Where’s New York’s Leaders Of The Pack?

This week has been a pretty good week for music, if I must say. T.I. found the time in between his 1,500 hours of community service to drop off a single. Pac Div and Game released mixtapes. B.o.B debuted. J. Cole may actually make Jay-Z look like a genius. Drake is poised to Corky-croon his way back into the vaginal folds of women everywhere. The list goes on.

Thing is, most of the things that have came out have been from the western, southern, Midwestern and international regions, which begs the question: what’s going on out here in New York? Where is this city’s “next up to bat” artist? The print version of this website’s infamous Freshmen cover didn’t showcase any spitter from the Five Boroughs. What was that indicative of? What does that mean for East Coast hip-hop as a whole?

I don’t think that New York rap is necessarily “dying” per se, but more or less too stuck in its old, stubborn ways to progress. It’s actually quite interesting to walk through Harlem streets and see someone still dressed in Dip Set-centric gear like it’s 2002. “Interesting” in a “detrimental to society” kind of way, but interesting nonetheless. I’ve even been told by a number of emcees that everything from pride to flat-out jealousy has limited New York from producing their next transcendent rapper.

It’s not like New York doesn’t have gifted rappers, either; it’s just that they don’t know what to do with them. Joell Ortiz has been doing his thing for a number of years, but he’s been teetering too close to that “vintage hip hop sound” (read: old curmudgeon rap) for far too long now. There’s Harlem’s Vado, but apparently nobody outside of the Tri-State Area has heard of him (I’ve asked a few bicoastal friends). Lloyd Banks released what could be considered the best G-Unit single in the last three years, but with no album in sight I’m not sure he can capitalize on that success. Saigon? Yeah, right. And New York can’t constantly depend on Sean Combs every few seasons to find a reason to swack camera time from his stable of slaves… er… artists.

It could also deal with the fact that virtually all of New York’s residents aren’t even from New York to begin with (myself included). Take a train down to any nondescript part of town, and you’re guaranteed to end up sitting in a cart full of ze Germans. Hypothetically, with New York somewhat lacking an identity itself, it’s quite easy to see why there’s not one pure hip-hop representative from here that isn’t closer to 40 than they are 20.

I’m not saying that New York rap is about as obsolete as Kat Stacks’ brain, mouth, orifices and reproductive systems, but there has to be an artist from this region that can be considered a torchbearer for its illustrious hip hop scene. Damn if I need Jay-Z taking a break from slowly ethering Brooklyn with that new stadium built with the revenues made from the selling of his ancestors to the “New World” townships some 400 years ago to drop off a new song.

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  • http://www.incilin.com Incilin

    Nicki Minaj is from Queens…

    • LEO

      Why do we need the next nigga if we still got JADAKISS, and FABOLOUS killing other niggas shit???

  • Lowedwn

    I say give Vado a little more time. I’m from/live in L.A. and only got put on to that brother like 5 maybe 6 or so months ago. And Ortiz is that nigga, but yeah his “sound/style” is more “vintage”, meaning it’s not what most younger cats are into, mostly cause it’s over their heads. YAOWA

  • http://www.wunmic.blogspot.com mo

    As a representative of Queens, I would like to say we do not claim Nicki Minaj.

    You’re right though, not having a NY rapper in the limelight is really troublesome. I think Hip-Hop as a whole is going in a great direction though with the likes of B.o.B, Blu, J.Cole, Fashawn on a lesser level; Curren$y, Big Sean and a few others. I’ll take it though. It sucks that there is no primetime NY artist but in general, the state of Hip-Hop is in a better place than it has been for a few years (with the likes of Papoose, SunNY, Saigon being the cream of the crop).

    We’ll reclaim the crown sooner or later.

  • these posts are racist

    Face it, it’s over, Chicago runs Hip Hop.

  • http://whateyethought.com E-Dub

    Yea with most NY rappers and fans having this gigantic sense of entitlement due to the birthplace of the music, I know this lack of rappers from NY has them severly pissed.

    You cant force a rapper outta NY tho, sooner or later someone will step up. Until then, just enjoy the music, regardless of where its from.

  • I gots Hoes

    What about Charles Hamilton?…………..

