For those of you keeping track at home, “I’ll Be” is the first of two major Rene & Angela samples that Jay Z hopped on in March 1997, the second being “I Love the Dough” from by the late Notorious B. As for Foxy: Here’s the biggest hit of her career, a feminist mafioso jig that peaked at No. Lil Dap and Melachi the Nutcracker weren’t the best rappers and still managed to give us a classic album. The humming sound in the background always grabs my soul and makes me want to roam the NYC streets during scary hours. It could If you were tasked with explaining the appeal of mid-to-late 1990s underground New York rap to an alien in 2115 or, say, a millennial next week, you could do worse (a lot worse) than simply cueing up J-Live’s “Braggin’ Writes.” In another era—one where artists ran their own labels or were able to efficiently release music sans executive meddling—J-Live might’ve been a star or at least pretty damn wealthy.
There’s so much to choose from that so much still gets left out.
For this list, we gave special preference to songs that repped for the city itself.
Once that video dropped in 2011 with the A$AP Mob showing out in the streets of Harlem the crew never looked back.
NYC was yearning for relevancy in the mainstream during this period and were conflicted with Rockys sound.
The web is the new underground, and Rocky is as underground as they come in that sense.
Eastside Stevie’s Tumblr page literally made his career.Which means New York City and hip-hop are forever intertwined. Staten Island’s main contributions come from one camp but remain significant with Method Man, Ghostface Killah, and Raekwon.Rap listeners around the world who’ve never been to the Big Apple still know places like Nas’ Queensbridge projects, the slums of Wu-Tang’s Shaolin, and KRS-One’s South Bronx. Even Manhattan has its own Harlem World fresh with stars like Kool Moe Dee, Diddy, and Cam’ron.So make sure there’s money in your Metro Card because this is a trip through New York and its five boroughs.While “Purple Swag” put Rocky on the map, it was “Peso” that turned him into a star.—Masta Ace’s “Jeep Ass Niguh” is a rap rarity, a dope song that was turned into another dope song, “Born to Roll,” simply by flipping the beat and adding more bass. Which is fine and all, especially for the woofers in your Jeep, but honestly the original was fine the way it was.