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Hip-Hop History: Grand Army Plaza


I peeped Mos Def’s video for “History” yesterday—one of the standout tracks from The Ecstatic—and among the iconic images included in the clip was one of my favorite Brooklyn landmarks, Grand Army Plaza. Like Junior’s and the defunct Albee Square Mall, The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch has served as a familiar setting for many rap video shoots throughout the years. That’s right, it’s time for another list. BROOKLYN STAND UP!!!

’88 3rd Bass “Brooklyn Queens” – Twenty-two years ago girls would give MC Serch and Pete Nice the gas face from the Q-Borough all the way to the Plaza.  

’89 Special Ed “I Got It Made” – Not only was this BK MC special, he was also magnificent, so you know he had it made under the Arch’s shade.

’95 Smif-N-Wessun “Wreckognize Remix” – Don’t blink or you might miss the Grand Army cameo in this Spike Lee-influenced tour of Bucktown.

’98 Black Star “Definition” – Loooooord, these cats love them some Grand Army. 

’08 Maino “Hi Hater” – Hi Brooklyn


Bonus – ‘95 Mic Geronimo “Wherever You Are” – Mic came down from Queens to return his library books and shoot this clip right across the street. 

What are some of your favorite recurring backdrops from rap videos?

Cool points for anyone that can remember the video that Heavy D shot in the Plaza? —Jesse Gissen

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