It’s been debated for the longest time. Since its inception, there’s been amazing MCs from different regions. Which region is the best? Is it the grimy and realistic music of the East Coast? The innovative music of the South? The eclectic and energetic West Coast music? Or is it the down to earth, soulful and sometimes murky music of the Mid-West?
To begin the discussion, we have to begin with the East. The East Coast is the mecca of Hip-Hop in the United States. From Sugarhill Gang, Run D.M.C., Notorious B.I.G, Nas, Jay-Z to modern rap artists and groups. Recently, Griselda have been dominating the New York rap scene slowly but surely. It’s very evident with their consistency being unmatched. In earlier parts of the previous decade, New York was becoming a forgotten city. In an era where pop-crossovers became the mainstream norm, new sounds were forged, and they were mainly outside of New York. This saw the rise of different styles and artists. Rick Ross, Odd Future, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Tyga, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and many more. Yet, in that fold, Joey Bada$$ released “1999” and it re-opened lanes for New York.
Aside from Nicki Minaj, there weren’t many mainstream names from the East earning acclaim or prolific sales. PRO ERA were considered prodigies, they were moulded and shaped by rap groups that have preceded them. Crews such as Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, A Tribe Called Quest, G-Unit, Dipset etc. In fact, even A$AP Rocky and his collective, the A$AP Mob, were thought to be the ones to lead the new generation of New York rap. However, scheduling conflicts, grief over the loss of members, pursuits of different interests, members leaving, and other factors saw them fail to capitalize on their momentum.
In early 2019, the Beast Coast – a Hip-Hop collective composed of members of Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, and the Underachievers, released their debut album, “Escape From New York”. While the album was enjoyable, it seemed a little too late for Pro Era.
The underground rap scene has been picking up the slack and showing that the next generation is still as sharp as their predecessors. It’s so evident that rappers like Mach-Hommy and Roc Marciano are getting mainstream co-signs. While in tune and considered “underground”, Griselda is nearing and firmly in the mainstream. With looks on Jimmy Fallon and a star-calibre rollout including Hype Williams visuals while also having co-signs from all our favourite rappers. The list is endless – Nas, Cam’ron, Hov, 50, Eminem, Drake, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Alchemist, DJ Muggs, Jim Jones, Pusha T, Royce da 5”9, Skyzoo and Black Thought. They’re so well-loved that in 2017, on a tour date, they had Raekwon, the L.O.X., Prodigy, Roc Marciano, Statik Selektah, Mayhem Lauren and Smoke DZA on stage.
In fact, CJ Fly of Pro Era capitalized off Griselda’s clout by working on CJ Fly’s “City We From”. The resultant saw them floating on an eerie but laid back instrumental. Hopefully 2020 ushers in a record with Griselda and PRO ERA. In fact, the East is set to flourish in 2020. Acts like Dave East, Roc Marciano, Pharoah Monche, Pusha T, Styles P, El Camino, Pop Smoke, Griselda, Homeboy Sandman, KA, Your Old Droog, Tha God Fahim, Mach-Hommy, Billy Woods, Oddisee and Koncept Jackson prove that the East is still very prominent in hip hop. We’ll see how they compare to other regions.
Written by: Nathi Mogwera | Twitter @JustGambinoo
Edited by: Dithekgo Mogadime | Twitter @Dithekgom