For those of us who grew up on New York hip-hop, we remember the glory days of the Golden Era, when there was no shortage of incredibly diverse rappers in the game, delivering their own unique brands of hip-hop to the world from the genre's main stage. From party rockers like Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys, to lyrical wizards like Rakim and Gang Starr's Guru, to left-field Native Tongues affiliates like Tribe and De La - the city sparked a renaissance in hip-hop and made it a legitimate cultural force and relevant art form. It'd be an understatement to say the 2000s was something of a drought for New York hip-hop, though. As regional markets like Houston, Miami, and the Bay each took their turns in the spotlight, New York's last hopes Papoose and Saigon struggled to find crossover success and their albums ended up on shelves for close to a decade. Meanwhile, fans and washed up rappers continued to bicker about bringing New York rap back.

Then the summer of 2012 came, and the super-young Brooklyn newcomer, Joey Bada$$, dropped his 1999 mixtape. The stellar 15-track tape was a smooth, boom bap-inspired, bold opus, expertly calling back to the good old days of New York hip-hop. Sure, there were plenty of artists buzzing before Joey blew up, but the dude demanded attention for his city, and he got it. And the truth is, there are a lot of rappers repping the New New York - some of them like to rap about selling coke, some of them like to rap about skateboarding, and some of them just like to rap about swag - but what made the Golden Era great for hip-hop was its diversity, and there's definitely a lot of that. And as a mutually respectful wave has washed over our city's young rappers, XXL feels like the more New New York rappers there are, the merrier.

Click through our staff-compiled guide to New York's upcoming rappers you need to know. This is the New New.


Pro Era
Borough: Brooklyn
Twitter: @thefckingera
Notable song: "Suspect"
Sounds like: Golden Era boom-bap channeled through DOOM's metal fingers.
Why you need to know them: Pro Era is at the forefront of the New New York movement, thanks to Joey Bada$$'s rising fame from underground hits like "Survival Tactics" and "Unorthodox." But the crew is also in a position to be one of the few artists with an incomparable NY sound to find success.


Vinny Cha$e
Borough: Manhattan (Harlem)
Twitter: @VinnyCHASEnyc
Notable song: "Biggie & Jordans"
Sounds like: A fashion-focused Harlem rhymester.
Why you need to know him: Harlem is on the rise right now, and Vinny is one of Uptown's newest cats to be leading the pack. Sure, A$AP Mob's takeover is in full swing, but Cha$e and his Cheer$ Club wave is one to pay close attention to. Not only is he hip on the fashion side of things, Vinny's also talented on the mic and thanks to well-received mixtapes in Survival of the Swag and Golden Army he landed a joint-venture deal with LA Reid's Epic Records powerhouse earlier this month after fielding offers from Bad Boy and Atlantic Records. Now with his infectious "Biggie & Jordans" single getting traction, it's safe to say that it's time to make way for the "swag god."


Borough: Manhattan (Harlem)
Twitter: @RatKing
Notable song: "Wikispeaks"
Sounds like: Early Eminem recitals with a grime band, taking place in an early Harmony Korine film.
Why you need to know them: Sportinglife, Ramon, Hak, and front man Wiki (collectively known as Ratking) first caught the public’s attention thanks to "Wikispeaks.” The record/video, which featured a then-18-year-old Wiki spewing endless, young-Slim Shady-style bars, immediately caught the attention of rap zealots, championing the youngster as a solid candidate to reignite the torch of New York rap’s dwindling flame. Since then, a whole batch of MCs influenced by their ‘90s predecessors has emerged. And while Wiki and Ratking’s musical presence experienced a facelift with more grime and hardcore gushes, there’s nothing more classically New York City than this rat pack’s discourses.


Black Dave
Borough: Bronx
Twitter: @BlackDaveNYC
Notable song: "Muthafuck! My Enemies"
Sounds like: Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler meets Chief Keef. Black Dave combines rigid, middle-finger-up 'fuck you' rap with moments of Slick Rick-level suaveness and backpacker sensibilities.
Why you need to know him: Carving his own lane out of the BX, Black Dave's music already seems to effectively challenge the stereotypes associated with "conscious hip-hop."


