With Naughty By Nature prepping their new Anthem, Inc. compilation project to drop next week, SOHH reached out to group member Vin Rock for his take on the New Jersey rap scene.
Representing East Orange, New Jersey, Vin Rock said rap fans should expect more Garden State emcees to continue fighting to get put on.
“I love the New Jersey rap scene,” Vin told SOHH. “We’re the frustrated, neglected child in hip-hop. All of our Jersey emcees are hungry, talented, they’re inspired. You know, I got some cats from Jersey and they always send me videos, these rap battle videos, and they’re like New Jersey and Philly have the illest rap battlers. Jersey is definitely holding its own but the climate changed a little bit. But around the summertime, we always get busy. Treach is repping that Garden State Greats movement and there’s quite a few other movements out there where there’s emcees bonding together and going to New York and just repping Jersey. I think there’s plenty more to come too. Joe Budden is defintiely out there on the frontline. But there’s going to be plenty more Jersey emcees to come through.” (SOHH)
Around the mid-2000’s, Treach put together his own Garden State crew of rappers.
Treach, who co-produced The Garden State Greats with fellow Naughty by Nature member Vinnie, says the idea came from Fam, a member of Naughty touring partners Rottin Razkals. “He was like, ‘Yo, there’s so much heat in Jersey right now, but it’s so hard to get out in the music industry. We need to use our juice and put it all together on one project. No discrimination, as long as they’re from Jersey.'” (MTV)
Last year, Newark native Redman discussed his perception of the state of New Jersey rap.
“I tell everybody in the interviews, it’s still a lot of room for Jersey cats,” Redman said in an interview when asked about the presence of prominent Jersey emcees. “I know Joe Budden is holding it down. But we need more. Me and him just can’t do it on our own. It’s so much talent out there. You got Ransom out there, he’s coming up. He’s been hitting hard, he just needs that one to get up there to say ‘All right, he’s official. He’s Jersey.’ My nephew’s next, he been putting in mad work. I’m building him as an artist though. I had him on the road with me for like five years, so he’s well in-tuned with how to be an artist. He’s well in-tuned to how to perform, go out and service the crowd and rock the mic, and he’s ready. So I’m telling all my Jersey cats, like, I see a lot of cats out there that’s coming — We need something to solidify, ‘This is how Jersey runs. We got our own anthem. When sh*t is going down over here, I know we’re five minutes from New York but we’re still in our own world.'” (Good Fella Radio Show)
Following his remarks, female rapper Lady Luck gave her input on the perceived Jersey emcee drought.
“He’s a sucka,” Luck told SOHH, referring to Redman’s desire for New Jersey rappers to emerge to the hip-hop forefront. “He’s a sucka for saying that, man. Yes he could [help other NJ rappers]. I don’t know what Doc has [ever] done. You know what I’m saying? And like, I feel whoever’s had the platform, they didn’t really do nothing. You know what I’m saying? And I say that freely because you could look at what Lil Wayne did, [he] ran with artists. You could look at how many people ran with different artists and put people on. Nelly put his people on and they’re not trying to really do that out here [in New Jersey]. I don’t see them reaching out to people and doing freestyles.” (SOHH)
Naughty By Nature’s Anthem, Inc. compilation drops Tuesday, December 13th.
Check out Redman speaking on the state of New Jersey rap below: