Urban Central
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Urban Central


Changing tides of humanity demands titling or even total domain change. In Hiphop, it’s the same for every we’ll grounded society. Traditionally, the home of Hiphop us accepted as The Bronx, New York. Others argue Brooklyn or Harlem, but it’s the Bronx. Some of our fundamentalist Africans, tired of the oppression will argue original Rhythm and Poetry is an African child.

Through history, and at different times, different locations or states have controlled Hiphop with an almost authoritarian command. Several parts of New York, California and Atlanta, Georgia probably have the greatest spells ever as both trendsetters and culture leaders as well as rapper groomers. Other locations have also laid claim to that spot at different times; Miami, Florida; Detroit, Michigan; Chicago; Virginia; and even Philadelphia, but none have been as pronounced as the above 3 mentioned.

On Rise off Illegal Music 1, M.I Abaga asked, “ Where is the birth place of In Nigeria?”, a lot of people assume Lagos is the answer,a cosmopolitan city to rival any across the world as the home of Nigerian Hiphop. While it has a case, it’s not close to being the real Home. Jos, Plateau state is the correct answer, for it has always been the quintessential Centre for pure Hiphop patronage and talent grooming in Nigeria. It is a city unparalleled in love for Hiphop that seems almost hereditary. Love for Hiphop seems to never fade from the City. Lagos is just the platform for star gazing and launch.

In the global scheme of things, New York probably held something of a monopoly on Hiphop owing to the quality of talents it produced in the early days, their sheer numbers and the patronage and craving for Hiphop as both an outlet for enjoyment, self belonging in blackness and expression of inner rumblings. It took a while for California to really be taken serious as worthy contenders. With the advent of NWA, Pac ( with origins in the Bay Area), Snoop and so forth, the place of California and in particular, Compton and Long Beach were cemented as real Hiphop havens. The g-funk might have been the most distinct Hiphop sound of the early Hiphop days like low riders and throwback jerseys.

With evolution came style switches and advancements to make Hiphop more market — white/chart — friendly and appealing to a wider market. This gave birth to some Southern appeal. The southern brothers’ first major sound to really take over was the crunk, snap and later trap in the late 90s, to the early 2000s. And boy did it take over? Radio became more willing to play Hiphop singles, even to predominantly white audiences — at times. It paved the way for what was to come on.

In between these spells were the eras of Philadelphia, albeit arguably not as much of a Hiphop Haven, but a ground for talent anyways. Eve, Beanie Seagal, Cassidy, Vinnie Paz, Black Thought and Meek Mill are some of the few it boasts from its belly. Virginia on the other hand, came off with Missy Elliot, Timberland, Pharrell Williams and Clipse, To drop its vote in the brethren court of worthy Hiphop domains.

The period after crunk and the now almost soundless, amenable Hiphop asides Trap music and mumble rap, was the era of Florida,Miami-Dade. With their freshness, they brought with them a new sound, Hanoi one by The Runners, Cool and Dre, Justice League and the Inkredibles. They held almost a monopoly on commercial rap in the mid to late 2000s. Their stake might not be that of an originator rather a contributor, but their place will never go unnoticed. They gave us Trick Daddy,Ace Hood, Khaled, Rick Ross, Flo Rida, Pitbull, Trina and a few others, with the flickering torch falling on acts like Sylvan Lacue and Kent Jones.

Hiphop has always been owned by a location and it seems another location is upon us; Chicago.

Save money the new dynasty like death row in 93

Vic Mensa- Dynasty

While Chicago has never been a silent ground in Hiphop, boasting Twista, Rhymefest, Da Brat, Kanye, NO ID, Common and Lupe as some of its children, it’s never really been able to lay claim to control like it can now. Of the new generation, Chicago boasts the greatest number of dope Emcees in Hiphop — not mumble rap. These kids aren’t just rappers, they’re poets and storytellers who will change Hiphop. Facts only, as majority of them have roots in the Young Chicago Authors (YCA) outfit, which is something of a grooming ground for these acts.

With Chance The Rapper arguably headlining the generation, he has his save money comrade Vic Mensa not far behind, the list goes on to include G Herbo, Rockie Fresh, Joey Purp, Saba, Joseph Chilliams, Dreezy, Noname, KAMI, Towkio, Mick Jenkins, Tink, Jean Deaux, Lil Durk, Lil Bibby, Alex Wiley and a few others firmly staking their respective claims to the Hiphop crown.

These kids aren’t just rappers, they’re eclectic music makers who are defining a whole sound and thematic construction in Hiphop, while redefining the importance of good beats, albeit not plastic to rap music. For me, I’m not sure any Centre can compare to what Chicago is these days.

The Chicago take over is on all fronts as they also boast a talented array of young producers and engineers including but not limited to Thelonius Martin, Cam’Obi, Nico Segal, Thempeople, L10, Papi Beatz, Smoko Ono, Phoenix, and Nate Fox.

Also worthy of mention is an infantry of soulful crooning having in its ranks theMIND, Jamilia Woods and Raven Lenae.

So I say, welcome Chicago. We hope you stamp your feet and give us many more gems. For a city constantly known for the wrong reasons, I say some of her children her doing her proud. They’re also constantly addressing these issues in a myriad of ways. Could they shelve them? Maybe not. But they can still contribute their quota to keeping more children off the street. I say that’s a good way to go. Thank you YCA.

As for Nigeria, I don’t see anyone snatching the crown from Jos anytime soon because no city has its heart built around Hiphop like J-Town. If any city were to contend though, It wouldn’t be Lagos, maybe Port Harcourt As much as Lagos is home to a multitude of Hiphop lovers, the City is oversaturated by a love for dance music over any other thing.

By PennedMusingsNG for UrbanCentral

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