If you’re a constant reader of my blogs, you might be under the impression that I’ve turned my back on New York hip hop. Maybe because I called Jeezy the King of New York or probably because I write things like “New York Isn’t Enough”. But it’s more like tough love on my second (Trini Massive!) hometown. I’ve helped artists like Saigon and Tru-Life get deals, as well as supported every artist who’s come up since 2002.
Now the underground scene has changed a little bit in the tri-state area. Mixtapes aren’t as relevant as they once were, so it’s a little harder for new MC’s to get a buzz. The DVD game was popping for a quick second, but the allure of flashing guns at the camera in front of your projects has lost its luster. But through it all, there are still unsigned spitters making noise who you should watch out for in 2006-2007. Shit, I’m an A&R so I should be watching out for them as well. I’m going to release my annual Power 30 CD this fall ranking the top 30 MC’s all around the country that haven’t released an album. So this blog is sort of a preview of who’s going to be on it.
This list right now though isn’t in any particular order. The only criteria is that they have to be unsigned. And without further ado, The New New New New York.
I first got a Joell Ortiz mixtape at a pool hall in Chelsea Manhattan. His management gave it to me and it said “Who The F*&^ Is Joell Ortiz?”. At the time I couldn’t really care less who he was, but I took it home and went crazy over the lyrics. I called them up the next day. Joellz has a refreshing flow reminiscent of how MC’s used to put it down in the mid-90’s. The same way Redman or Buckshot didn’t have to be a crazy killer to be respected, but more on mic presence and wordplay. There was a rumor that he signed to Aftermath for $750,000, if it’s true more power to him.
I’m huge fans of people who aren’t “over the top” and extra. Serius, like Joell, gives me that same “I’m not frontin this is who I am” vibe that’s gives me hope that there’s a new breed of MC who’s paying attention. Not just the cliche dope-boy-fresh-magic- trapstar-gangsta-I’m not-a-rapper rappers. I like to think of him of the Muhammad Ali of his generation, not dominating wise, but more the swagger and jokes he cracks. Then he can get real serious quickly, just ask Murder Mook or Jin.
Its Murda nigga! Listening to Uncle Murder is like watching Terminator 2: Judgement Day. He is easily the toughest talker on wax ever. Too Hard For Hip Hop is the name of his new tape and the things he says on there would make N.W.A. blush. But for some reason, I can’t stop listening to it. Now that he’s co-signed by DJ Green Lantern, my favorite producer, he’s ready to take it to the next level. The only problem with all the gangsta talk, if one bad thing ever happens to you, all your credibility goes down the drain. Only time will how far he’s gonna go, but one thing’s for sure; It’s going to be an entertaining ride. Say Uncle!
I’ve done two mixtapes with Spot and so far the feedback has been tremendous. He’s a great talent because he’s not only a lyricist, but he’s also a producer. He’s also a ghostwriter a quite a few notable rappers in the game. Spot represents youthfulness and the outlaw I don’t give a fuck about anything but my money mentality of today’s 80’s babies.
The 1.5 Million Dollar man should have a deal any second now. Its not like people aren’t offering him deals (believe me I know), he’s just waiting for the right one. The Flipmode addition makes his situation more interesting. It could swing his project upwards or spiral him to obscurity depending on what Busta does next. Whatever it is, I’m cheering for him. Anyone who grinds like that deserves they’re shot.