    Just Kiddin

  • http://www.wunmic.blogspot.com mo

    It’s not that NY doesn’t have rappers, we just don’t have NEW breakthrough artists. Jay-Z (just released BP3), NaS (Distant Relatives soon), Talib Kweli (RPM soon), Mos Def (Blakroc, The Ecstatic, 24 Hr Karate School) are still in the game and enjoying some success. While the success isn’t on par with their past releases, they’re still doing well.

    The most prominent artists (imo) are Lupe Fiasco, T.I. in terms of talent….that’s really it actually.

    2nd tier artists (Not a fan of these guys at all) like Ross, Wayne, Jeezy, Game are enjoying the industry success of it all. But in terms of talent, nope, they’re not cutting it.

    Drake still has his buzz, but I’m not including him cuz he doesn’t even have an album out.

    So yeah, its not that NYC doesn’t have artists, we just don’t have that up and coming artist who we can see making GOOD music for the next decade or so.

    • Chuckles

      Your opinion is trash, your just a hater

      • http://www.wunmic.blogspot.com mo

        I’m a hater cuz I acknowledge their success but don’t like them? Good job average ignorant rap music fan. Go back to listening to Wayne & Lil’ B.

    • Deadly MIME

      IDK there is no Leaders in NY right now. No one wants to be different and every cat in NY is following a formula to be sucessful. In the south, its seems like we have one too, but really we dont. We dont give a fuck and plus the other thing to is that alot of NY dudes are sticking to their old ways. Far as I know NY aint gonna be around for a long while.

  • tonyblunt

    come on son with that whole “revenues from selling of his ancestors” BS

    Isn’t ALL US money and US Banks caked up from that same “selling of ancestors”??

    My question to Anyone here is: What Bank can I or anyone borrow money from that isn’t connected to the slave trade or slave labor……

  • Sincere

    Corey Gunz just signed with Young Money, he needs to work on his song making but lyrically he’s a beast. I think it’s on Banks and Juelz right now if these guys could actually drop an album let alone a mixtape (wasn’t The Reagan Era supposed to come out in 08). The Dipset reunion is going to get some light back on the city though.

  • The Decatur Dictator

    I’ve been waiting on this topic!!! NEW YORK Blows! There are no “Leaders of the Pack”-they just blow hard. From Brooklyn to Queens, Manhattan to Harlem to the Boggie Down Bronx-NY is on some ole’ sorryness right now. There is no movement, no leader, no strong presence. All we hear is some artist that is about to blow up, they are about to blow alright…as in NY Blows! Sorry Jada-

  • http://www.highsnobiety.com TheOnlyOne

    yea the west coast is literally killen it right now. TDE cats like Kendrick Lamar, Jayrock, Absoul, and Schoolboy Q are bringing the west coast back.

    look em up, they form a group called blackhippy (1st saw it on 2dopeboyz.com). They give me a real Pharcyde and Tribe Called Quest feel, but they are real cats from Los Angeles county, not know wanna b cats who claim LA.

  • http://silenttreatment.tumblr.com HD

    This new era of Hip Hop seems very promising, even though we really don’t have anyone reppin’ from NY. In recent years, it seems as if NY bred, up and coming rappers are stuck in terms of staying within the mainframes of their predecessors and not evolving like everyone else that is coming out right now. Not to say that we don’t have the talent, because we do. Its only a matter of time before someone steps up to the plate. I’m just worried that its just going to be too late and a new crop of artist will transcend us again.

    Also, you had me rolling with .. “Interesting” in a “detrimental to society” kind of way, but interesting nonetheless.

  • El Tico Loco

    New York just need to go back to start being New York and quit tryna follow other regions just because one particular region gets hot at one point or another, NYers for the last 8 years or so been supporting everybody but themselves while other regions watch and laugh, damn! ya’ll don’t even show the city on videos like you used to, just movie sets.

  • Mr. North

    Its seems like NY is going thru the same the the Westcoast is still going thru. Their stuck in a time warp. but not as bad as in the westcoast. LA has a few ppl getting pub but their not really making any noise. All the people making good music out the west, most of them are from somewhere else as well. that is all

  • Teddy

    You do have Mickey Factz, Cory Gunz, and Charles Hamilton. They do have a sound that is still New York, but its different. They have revamped the New York style. I think what they need is a New York Super Producer that can give them the beats they need. yes Charles Hamilton has great beats, but I know other producers are better.

