Sunday, February 22, 2009

Battle Of The Boro's - Hip Hop Finest


It’s the question that pits borough against borough. Nearly four decades after the first deejays mixed beats on turntables and created a revolutionary new sound, Brooklyn and Queens both lay claim to the title of Hip-Hop Capital. While the Bronx is most often credited as the birthplace of rap, Queens spawned a slew of early pioneers, such as Run DMC, and continues turning out industry leaders, including Nas. “Queens is the mecca of hip hop,” Orville Hall, owner of Hollis Famous Burgers/Hip-Hop Museum, said at a ceremony Thursday celebrating the neighborhood. “Pound for pound, Hollis has contributed the most music to hip hop.” Not so fast, say Brooklynites on the other side of the good-natured dispute, who point to the dominance of rap impresario Jay-Z and the staying power of the Notorious B.I.G., still selling albums more than a decade after his death.
“Brooklyn brought you Biggie and Jay-Z. End of discussion,” said Bedford-Stuyvesant native Josh Carr, 35. “Sorry, Queens, you aren’t on our level.” New York’s hip-hop rivalry stretches back to the early ‘80s, when MC Shan’s song “The Bridge” — about hip hop’s roots in Queensbridge — prompted rapper KRS-One to attack Shan in the song “South Bronx.”
For James Peterson, a Bucknell University professor who teaches courses on hip-hop culture, the Bronx is the undisputed point of origin. But the breadth of talent coming out of Queens since the 1970s is undeniable, he said. “Queens has outstripped most other regions in terms of its dedication and contribution,” he said. Attendees at Thursday’s celebration at Hollis Famous Burgers — adorned with Run DMC’s first gold and platinum records and Jam-Master Jay’s turntables — agreed. “We had everyone from Compton to Japan to Harlem trying to get like Hollis,” said DMC, who attended the event. Recently, though, the conversation has shifted to include Brooklyn, since the influence of Jay-Z and B.I.G. has been so far-reaching.
“Name me any rapper from Queens that meant as much to hip hop as Biggie and Jay-Z. You can’t,” said Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Sheed Irwin, 22. Peterson said the ongoing rivalries only illustrate hip hop’s staying power. “The ways in which we have had this battle since the beginning suggest to me the power of the culture,” Peterson said.

1 comment:

  1. thanks 4 a good read...took me back a bit there (NO COMMENTS ???...WHAT???). fortunately 4 me, im also a hiphop head; not just a mixtape head.

    thanks again 4 waking me at work.

    ReplyDelete