March 06, 2017

Rakim "New York (Ya Out There?)" (Rap Pages, 1997)

New York - Ya out there? It's ironic that a city can show growth and improvement, but lose a bit of the edge and texture that made it what it once was, am I right? I grew up when Forty Deuce was full of peep shows and tough streets, not bright lights and expensive tourist traps. When neighborhoods still had an elder presence; now neighborhoods are gentrified and the older generation lives in Jersey or in the south where its more affordable. When kids played outside and the streets had a major role in raising us, for better or worse. Yet, Hip-Hop never left NYC, even when the mainstream let the sound migrate & radio-support followed trend. 'To make sure the core of the Big Apple don't rot / Where seeings believing we be achieving a lot...' A lot of changes, sure, but the culture is alive and it'll always be a great city to live. I guess it was never meant to stay the same and when people say so & so is 'bringing New York back,' don't step in the bullshit. New York ... they're out there (watch below). Illustration from Rap Pages, 12/97, by Jamal A. Mayo.