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A Changing Of The Guard

By the time you read this I’ll be down South once again, trading in the crappy, wet weather of New York for the sunny breeze of both Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. While I do feel a bit of excitement to be in something warmer than 50 degrees in October (I miss California in the winter), I’m still not a fan of the airport and it’s quasi-slavery-era security process. On top of that, I’m always at risk to be “randomly selected for additional screening” because of my full, Nigerian name.

You have one guy ethering his balls while trying to blow up a plane headed to Detroit – Detroit, of all places! – and all of the sudden you the entire TSA is on your back. Good grief.

In any case, I’m headed to Florida – home to the South’s resident loudmouth DJ Khaled – to ironically work two separate shows spotlighting both California and New York artists. It finally seems that, after years of Southern rap having a triangle chokehold on the hip hop scene for damn near the entire Aughts, the musical landscape is slowly but surely returning to a nationwide appeal, with many artists from the West, Mid-West and New York – New York, of all places! – getting shine. Whereas before we either had to wait on a guaranteed million-seller like Jay-Z or, to a lesser extent, another delusional boast from Dr. Dre about releasing Detox (I honestly don’t think it exists, much like the jackelope or a good anything from Memphis Bleek), the likes of Pac Div, Vado and even Lloyd Banks have been doing a damn good job of reminding us that not all rap has to have either Death Row or Roc-A-Fella roots.

New York artists have finally gotten past that silly “bring real hip hop back” notion [1] and are actually beginning to work with those from the very region they once blamed for the death of rap: the South. Ass-backward boasts of being the next Biggie Smalls aside, Rick Ross can be seen along the likes of Jay-Z, while the current loudmouth king Swizz Beatz has, in between breeding with Alicia Keys, gone bicoastal as well, working with Gucci Mane (I actually fucks with that “Gucci Time” instrumental, if not the entire song).

As a result, the music has been a lot better. Years ago we would have never thought that Curren$y would work with the likes of 90s hip hop renaissance man Ski Beatz, and we likely would have had to rely on Game to drop an album just to keep the West Coast relevant. I don’t know what this exactly means, and if this trend will continue of fade into obscurity like all rap fads, but I’m going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.

[1] The only people you see say that now are those that flood the c-section of your favorite music site. And since we all know they don’t support rap in any kind of financial manner, we can take those flaccid boasts with a grain of salt.

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