The Big Apple. Gotham. The Centre of the Universe. It’s got many names but the best city on the East Coast of America needs no introduction.
The city is fast-paced, urban and boisterous, just like its music scene. Where L.A has the pert and sparkly pop scene and New Orleans has moody blues and jazz – New York has the Bronx and Harlem, the twin hearts of rap and hip-hop.
There are too many to list them all, but check out a couple of our favourite, born and bred New York artists. The music scene wouldn’t be the same without them:
Manhattan born Stefani Germanotta burst into our lives in 2008 with her debut album The Fame. The world looked on, scared, confused and a bit aroused by the glittery Mother Monster. She taught herself how to play piano by ear when she was just four years old and wrote her first song when she was just 13. She recently colaborated with Netflix and launched an emotional documentary that sheds light on her personal life and struggles. Love her or hate her- this woman can sing!
He’s got 99 problems… (but money ain’t one)
Shawn Carter, a.k.a Jay Z, began life in the housing projects of Brooklyn and is now one of the best-selling artists of all time with 21 Grammys on the shelf – oh and Queen B in his bed. Originally selling his tracks from his car, Jay Z is the master of flow and a rap game changer. Released in 2001, The Blueprint, is timeless and our No.1 favourite album from his discography.
The Wu-Tang clan members are Staten Islanders and restyled the face of hip-hop with their 1993 debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). They have been hailed by many critics as being one of the most influential hip hop groups of all time and our festival crew watched them perform during our first year at The Governors Ball Music Festival, during our tour through New York.
East v West and the deaths of two legends
The music industry suffered a major blow during the infamous hip hop rivalry between Tupac and his West Coast record label: Death Row Records, and The Notorious B.I.G’s New York based label: Bad Boy Records. Both rap Kingpins were fatally shot in drivebys in the early 90’s, however what people don’t know is that Tupac was born in East Harlem, not a million miles from Biggie in Brooklyn. Both murders remain unsolved, but their music continues to influence both the rap and hip hop genres today.
Who are your favourite artists from New York?
Written by Kim Wilson