Former Roots rapper Black Thought recently showered A$AP Rocky with praise for his contributions to “Ushering in a new era of New York hip-hop.” Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) is one of a few artists who has revitalised the city’s rap scene with musical innovation, and Black Thought is forever grateful for it.
This year hip-hop celebrated its 50th anniversary as the culture marked five decades since the renowned 1520 Sedgewick Avenue block party in 1973. In celebration of the milestone, hip-hop artists from all over the US have been performing, holding events and conducting interviews to reflect on the culture’s journey.
In a conversation with Pitchfork magazine, Philadelphia rapper and former Roots member Black Thought picked out his hip-hp classics and, along the way, highlighted his admiration for A$AP Rocky as an integral player concerning the restoration of New York rap music.
After drawing attention to projects such as Long Live The Kane, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Black Thought (real name Tarik Tritter) expressed his love for Rocky’s 2013 album LongLiveA$AP.
Expanding on its importance, Trotter explained, “This album ushered in a new era of New York hip-hop. It’s so braggadocious, it’s so macho, it’s so Harlem. But it’s also genre-transcendent. He was able to blur the line between the New York hip-hop aesthetic—which was trending less at the time—and the aesthetic that was beginning to trend more: classic UGK, 8Ball and MJG.”
The Philadelphia native continued to express how, as the South began to set trends, New York struggled to evolve beyond its late 1990s rugged image associated with the like of Mobb Deep, Nas and DMX, explaining, “New Yorkers who had creative blinders on and weren’t able to see beyond two feet in front of them began to adopt a different perspective in their process. Rocky represents the beginning of that for me.”
Trotter concluded by stating that he was a big supporter of A$AP Mob and admired all that they did during a time when New York was really struggling to produce quality artists. You can watch A$AP Ferg opening up New York for fans below.