    I think Vado has a great shot at getting a good buzz. Other than that I’ve been saying this for a minute. New York needs to revamp themselves. The West Coast so has so many different styles they dont even know what to do with. So far New York only one old ass style.

    • ab

      mickey factz is the ugliest, most untalented rapper in new york.

  • sealsaa

    “but there has to be an artist from this region that can be considered a torchbearer for its illustrious hip hop scene.”

    “Nas will prevail, it ain’t hard to tell”.

  • gaddic

    Papoose was super dope but poor timing and label complications prevented him from being a huge success

    By the way what happened to him?
    Whre is he?

    • http://majorwaves.com Dan V

      Actually he just came out with a mixtape. With all the B.o.B., J.Cole, Curren$y, Eminem, Drake, whoever madness over the past few weeks it got lost in the sauce.

    • nunya

      wtf?? He’s everywhere dumbass. @papooseonline

  • T Dot

    I have noticed some NY rappers migrating south to probably get away from the stigma of being from New York. Which is sad.

  • SansBeach

    Vado,charles hamilton, mickey factz all trash.
    New York is not coming back ever. The young cats here are not even into hip hop like that no more honestly. They just trying to look fly and mess with females and there is nothing wrong with that but creating music is not a priority anymore. Most of the young cats here look at music like more of a hustle. And everybody here is jaded because we all know someone that raps.

  • Showtimeny

    NY got talent You just dont know about them.. PLs And anybody thats doing any Numbers style has been influenced by NY East Coast Artist.. From Wayne, TI, Drake, Game etc.

    Who has done numbers recently and has not been Influence by NY Rappers? Who?

    Its not about talent its about discov ering them and when you do actually puttineg them Out: See: Papoose, Saigon

    How can you put out Durrough album, LIl Boosie album and not put out Papoose and Saigon?

    I use to perform when I was in NYC and J COle himself even said theres not that many Open Mic places for talent to emerge..

    Its the Pyramid End of The Week and thats about it.

    And Mothefucakas act like Nas and Hov aint the best in the Game?


  • k.gaines

    whoever wrote this article is an idiot who is probably doing no research but instead is writing from his soapbox of stupidity

  • http://coredjradio.ning.com/ DJ Blendz

    Dope read Meka,

    But in all honesty there are several New York rappers that are on the come up and I feel all of them. Underground artist like Esso, Skyzoo, Sha Stmuli, K. Sparks, Tonya Morgan, Nina B, Torae and etc. New York emcees are strong, I just feel the labels are asleep at the steering wheel about to crash.

    That XXL Freshman cover consist of mostly artist that are getting a major push from major labels. The proof is in the (Bill Cosby) Pudding. Donnis (Fools Gold) J Cole (Roc Nation)Jay Rock (Warner) and etc and etc.

    New York Hip Hop will come back strong eventually. Shit happens in time periods, east had it’s run, west had it’s run, now the south is killin shit. But eventually shit always comes back.

    • Anonymous

      true new york will come back untop but independent labels. not through majors

  • http://www.myspace.com/throwbacc7 realfan

    What about Skyzoo??? or Torae!!? mane=e yall dont know nun.Peace

  • mazemayhim

    New Yawk killed $tack Bundle$ smh nuff said

  • anonymous

    what about homeboy sandman
    what about emilio rojas
    what about sleepwalkas
    what about doing research

    • http://www.reverbnation.com/themcfaceman The MC Faceman

      Word. NYC artists are gettin shafted right now. Why? We spit true-to-life, non-commercial, lyrics. The media and music industry are making money with dumbed-down music instead.

    • The Decatur Dictator

      If you gotta “research” a fool, he blows.

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

    I just saw dead prez last week in Rip City.

    Red Cafe was just in Seattle a couple of days ago.

    You got Skyzoo, Cory Gunz, The New Kids, Vado, Diggy, Tanya Morgan, Uncle M, there’s cats out there doing it. It’s just now the industry is bleeding the south talent pool dry, and all of the attention is there.

