"Everybody Wanna Do Boom, Bap... That Ain't It": Fat Joe on New York Hip-Hop

“Music moved on.”

Fat Joe sat down with The Breakfast Club on Tuesday (August 1) to discuss, among other things, Remy Ma's upcoming single (and album), JAY-Z's 4:44, the passing of Mobb Deep emcee Prodigy and finding the inspiration to continue rapping. 

The best part of the interview, however, comes around the 20-minute marker, when Joe is asked about the resurrection of New York hip-hop.

After citing artists like A$AP Rocky, Cardi B and French Montana, the 25-year rap veteran said this: 

"[New York hip-hop] is adapting. Everybody wanna do that boom, bap, ba-boom-ba-boom bap, [but] that ain't it. It ain't it. You can't. You know when you see these movies where they put the science project and they give you the round thing and they try to put it in the rectangular [thing] and it never fit? It ain't it. Music moved on."

Setting aside the fact he completely flubbed the use of the idiomatic expression, "you can't fit a square peg in a round hole," Joey's analysis is spot on.

One of the many reasons why cities like Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles have, in recent years, lapped New York—the birthplace of hip-hop—is because of their artists' willingness to constantly adapt and change. As new production sounds and styles were adopted by emcees outside of New York, the city's rap contingent, by and large, just continued to do the same thing. 

Just like the NBA has gone from an inside-out style of gameplay to a more perimeter-oriented, pace and space approach, hip-hop has moved away from its traditional boom bap roots in favor of a new sonic aesthetic. Artists can still see success making boom bap records—Westside Gunn and his brother Conway used this approach to ink a deal with Shady Records earlier this year—but the journey to prosperity will undeniably be more difficult.

Older rap fans don't necessarily need to like the change—shit, I don't—but they certainly need to accept change as the only constant. The only other option these days is extinction.



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