From the small empires being built out of Highbridge to the mantles being passed down in Canarsie, artists are beginning to redefine the soundscapes of New York City — and they are as robust as ever.
New York rap is a distinct sound rooted in the thunder-and-lightning interplay between kick and snare drums in an East Coast boom-bap track, but really, it’s an attitude, a way to be. It’s the noisy, flashy style Harlem folks pick up across 125th Street and the gruff, no-nonsense speech of Brooklynites, the insular slang of the Queensbridge projects and the versatile blend of cultures you see in a trip through the Bronx. The enduring spirit of New York hip-hop is unbridled confidence, limitless audacity.
Artists like Megan and Cardi B are leveraging their varied skills with a forceful reconstruction of the lascivious Jezebel stereotype that has long been affixed to Black women — removing the shame and immorality from sexual desire and highlighting the transactional power that has always existed.
A recently resurfaced interview with Megan Thee Stallion by music industry figure DJ Smallz focuses on her childhood bodily development instead of her career as an up-and-coming rapper.