Harlem’s A$AP Rocky: ‘Culture Runs Hip-Hop…’

November 14, 2013

asap-rocky-gqIf you ask Trinidad James, Atlanta runs New York’s hip-hop scene; but Bun B and Harlem rap star A$AP Rocky don’t quite see it that way.

“It’s not really about who run what; everybody got its time,” A$AP said on Wednesday (November 13) when he appeared on “RapFix Live” to premiere his video for “Phoenix” from his Long.Live.A$AP LP.

James had everyone talking after he tried to surmise New York’s rap scene with one resounding statement. “We run y’all musically,” he told a Brooklyn crowd on Tuesday night after a drawn-out monologue where he questioned the whereabouts of New York’s rap roots.

NYC rappers like Maino and AG da Coroner took exception to Trinidad’s comments and fired back on Twitter Wednesday morning in defense of their hometown. Bun B, a rap pioneer who hails from the south, acknowledges New York as hip-hop’s birthplace and says that since the Big Apple actually planted the seed, the city’s artist will always remain influential. “Hip-hop and the actual art of rapping started here in New York, so if you’re an MC by due product you’re already trying to be like New York. So it don’t make no sense for nobody to act like New York trying to be like them,” he reasoned.

No one is discounting the South’s influence on NY rap. Rocky often credits Texas’ DJ Screw and Bun’s UGK as chief influences; he also regularly acknowledges Midwest rap group Bone Thugs N Harmony as well as New York’s Dipset.

“Everybody got its time, but people don’t wanna enjoy that until it’s gone,” he said of rap’s regional trends.

Bun has another theory; he sees hip-hop culture as a sort of boomerang: once you throw your art into the world it will travel, but may comeback in a different form. “Hip-hop left New York in the late ’70s, early ’80s and went out to the world and I came back. I threw hip-hop out into the world in 1992 and he came back,” he said pointing to Rocky, drawing a parallel to his debut album with Bun B Too Hard to Swallow in 1992 and A$AP’s current reign.

“Once you give it to the world, when it comes back to you, you can’t be mad at how it comes back to you because you sent it out there in the first place,” Bun continued.

Rocky ultimately refused to subscribe to rap’s regional divisions. Instead he summed it all up as just one thing. “It’s called culture,” he concluded

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