  • SansBeach

    Skyzoo and Torae are you guys serious stop it not hot. I dont want watered down duck down wannabes you can’t be serious. Plus they been around for years if they was gonna blow up it would have happened.

    Papoose and Saigon get the fuck out of here? washed up stick a fork in them cats.

    New York coming back I dont think so. I will believe it when I see it.

    I dont buy dreams I sell them!

    • http://www.emcdl.com EmCDL

      You buggin on Skyzoo and Torae, them dudes stay spittin hard bars. You must listen to Soulja Boy or something.

      • SansBeach

        Skyzoo and Torae are the J.V. squad. They not terrible they just not great I want greatness. Its going to take somebody special of superstar caliber to bring back the coast. And they dont have that. I want somebody on par with Jay Nas Pun B.I.G.
        That might be askin alot but thats what it will take to bring back NY Hip-Hop.
        The total package crazy lyrics and mass appeal and Im sorry they dont have it.

        But we can agree to disagree

        Does anybody really listen to soulja boy?

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    New York, New York. Its like this. The NYC state of mind is stale. ITs like a newly released convict. They still thinking like its time to walk the yard. Ya, Jayz Nas Talib, Mos and a few others doing well. However, thas like when people says hip hop has conscious rappers. People will say Mos def, talib, common….the same group. New york has to grow.

  • El Tico Loco

    Of course if you go by what the machine dictates is hot you would have to feel like NY rap is not coming back. Even though NY hasn’t made any significant noise most lyrical non NY rappers have been stealing all type of styles and techniques from lesser known NY/east coast mc’s and passing them as their own to the uninformed. As far as Saigon and Pap I’m not too worried about them thanks to Jay Z since I remember how his buzz used to fade in and out before RD dropped. What’s also wrong overall is the mixtapes everybody and their mama got a mixtape; how about just one hot single with a side b to get our attention, people just got away from what really worked to keep up with the times but the times ain’t helping you move forward.

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  • macdatruest

    I know Im gonna get a lot of flack for this….but Biggie Smalls killed New York hip hop. Along with Puffy and his Star-making propoganda machines. Another thing that killed New York Hip Hop is The New York DJ’s (radio) like Funkmaster Flex. If you would stop tryna claim important positions and charging to play the records which are your livelihood….you can play up and coming New York artists shit who may be dope, but can’t pay you 50 Cent or Jay-z money to hype their shit. I get money was only hot in New York…which brings me to Big killin Hip Hop

    Now what had happened was, everything Pac was Puffy wanted BIG to be the East coast version of, despite BIG’s introduction to the game as a pop star. Puff had the means to hype BIG’s legacy after Pac died and secured his legacy, once BIG died similarly the dollar signs came in Puff’s eyes.

    Now all of a sudden, BIG was “one of the greatest artist that ever lived arguably the greatest” LMAO He wasnt even considered on a lyrical level as a Black Thought or Boot Camp Click back in the era when he came out, he was like the pop star amongst the real East Coast spitters. Redman, Prodigy, all far superior to BIG in his heyday. Jeru, Nas.

    But since the East Coast chose, out of what I think is jealousy, to boost BIG to his whole “King of New York” status to secure themselves a hip hop icon, it changed New York hip hop. It wasnt about creativity after that no more in NY they had to restructure what made an artist the best to fit the BIG mythos. So after BIG being the biggest New York artist was about “jiggyness and flyness” so good artist changed they whole shit up to “make it hot” (see Lox on Bad Boy)take the east coast out that shiny ass wrapper and get back to NY via Hell on Earth and yall need to exile Puff he stay signing n9ggas from the South

  • benny

    yo what about skyzoo?!?!?

  • Breez

    Banks drops that album he could get it goin,and if juelz quits dick ridin weezy long enough to get his album out he can get his own shine and i always find it funny how loso never gets brought up in these conversations like he hasnt held NY down for years and dont sleep on diggy i see big things in his future with the kinda family he gots supporting him

  • alex

    hopefully when that new LOX (and Greatest Story Never Told to a certain dgree) album drops these conversatiosn will end

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

    I’m looking forward to Roc Marciano-’Marcberg’ dropping on Tuesday.

    If Charlie Ham can mature out of that goofiness sh*t he can be a problem.

    Sean Price. Fab just dropped ‘Funeral’.

