@ the end of the day….Can east coast rappers sound like southern rappers?
East coast rappers songs sound lyrical with soul sampling production. Southern rappers have a more laid back, party sound over 808s and “trap” style production. There is an unspoken rule between the two coast…the Jim Crow rule. In other words, the two styles are supposed to stay segregated. With the current buzz of Asap Rocky, there seems to be a problem. See, this Harlem rapper sounds like he’s from Houston. Should this be a problem? Is he opening doors for creativity or making a mockery of his coast? The question remains…can east coast rappers sound southern? Let’s look at both sides of the Mason Dixon of hip hop on this debate.
By an east coast rapper sounding southern, East coast artists and east coast hip hop fans feel disrespected. New York is considered the mecca of hip hop. All of the pioneers came from here. Majority of the classic albums of all time come from East coast artists, who had east coast flows. They were considered the leaders of hip hop and by sounding southern, it seems as though they are followers. Within that same thought, many east coast artists change their style to generate more money. Southern artists seem to be making more money and getting more spotlight, so many are trying to follow suit. On the flip side, the Jim Crow rule seems biased. It’s more acceptable for southern artists to sound lyrical and use samples, but not for east coast artists to sound “crunk”. Similar to Chaundon, many east coast fans feel there is a NYID problem.
Trying to sound like your coast can limit your creativity. Sometimes, the artists may not originally be from the coast they are living in. Also, they actually may be influenced by another coast. Being limited to sounding a certain way can also limit fan bases as well. When Mims (a New York rapper) dropped “This is why I’m hot“, it was a hit. It was played throughout other regions; it had placement on commercials and had a huge rock remix for it. However, he was ridiculed by east coast fans. Is it really fair that Mims can’t “get on” if he isn’t repping right?
Asap Rocky has talent. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be getting a 3 million dollar deal from RCA/Polo Grounds. Maybe, Asap Rocky is looking beyond coasts. He has received co-signs from Jim Jones and Drake so he must be doing something right. He also made a good point about influences when discussing Wu-Tang in a Complex interview. He said that they never went to China, but we’re influenced by the culture. This is a good point. Are we making this debate bigger than it actually is? Is hip hop waiting for a rap version of MLK to bring us all together? @ the end of the day…it shouldn’t be about the coast but rather, who can influence the most.