With New York rappers like French Montana and A$AP Rocky gaining momentum and mainstream attention as of late, producer Dame Grease tells SOHH why the Big Apple is fresher than ever.
In Grease’s perspective, rappers like French Montana and the incarcerated Max B have helped keep New York alive .
“We’ve brought the whole New York rap scene back twice,” Grease told SOHH. “I want you to print that in big letters. I’ve brought the rap scene back twice. In 1998 and in 2008-2009. Ten years later with me, Max B and French [Montana], the whole Wave movement. The first Ruff Ryders movement and the Wave movement. New York classics. And it’s printed in history. The mixtapes for the streets got you to see some of the next big artists that’s coming up. That’s why I went back underground with the mixtapes because I was looking for that hunger.” (SOHH)
In January, French Montana offered his take on New York’s quieter years.
“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)
Harlem rapper A-Mafia previously spoke to SOHH and said he felt the Big Apple hip-hop scene was underachieving.
“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)
Last summer, Brooklyn’s Maino gave his take on the Empire State’s 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)