My introduction to hip hop with Rap Traxx 2 was a take on and rebellion against what was played at the dinner table throughout my formative years. Billie, Louis, Nina, Otis and Ella will remain timeless favourites.
I have an appreciation for Kanye despite his overwhelmingly large ego, there is no denying his talents. As for Jay Z, everything he touches turns to gold. The Roots have it figured out and have made a loyal fan out of me. The music produced in the early to mid 90's when hip hop was yet to hit mainstream, still remains some of the best in my humble opinion. Gang Starr ('92), Pete Rock & CL Smooth ('92), Pharcyde ('92), L.O.T.U.G ('94), Common ('94) to name a few, are some great examples of the once underground sounds that are now lacking in the over-auto-tuned-pop-hip-hop of today.
Why does America get so much hip hop love and Canada is left with very little? Maestro ('89), K-OS ('93), Ghetto Concept ('95) much respect but Empire State of Mind makes me want to be from New York City!
Thank you to Canadian born Classified for creating an anthem that I am proud to play! Maybe we'll stop singing along with Alicia Keys and the "American Boy" can take a back seat for a minute.
Click on the picture above and check out the video for recognizable landmarks and a sense of national pride.