Brooklyn rapper Fabolous recently offered his take on the state of New York hip-hop and why fans and artists alike should let go of wanting throwback tunes in these modern days.
In Fab’s perspective, rap music stemming from the Empire State has evolved from what it once was ten and twenty years ago.
“It’s a different generation and even though it’s on an upswing, it’s on the upswing of this generation. I don’t think it’s ever going to be the 90s/2000 New York, and people might have to rationalize with that and accept it,” Fab said in an interview. “It’s only going to be the New York of now. It’s still a staple for music, it’s just that the music coming out of here hasn’t been the strongest because New York music is not dictating a sound anymore. I don’t mean to say that our music is wack, it’s just not the number one sound right now. Right now, ‘Ratchet’ music is mainstream. New York’s music used to be street, gangsta music. That was our ratchet music.” (XXL Mag)
Recently, New York rap newcomer A$AP Rocky‘s sidekick A$AP Yams compared his new Long. Live. A$AP LP to classic hip-hop albums from the late Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z.
“Long. Live. A$AP is a New York record, first and foremost,” Yams added. “It follows a similar formula, I would say, to Life After Death, by Notorious B.I.G., A Hard Knock Life, by Jay-Z, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ to 50 Cent. Not as aggressive. People can say anything they want about Rocky, ‘He sounds like he’s from here. He sounds like he’s from there.’ I don’t care what nobody says, people don’t know what New York rap sounds like in 2012 ’cause it’s been so messed up for the past five years. How you know what New York rap sounds like? You either get with the program or stay in the past and pop bottles to corny records and things of that nature.” (New York Times)
A year ago, Bad Boy’s French Montana credited artists like himself for helping bring new energy to the East Coast.
“It’s been so long for a New York artist to really [have an impact] that it seems like there’s been a dark cloud over New York and the East Coast,” Montana said in an interview. “It’s a blessing that me and other East Coast artists are finally getting our shine again. Artists like Meek Mills (who is from Philadelphia), myself…everybody. We just need more support, that’s all. A song like ‘Shot Caller’ is East Coast…it even has the Lords of the Underground sample from “Funky Child.” But it’s important that we make sure we also make music for everybody else like I did with “Choppa Choppa Down.” (VIBE)
Back in fall 2011, Harlem rapper A-Mafia hit up SOHH and described the state of New York rap as less than stellar.
“Weak, weak, weak, weak, weak, weak, weak,” Mafia told SOHHwhen asked for his impression on the New York hip-hop scene. W-e-a-k. NYC is weak right now. Period. I don’t care who I offend, man. You know why New York is weak right now? They’re not doing what they want to do. They’re doing what they’re dictated to do and when you do stuff like that, it makes your craft weak. Listen man, [they need to] be [themselves] and represent the people that put them in the place they’re at in the first place. A lot of these rappers, they neglect the people that put them in the position in the first place. That’s when you lose. If the streets put you in position, it’s all right to make big records and represent other places and other people, but you gotta always show love to the people that put you in position. You can never neglect the people that put you in position and a lot of these big rappers, that’s what they do. They neglect the people that put them in position and then when they fall off, they try to always go back. The big rapper will always try to go back to the people that put them in position but it’s too late. That’s why I do this for the streets, man.” (SOHH)
Check out some past Fabolous footage: