With the New York rap scene bubbling once again with new music from vets like Jay-Z, Nas as well as from newcomers like A$AP Rocky, SOHH recently hit up Ruff Ryders affiliate Drag-On for his take on the overall state of music.
Admiring music from acts such as Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and Fabolous, Drag believes that emcees from the Empire State are continuing to persevere.
“Right now, I like the state of hip-hop,” Drag told SOHH. “We got more of the Internet involved and I really like the Internet because it really gives you a chance to get up close and personal with the artists and really get familiar with them. I like it, man. I don’t have no complaints on it. I’m not even going to front, at first I was feeling [shaky about the state of rap], but lately, there have been a lot of artists dropping a lot of powerful music. They’re kind of back. Look at how Raekwon came back after dropping Only Built 4 Cuban Linkz Part II and Ghostface Killah is definitely back. There’s a lot of powerful people that are back in the game, so I know there’s powerful music. I’m not really too mad at the game right now. It’s a lot of strong emcees in the game right now that I like. Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Fabolous. Raekwon and Ghostface are back at it, Capone and Noreaga are still doing their thing. It’s just good to see that. Hip-hop is no longer just about having a dance step to your music. You can have that, it’s cool, but you can have your street music too. It’s all gravy baby.” (SOHH)
Despite Drag’s positive outlook, Harlem rapper A-Mafia recently told SOHH he was unimpressed with New York’s current state of hip-hop.
“Weak, weak, weak, weak, weak, weak, weak,” Mafia told SOHH when 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)
Recently, G-Unit’s 50 Cent admitted having a hard time accepting the current rap game.
“I don’t see what I fell in love with,” he says. “So now I gotta make music that reflects what N.W.A made. I have to make music that has the moments that Nas had. I have to make music that has what Biggie offered.” He also discusses his currently untitled 5th solo album: “For me, I’m still up against what I’ve done,” he says. “So in order to top it, I know it’s a difficult task. You know, I see the bloggers. My audience hasn’t grown with me. They keep saying, “Aw, man, I want the old 50!” ‘Cause those people, it would take them on a safari. I was bringing them close enough to the animals, without being able to get hurt. I was taking them into my neighborhood, where you can very well get your a** killed.” (XXL Mag)
Over the summer, Brooklyn’s Maino offered his take on the New York rap scene.
“Since I came on the scene, which would be like 2008, everybody’s been asking me, ‘What’s the state of New York hip-hop,’ but if you’re actually paying attention to New York hip-hop, there’s actually a lot going on,” Maino explained in an interview with DJ Skee. “It’s just that we haven’t been able to connect with the rest of the country all the time. It’s a lot of great music out there. There’s dudes like Lloyd Banks, you got Jim Jones, you got Fabolous, you got a lot of artists connecting but we got to get back into the habit of making music broad and music that not only New York can vibe to but the West Coast and the South.” (Skee Sports)
Check out some past Drag-On footage below: