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Empire State of Mind – Does New York Need a Comeback?

I’m proud to be from New York, I truly believe there is no greater city in the world. And when it comes to NY hip-hop, of course, I’m more than a bit biased. But I’m a hip-hop fan also, so my tastes aren’t just limited to music from my hometown. Furthermore, I’m a part of this XXL team and though our offices are based in New York we represent a global brand and hip-hop on a higher level (plug, plug).

I know a few folks were ticked that our 2010 Freshmen cover didn’t have not one New York artist on it and then in our May 2010 issue we broke down the difficulty that new NY artist have when trying to get on (It’s Been A Long Time, Pg. 80). It’s an interesting discussion, with no easy answer. Is hip-hop incomplete without a new star from the genre’s birthplace? Or does the rest of the world not really care? Does it even matter where you’re from these days?

While I was driving the other day, I heard DJ Self playing a record that I had never heard before. On the record the rapper was urging someone to bring the focus back on New York rap. I immediately hit Self on text and found out that the song is called “Somebody’s Gotta (Bring It Back)” and it’s by Brooklyn upstart Ra Diggs.

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It’s definitely not the first record of its kind, but it did get me to thinking. What will it take to bring New York back? Do we need a revival of that old New York sound? Do rappers need to go back to getting beats from the DJ Premiers and the Pete Rocks? Or does New York need something new? Is it the South’s fault? Nah, right? (No Eskay). Do hip-hop fans outside of New York even care about New York rap?

Maybe this post is a bit selfish because I’m not giving you guys much information. Instead I feel like I need to learn from y’all, because I truly don’t have the answer. I’m too biased! And while my first love is GOOD hip-hop, no matter where it is from I’m still NY ’til I die! Sue me. —Rob Markman, The Deputy!

P.S. Peep our year-by-year top album and single breakdown that kicked off today and feel free to hit me this week on the official @XXLStaff twitter account.

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