CEDITORIAL: Why New York is not Winning
Written by Big Ced
What made New York, in terms of Hip-Hop, the place to be, was the abundance of talent and the stories that needed to be told to the masses. It wasn’t the poverty or the ghetto life that separated New York from the world, it was the melting pot, the air, the uniqueness of the city that made it stand out. It was also the sights, the atmosphere, the grittiness of the city that made it a place that others either wanted to visit or stay far away from. Any way you looked at it, it was always a place that was the center of attraction.
And I’m not speaking only in terms of Hip-Hop or even music. We have the Broadway shows, Central Park, the Botanical Gardens, Coney Island, etc. I could list all the major attractions and still have more places and things that make this great city stand out. Malcolm X, the Civil Rights Movement and Gay and Lesbian protests. And let’s not forget the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden and the New York Giants. See where I’m going with this? It will never be just one event or attraction that makes us so notable.
Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the financial district. King Kong. All in the Family, the Jeffersons, NYPD Blue and New York Undercover. Union Square, the Tunnel, Studio 54 and the Palladium. Sylvias, Copelands and Amy Ruths. Damn, this could go on for days.
But the real reason for me writing this is the rumor (or is it truth) that New York Hip-Hop is dead, wack, stale, doesnt matter anymore. Why does it take Jay-Z or Nas to make NY relevant? Where are the new cats who were supposed to take off where Jay left off? Remember when Public Enemy, KRS-ONE, Das Efx, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, Slick Rick and every other successful New York Hip-Hop artist was hot and doing it? Remember when MC Hammer, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Uncle Luke, Common and any other emcee outside of NY wanted to be accepted by New York? What happened to those days?
Now we all have theories. Its time for other regions, people were sick of the NY sound, cats outside the region didnt care about being accepted by NY. Maybe we are the victims of our own arrogance. Maybe there were too many hot NY emcees and the competition with each other allowed everyone else to sneak in and take it from us. Doesnt matter, we are officially wack right now and there is only one thing that will put us back on top again! And no, its not the Jay-Z/Nas collaboration we are anticipating. NY is missing a great big factor that was the VERY reason why New York is envied, yet targeted, even by terrorists. We have something that is built in us, especially if we are born here, others gain once they move here and others elsewhere try to duplicate it with their own twist. Once we get this back, WE WILL WIN and be BACK ON TOP! Its one simple word and all the great emcees, past, current and hopefully, future heads has had and/or have. Are you ready? SWAGGER!!!
Let me repeat that word for the people who didnt read it correctly the first time, SWAGGER. Thats what we are missing! I am challenging the new breed of emcees to start incorporating that in the way they do things. I dont feel that from any of the new, what I call, mentionables. Papoose, Jae Millz, Maino, etc. Granted, all are talented, some even lyrical, but I dont feel the swaggerness from them that I feel from a 50 Cent, a Ludacris, a T.I. when those guys do ANYTHING and Im not just talking about them rapping. They all have an air about them that makes you take notice to them, something this new crop is lacking. Once those young bucks realize that the swagger will make them hot, they will get it.
And on another note, New York Hip-Hop was always known for its diversity and grittiness. I had a conversation with Uncle Luke yesterday and he stated that you cant know the streets if you are not in the streets. I agree completely, every one is trying to be Puff and Jay and anyone else who is able to afford the bling lifestyle, yet they dont want to work to get there. And another thing, STOP TRYING TO MAKE MUSIC LIKE THE OTHER HOT REGIONS AT THE TIME! We were hot because we went to the beat of our own drum, but nowadays, if Atlanta is hot, niggas from NY are trying to be like Atlanta. When are we gonna say fuck everybody and lets take the lead once again? We NEVER followed, we may have borrowed and made it ours, but we NEVER followed, but the current crop, all they do is mimic what the others are doing and until the cycle is broken and the right emcees lead the way, we will always be lagging in the Hip-Hop world, a world WE created, nurtured and controlled. Now all we can do is look as everyone else surpasses us in EVERYTHING!
In closing, cause Ive CED a lot, I am from New York, I live in New York, I will always represent New York, but no one likes being on a losing team. Right now we are the New York Knicks. Several years ago, ok, many years ago (during the Charles Oakley, Xavier McDaniels, Jon Starks days), whenever a basketball team came into Madison Square Garden, they knew they were in for a fight and a loss, now, they come into the Garden knowing it will be easy. NY Hip-Hop right now is the New York Knicks. Regardless of who is coaching, the team STILL SUCKS.
We need to get the dynasty going again, like The New York Yankees. No one was beating the Yankees in the seventies, they went through a slump and who is beating them now (In terms of constantly being one of the better teams)? We need to be the New York Yankees, not the New York Knicks, but more importantly, we need to take the game back! We need to be the leaders! We need to be the trend setters again! We need to get down and dirty once more to prove that we can get dirty and come out on top again. But until that happens, we may as well stop claiming where were from cause it wont matter. Its not what we did yesterday, its what we are doing tomorrow!
Big Ced is the founder of Industry Cosign and one of the most respected executives in the entertainment industry. You can check out his site at www.industrycosign.com