Of all of the locales that are associated with hip-hop, New York City is undoubtedly the epicenter of all things that have to do with the culture. Since finding its footing in the impoverished sections of The Bronx and spreading its influence to the masses in the aftermath of the Sugarhill Gang releasing "Rapper's Delight," the music that serves as the genre's bloodline caught on in other areas of the world. From the U.K. to the West Coast, artists from outside of the Big Apple began introducing different styles, slang, cadences and sounds to the fans, resulting in regional sensibilities that served as identifying signatures. This was the way that a fan could pinpoint where an artist came from or what was the root of their influence.
By the time the 1990s were in full swing, most of the regions had cultivated their own trademark sound in hip-hop, with the West leaning towards G-Funk, the South catering to bounce music, the blues and the East Coast sticking to improved variations of the boom-bap sound. But as time progressed, rappers out of New York would begin to experiment with their styles and touch on different techniques employed by their counterparts down South, out West and beyond. In recent years, artists such as Desiigner, whose claim to fame is his chart-topping song "Panda," was pegged as a knockoff version of rap star and ATL native Future's. Desiigner was quick to be thrown into the hot seat due to fans yearning for the days when rappers from New York stuck to the sound of the city.
However, history shows that New York rappers have long been venturing outside of its borders in terms of sound and style and these recent occurrences are just rappers carrying on tradition. We highlight 20 cases in which a famed rap artist from New York borrowed from other regions.
"Nasty Boy"The Notorious B.I.G.
The Notorious B.I.G. brings Brooklyn to the valley on this Cali-inspired selection from his sophomore set, Life After Death.
A jail cell may have awaited Shyne after the release of his eponymous debut album, but the album's third and final single saw the Belize-born spitter channel West Coast legend The D.O.C.'s classic, "No One Can Do It Better," and score himself a hit record.
Lefrak is a far way from the Mexican border and Pacific coastline, but N.O.R.E. takes it there on this Pharrell-produced banger that plays heavily to the chinos and locs on the south and west sides of the country.
"Got Your Money"Ol' Dirty Bastard Featuring Kelis
Ol' Dirty Bastard's last great musical moment, "Got Your Money," was drenched in the funk and brought to mind the likes of George Clinton and Parliament when it first touched down on the scene.
"Going Back to Cali"LL Cool J
LL Cool J was one of the first rappers to make a foray out to the West Coast, turning in this imaginative standout that was later mimicked by the late great Notorious B.I.G. before his untimely death.
"Me, Myself and I"De La Soul
De La Soul are one of the more innovative acts to ever appear on the rap scene and its no surprise that the song that propelled them to stardom was also a departure from New York hip-hop that helped set the template for other experimental artists from the Big Apple.
"I'll House You"Jungle Brothers
The house music craze can be traced back to cities like Chicago and Baltimore, but Jungle Brothers helped popularize the crazy within the five boroughs and beyond with this late 1980's hit.
The energy of drill, a brand of rap music that has been bubbling within Chicago during the past half decade, was channeled into this viral sensation turn hit record by Bobby Shmurda in 2014.
"Can I Get A..."Jay Z Featuring Amil and Ja Rule
Jay Z switched up the flow and scored one of his first monster singles with this bouncy cut that tapped into his southern sensibilities.
Ja Rule initially caught a buzz via high-profile guest appearances, but the Queens rep got a little dirty on this southern leaning jam that introduced him as the next big thing in his own right.
"Ain't Worried Bout Nothin"French Montana
French Montana cooked up something for the streets with this heat rock, which helped establish him as one of New York City's more promising hit-makers to come along this decade and mixes Chicago drill with trap.
DMX hooked up with Swizz Beatz to usher in the era of the Ruff Ryders with this militaristic game-changer, which saw the Yonkers hard rock getting down in the trenches on this track, which stands alongside anthems from the likes of Pastor Troy and Master P.
"Round Here"Memphis Bleek Featuring T.I. and Trick Daddy
Memphis Bleek came in the game as the prototypical shorty from the projects of Brooklyn, but expanded his scope on this ominous cut, which found him connecting with two of the South's finest.
"Quick to Back Down"Bravehearts Featuring Lil Jon and Nas
The Bravehearts may have been living off the strength of Nas, but their sound was anything but boom-bap when they hit the scene nationally with their lone notable release, which saw Lil Jon hit them up with a little crunk juice to go.
Jim Jones has seemed to always have an affinity for the stylings of West Coast hip-hop, which he further makes clear with the tone of this standout salvo from his Hustler's P.O.M.E. album.
"Cruisin'"Jadakiss Featuring Snoop Dogg
Jadakiss is one of the more renowned spitters on the East Coast side of things, but drops slang over this cut dipped in Cali perm juice, which sees him and Snoop trading bars and connecting the coasts.
Fat Joe was once a member of the famed rap outfit, D.I.T.C., whose main forte was digging in the crates, but would eventually branch out and toy with different sounds, such as this hit single, released during his musical foray into the South.
Ruff Ryders member Drag-On continued to display the label's love affair with hip-hop on this rowdy party-starter of a record that further stamped the crew as one of the strongest in rap during the early aughts.
Taking advantage of the slight drawl he acquired after taking a gunshot to the face, 50 Cent unleashed "P.I.M.P.," a syrupy offering from his debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', that helped him transcend beyond the Big Apple and appeal to other locales during his rise to fame.
A$AP Rocky may have ruffled feathers by shunning the traditional, homegrown sound embraced by previous Harlemites, but managed to ingratiate himself to an even more diverse set of potential fans with his melodic flows and malleable charm on this record.