    Joell been tearing them beats up. Cam’s putting back together the Diplomats.

    NY never left.

  • http://majorwaves.com Dan V

    If y’all think NY has it bad, you must not be familiar with the Philly hip hop scene. I’m actually ASHAMED to be from this town, what with all the empty tough-guy gun-talk over bootleg southern beats bullshit that dominates the scene here.

    And then, these local artists have the audacity to beef with y’all up in NY! Over nothing!! It’s like two old ladies fighting over who got fucked more back when they were still in their 20s.

    I have a site supposedly dedicated to Philly hip hop, and I can barely post anything local because it’s all garbage. Either it’s that monkey street shit or it’s extremely pretentious know-nothing-except-my-private-school-education crap.

    I don’t know. I’m rambling. The east shall rise again.

  • http://vh1classics.com Purple Rain

    New York Scene became really wack after Dilla died because then NYC underground wanted to get all kick space snare clap and forget boom bap. NY needs to stop trying to be DETROIT and other regions.
    Homeboy Sandman is a great new face for NYC HIP HOP and Hopefully that dj from MAryland helps make that the norm
    DJ from MARYLAND’s Richest County—ROSENBERG

    NYC needs to stop biting and stop being emo
    and do what Africa did back in the day when they said AFRICA is FOR AFRICANS, regain some kind of identity and boot the foreign emo hipster influences

  • caino

    NY took their eyes off the game, and the south swooped in and took the game away from them.

    Now do they have it in them to fight, and take back that mic?? l dunno, not at the moment anyways.

    Tho l do fuk with Skyzoo

  • Trin

    NYC is one place that has to compete with REGIONS.

    I mean Mid west Chi and detroit hip hop is heavily influnced by NY so is some of the cali underground..

    Yea certain artist arent from NY but they are doing NY music so does it even matter. The issue is IDENTITY NY losing it. Commercially the only NY artist recognized do music that sound southern at times and the typical NY sound gets no play Commercially. Dude said Ortiz skates on that old school vibe too much but that IS the NY sound. In the south they make that southern music.. Y cant NY Make NY music. THats the real issue. THere are alot of cats in the underground but on some real shit thats where they will stay.. Reason isnt them but the reason is that DJ BREAK RECORDS but NY DJs take cash then play ish. If regional radio would play regional artists in NY this wouldnt be an issue.

  • Trin

    Keep it 100 the real savior of that NYC east coast sound will be a DJ. Not a rapper. ONce the djs play the is ppl will know. Trust up here in the NYC area there is at least one rapper per block! And ALOT of them is dope.

  • Will E. Will

    um, I aint even on this commercialized crap anymore. Give me a c.d. with Wax and Herbal T on it! That’s talent right there, fuck what u say.

  • Bruno Honest

    New York’s most popular DJ wears fucking LUGZ!!!!

    Fuck outta here… They’ve lost touch with the current times

  • Anonymous

    Perception, perception, and the fact that New York is the bootleg capital of the world. A good new york artist like Jadakiss will move 5 times more in bootleg than in legit sales in New York, the tri-state area, through Phila, down to Baltimore and D.C. (secondary bootlegs). So he sells 90,000 official but mover 500,000 in bootleg, counting limewire rips. Labels don’t get paid off bootleg, so Jada get one low budget video. Down south if an artist projects sales of 400,000 legit they will get 3 to 4 videos. So then to the viewing public their music is hot. Perception backed by marketing.

  • Anonymous

    Perception, perception, and the fact that New York is the bootleg capital of the world. A good new york artist like Jadakiss will move 5 times more in bootleg than in legit sales in New York, the tri-state area, through Phila, down to Baltimore and D.C. (secondary bootlegs). So he sells 90,000 official but mover 500,000 in bootleg, counting limewire rips. Labels don’t get paid off bootleg, so Jada get one low budget video. Down south if an artist projects sales of 400,000 legit they will get 3 to 4 videos. So then to the viewing public their music is hot. Perception backed by marketing.

