Is Jay-Z to blame for the decline in New York rap? Why the New York rap scene is dragging behind the South and West Coast.

Is Jay-Z to blame for the decline in New York rap? Why the New York rap scene is dragging behind the South and West Coast.

“Years have passed and OG’s from both the South and the West Coast have passed the torch to their successors, Jay-Z at nearly the age of 50 still holds the crown as the King of the East Coast” – 808sandblues

Is Jay-Z to blame for the decline in New York rap? Why the New York rap scene is dragging behind the South and West Coast.


Don’t get it twisted but hip hop originated in the South Bronx of New York City by African Americans and Afro Puerto Ricans in the late 1970s. So when we see the average rap artists that emerge from the New York Rap scene we can only shake our heads in disappointment and say to ourselves, Biggie died way too fucking early. The glory days of the New York rap scene are all but over at this current point in time, in fact the last classic rap album that New York dropped was Jay Z’s The Black Album which dropped 15 years ago. While the West Coast and the South have dropped numerous classics since that point in time. The West Coast since 2003 have given us classics such as The Documentary, Below The Heavens, Good Kid Maad City, To Pimp a Butterfly and DAMN. While the South since 2003 has dropped classics such as Speakerboxxx / The Love Below, A Piece of Strange, Hell Hath No Fury, The Minstrel Show, Oneirology, Underground Kingz and Dirty Sprite 2.

New York with such its rich and illustrious history has found itself being mocked by both the South and the West and it’s easy to see why. Recent artists such as Nicki Minaj, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Bobby Shmurda, Young MA, Asap Rocky, Joey Badass and Dave East are indeed talented but they pale in comparison with what the South and West are producing. The West Coast has Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Dom Kennedy, Nipsey Hustle, Anderson Paak, Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. Furthermore the South is producing talent such as Future, Killer Mike, Kevin Gates, Kodak Black, Curren$y, Denzel Curry, XXXtentacion, Rae Sremmund, Young Thug and Migos. At one point East Coast Hip-Hop (notably Conscious and Hardcore Rap) was extremely popular, it dwindled down and in the 90’s the South rose from the underground having been shitted on for a decade until Outkast finally got respect. Put this in the perspective of the South, they not only endured racism more than any other region, musically they weren’t accepted in Hip-Hop, despite being the foundation of most forms of American music.

“The birth place of Hip Hop, 1970s New York” – 808sandblues

Is Jay-Z to blame for the decline in New York rap? Why the New York rap scene is dragging behind the South and West Coast.

How did New York lose its top spot? New York didn’t lose its top spot because 50 Cent fell off or because Biggie died. The fault lies solely on rap mogul and possibly the best to ever do it Jay-Z. When Biggie died and left a hole in the New York rap scene, Jay-Z emerged and took that top spot and ran away with it. He was the face of New York rap and dropped the all-time classic Blueprint 1 album in 2001 that solidified his status as the man who embodied New York rap. The problem with Jay-Z is that while his legacy is secured, he still hasn’t natured and groomed a successor that will succeed him as the face of New York rap. Yes, despite not dropping an album in nearly 4 years until 4:44 and turning his complete attention to business ventures, Jay Z is still its face and holds that crown.

Jay – Z should have groomed a successor by now and guided him. Every other coast seems to have done it. Take the West Coast for example, Kendrick Lamar is the face of it but that would not have happened if he wasn’t given the co-sign by Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and The Game also passed the torch to him too.

West Coast legends pass the torch to then up and coming rapper Kendrick Lamar Duckworth. Kendrick would then go on to become one of the most critically acclaimed rappers of all time.

But it wasn’t about passing the torch to Kendrick Lamar, it was about nurturing him and guiding him in the world of hip hop. It is well documented that Dr.Dre was and is still a mentor to Kendrick, helping him gain the respect of West Coast legends and fans and helping him form his own sound, even collaborating with Lamar on two tracks on Good Kid Maad City. With that kind of support and Co-sign it’s near impossible for anyone to fail. Kendrick has taken that mantle to heap praise on both Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples, two rap artists that are probably the best under 25 rappers in the West Coast and will surely soon become its forefront.

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Now taking a look at the south, the face of it is none other than Atlanta born rapper Future who has continued to rise since his breakout year in 2011 to become one of raps biggest stars. Futures current place in hip hop would not have been possible if not for T.I. and Young Jeezy passing the torch to Future by attending his first major concert in his hometown of ATL. Both T.I and Young Jeezy are legendary figures in the South, so that Co-sign was always going to do more good than harm. That’s same year Future collaborated with T.I on the track magic and Jeezy collaborated with Future on the track Way too Gone for the album Thug Motivation 103: Hustler’z. Having the support of the legends in your coast plus making good music will take you a long way.


New York will continue to be in this state unless Jay – Z publically comes out to co-sign a rapper from his city, mentors, grooms him and jumps on a track or few to seal the deal with him. Jay-Z still holds the New York crown and him holding the crown for so long is detrimental to his city. There would be nothing wrong with him holding the crown but he doesn’t releases music as much as used to do anymore. It would be extremely beneficial if he passed the torch. We know he still has the torch because everything he drops he does huge numbers and hasn’t co-signed a rapper from his city (J.Cole does not count as he grew up in North Carolina and was born in Germany). So who should Jay – Z pass the torch to? Two rappers come who have potential and are from New York are Joey Bada$$ and Asap Rocky. Joey did turn down a deal from Jay Z a few years back but Joey is in need of guidance more so than ever after dropping a dud album, while Asap Rocky regressed on this second album and is too busy with fashion. What New York needs more than ever is a rapper put to the forefront by Jay – Z to bring the city back to former glory. After all Jay-Z himself was mentored by Jaz-O from New York who helped him become the rapper he is today.

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