Chinx Drugz
Borough: Queens
Twitter: @ChinxDrugz
Notable song: "I'm A Coke Boy (Remix)" ft. Rick Ross, Diddy & French Montana
Sounds like: Dipset-era 40 Cal meets present-day Rick Ross.
Why you need to know him: Once French finally puts out Excuse My French, it's likely the Coke Boy Captain will hand his industry-elite Rolodex  to Chinx, who's capable enough to do something worthwhile with it.


Dominic Lord
Borough: Manhattan (Harlem)
Twitter: @RealDominicLord
Notable song: "Pierce"
Sounds like: Art house Pusha T with Snoop Dogg's laid-back demeanor.
Why you need to know him: After parting ways with the A$AP Mob, Lord set out to craft his own blend of dark, artsy sonics and fashion-forward tough-talk. With only a few songs in his canon, the Harlem rapper has already made a name for himself working with the likes of Pusha T and producers Hudson Mohawke and Blood Diamonds.


Phony Ppl
Borough: Brooklyn
Twitter: @PhonyPpl
Notable song: "nothinG special"
Sounds like: A more contemplative early-days Tribe, with a live backing band.
Why you need to know them: A friend was putting together a show two years ago at a 21+ venue and tried to get Phony Ppl involved, but they were too young to get in. That's how young these kids are, and yet, they have a really impressive collection of songs that showcase their introspective wisdom over live-instrumented boom-bap. "nothinG special" might be the most poignant song about being a young dude in a relationship ever, accented by its heartbreaking hook, "Shit is fucked up, you look up to people you trust/Then you find out, they wasn't who you thought they was."


Bryant Dope
Borough: Queens
Twitter: @BryantDope
Notable song: "Queens Kids"
Sounds like: A less smoked-out Mac Miller, with New York tendencies, like Nas' nasty confidence.
Why you need to know him: You could call Bryant a struggle rapper, but that'd only be because he's a young dude grinding and has sort of struggled to get his footing. Two years passed between his "Queens Kids" and "QB" videos, and it's hard to guess what he's been up to, but he seems to finally be getting some attention for his style and upcoming aptly-titled New New York mixtape. He might not be as impressive as someone like Joey Bada$$, but whatever he lacks in lyrical virtuosity and verbal dexterity he more than makes up for with enthusiasm and passion for bringing New York back to its mid-'90s glory days through quality beat selection, expertly-timed callbacks, and nice visuals that hold it all together. He's also a good-looking kid who could easily crossover to a female audience with one pseudo-love song, though he'll likely hold off on those for now. You could say his packaging is better than his artistry, but his artistry is his packaging. That's whats great about these young kids - they don't wait for a label to create an image for them, they know they need to create an image first for anyone to pay attention.


Bodega Bamz
Borough: Manhattan (Harlem)
Twitter: @BodegaBAMZ
Notable song: “P.A.P.I.”
Sounds Like: A Spanish Harlem spitter with an edge.

Why you need to know him: Bodega Bamz has the potential to shake the rap game up.  It’s been a while since mainstream hip-hop has been impacted by a Latino rapper, especially when names like Fat Joe and Big Pun paved the way. Bamz, along with his Tan Boys crew, bring a unique uptown perspective of the streets of NY. It’s gritty, fashion-forward rap that pushes what he has coined “Latin Trap.” With affiliations to Flatbush Zombies and A$AP Mob, don’t be surprised if the Tan Boys movement picks up speed.


The Underachievers
Borough: Brooklyn
Twitter: @TheUALifestyle
Notable song: “Herb Shuttles”
Sounds like: Psychedelic and complex lyricism paired together with bizarre beats.
Why you need to know them: The other members of the Beast Coast collective are by the far the most talked about lately. Issa Dash and AK got on Flying Lotus’ radar and he signed them to his Brainfeeder record label. In an effort to put their movement of the new New York scene on the map, February’s Indiogism showed off a good collection of druggy records and intense wordplay. These young guys have a tag-team rap style that has a lot of potential. The Brooklyn lords got next.