  • flavorblade

    To get back on top New Yorkers have to do something they are not capable of; stop stealing from each other. Perception and bootlegging is the problem, not talent or style. New York is the bootleg capital of the world. A good new york artist like Jadakiss will move 5 times more in bootleg than in legit sales in wholesale bootleg markets in New York, the tri-state area, through Phila, down to Baltimore and D.C. which are retail bootleg markets.
    So Jada sells 90,000 official but moves 500,000 in bootleg, counting limewire rips. Labels don’t get paid off bootleg, so Jada gets one low budget video. Down south if an artist projects sales of 400,000 legit they will get 3 videos. So then to the viewing public their music is hot. The so called hot New York rappers are those that have large fan bases outside of the bootlegging corridor. Whereas a successful Southern rapper doesn’t have to sell one record up north.

  • Anonymous

    Sean Price is the best emcee breathing right now.
    Brownsville’s finest…

  • August Martian

    Hip Hop as a culture no longer dominates the city, it left with the massive exodus of african-americans who went Down South to afford a better standard of living as the white Wall St/Financial influx made the city unaffordable for most besides those trapped in welfare/section 8 public housing.

    Add in the wave of recent immigrants from the West Indies and East Asia (and 2nd/3rd generation ‘yankees’ who still identify themselves more with the islands than America) and you will more likely hear Vybz Kartel or Gyptian in South Jamaica Queens than hometown favorities 50 Cent or Nicki Minaj. Name a prominetly black hood in NYC and at least 50% or better are West Indian or decendents and thats where the zone has been for a good minute.

  • georgiafatru

    look i aint from new york and i aint grow up on east coast hip hop at all. i came up on old southren hip hop when our artist were spittin & droppin hot albums (ex.outkast southrenplayalysticcadilacmusic & goodie mob soul food both from 1995) that really got no esposure outside the south because of ny & la artist hoggin the lime light so we went through in the 90s what yall are going through now till we got a lil lime ligh & got noticed for our diffrent sound & perspective on life so if i could just say yall got some tuff lyrics but its just yall delivery mane really i gave east coast hip hop a chance for a spell & it didnt stick because even a heap of yall new artist sound like ll cool j in the 80s hate it or love it the sound of hip hop have changed so maybe yall dont need to switch yall style up but at least update it and stop trying to be on top of the world in hip hop & just be the voice of your city yall lost it because yall were in a battle with l.a. to see which coast ran hip hop in which both of yall lost & let us take over plus we took over not becaues we were trying to take over but because we were trying to be heard with that being said PLEASE dont let what you see on mainstrean tv paint your picture of what southren hip hop is cause a heap of us southreners feel like hip hop as a whole has taken a turn for the worst and we also looking for a leader to rep the true aspect of southren hip hop (hopefully b.o.b. who is tuff lyrically)& not this bull that EVERY coast is putting out nowadays

  • Flavorblade

    Deep South rap fans have lower lyrical and creative expectations than up North. I think it’s because the south as a whole isn’t as articulate person for person. I met grown men down south they have an active daily vocabulary of maybe 500 words. Most of them talk so slowly with the drawn out drawls, there’s not time left for big words. You can lose interest quickly in what they saying. Took the brother half a minute to say he didn’t know. They repeat themselves alot to. Though I admit southerns have some colorful on point expressions for routine things.

    So the Souths whole thing is energy and easy to remember chants. Not all, Outkast is, Goodie Mob was lyrical. Jeezy is like a southern Jadakiss, whose rhymes hold different depths with each listen. Ludacris is the south’s cleverest, m.c with seemingly the largest knowledge fund, but he’s really from Chicago; known for windy mouth M.C’s like Common and Lupe. Even Kanye a producer first has lyrics a southern cat would die for. I consider Texas (southwest).

    The Deep South changed the game by making lyrics, clever world play, and breath control not as important as overall presentation, and energetic delivery. When the West came out they had to match the East in at least creative concept and unique flow; which they did with Cube, Snoop, and E-40. However regardless of all of that the South rules because they actually legitimately buy their favorite artist’s products. The only thing that matters to the industry.

  • Hollywood Lady

    I like New York underground. The energy is so crazy. I seen Skyzoo, Esso, Nina B Perform at little spots in the city. I have also seen Charles Hamilton performance. I never seend Mickey or other dudes hit that scene before the internet. Do you not have to ground work anymore and send a record to blogger to get a buzz? I want to say I saw them came up. I think that element is being taken away.