna make records that are more regional, or more catered to something else, but you can’t please everybody. I think New York has to make sure that they just make good music. Let’s start there first, and then we can worry about a certain sound.”

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