Borough: Brooklyn
Twitter: @DymeADuzin
Notable song: "Wake Up Free"
Sounds like: Brooklyn spitter traits intact with huge pop ambitions.
Why you need to know him: This kid’s funny. At least that’s the initial impression most had for the 20-year-old Brooklyn MC Dyme-A-Duzin. After the release of A Portrait of Donnovan though, the perception’s shifting. He can actually spit. And with support from the likes of Emile Haynie, Harry Fraud, Plain Pat, and OGs like Dante Ross (who scooped him to Warner Bros Records), it sounds like he has the perfect coaches to guide him to the championship.


Borough: Manhattan (Harlem)
Twitter: @PerryEats
Notable song: "Get A Job"
Sounds like: Harlem’s reinterpretation of skate rap, decorated with trees and 40s. Sticking to Golden Era spitting guidelines.
Why you need to know him: Yes, 22-year-old Perrion’s a proud son of Harlem, USA. But don’t expect an overly flashy kid with Alpo fantasies. He’s an Altamont-rocking skater at heart that’s psyched about chilling at the Berrics, and has no problem partaking in the humble festivities of puffing greens and sipping Heinekens with the homies. To Perry and his HOME Team clique, life’s full of stories to share, boasts to make, and beats to zone out to. Cut from the Golden Era cloth that once draped the New York City airwaves, though Perry Eats seems like a hybrid of multiple subcultures, he’s in fact a byproduct of the city’s current landscape.


Flatbush Zombies
Borough: Brooklyn
Twitter: @FlatbushZombies
Notable song: “Thug Waffle”
Sounds like: Horrorcore/abstract raps over dark, inventive production.
Why you need to know them: As one of the New York crews who operate under the Beast Coast umbrella, Flatbush Zombies have found their angle and ran with it. Consisting of Erick Arc Elliott, Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice, the Flatbush natives have a lot of things that you’ll fall in love with. Their attention to detail for visuals (usually shot in HD), have all gone viral, based on engaging appeal and clear influences from classic films. Plus, reviving the East Coast’s dark early ‘90s aesthetic—a la Gravediggaz—is something hip-hop has been anticipating for a minute.


Mykki Blanco
Borough: Manhattan (Harlem)
Twitter: @MykkiBlanco
Notable song: "Kingpinning"
Sounds like: Honestly, nothing. But, if you need a point of reference, he sounds like a quick-spitting No Limit rapper with no lyrical boundaries. Also hilariously brutal in his subject matter, similar to Danny Brown.
Why you need to know him: The only thing mainstream hip-hop outlets have to say about Mykki is that he's gay, but the dude has some amazing left-field confidence, and sounds like a (smarter) young Silkk the Shocker who popped a molly and found a bin full of trap beats. He might represent a very different New York than guys like Joey or Ratking, it's still a relevant (and awesome) New York scene. And he looks like he's actually having fun in his videos and at performances. Isn't that the point of all this rap shit, anyway?


Troy Ave
Borough: Brooklyn
Twitter: @TroyAve
Notable song: "Chiddy Chiddy Bang Bang"
Sounds like: A hybrid of 50 Cent's street-smarts and Young Jeezy's birdplay, sprinkled atop with some Brooklyn flavor.
Why you need to know him: Coming out of Bucktown, Troy Ave is poised on restoring a certain feeling back to not only rap but, the city of NY. Sure it's a tired mantra that's been brought up by many before him (and even by a few folks on this list) but, the Brooklyn rhymeslinger could show you better than he could tell you. Aside from successfully merging the streets with the net, thanks to his fan-favorite Bricks In My Backpack mixtape trilogy, Troy is quickly rising as an underground star. He's already received co-signs from the likes of Fabolous, Pusha T, Pete Rock, Funk Master Flex and has everyone from The Weeknd, Mac Miller and Joel Madden (Good Charlotte) showing love and support for his music.

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