At the turn of the century the Dipset crew rose from Harlem, New York and became one of the most successful groups in rap history. Cam’Ron, Jim Jones, Freekey Zekey, Hell Rell, J. R. Writer, 40 Cal, and a young emcee named Juelz Santana became the faces of Harlem Hip-Hop as songs like “Oh Boy,” “Crunk Music,” and “Dipset Anthem” became national hits.
Now in 2013 there is a new crop artists from Uptown NYC that have started to garner mass media attention. In particular, A$AP Rocky and Azealia Banks are two Harlem natives who have not only caught the ears of music fans, but they have also caught the eyes of high fashion circles.
Both Rocky and Banks have also faced a certain level of criticism from some Harlemites who feel that their music and their style are not true representations of the famous Manhattan neighborhood.
Banks actually got into a twitter beef with Dipset member Jim Jones in August of last year that eventually led to her recording a diss track against her fellow Harlem native.
Now fellow Diplomat Juelz Santana seems to be of those Harlem residents that’s not ready to fully embrace A$AP and Azealia as the “New Harlem” either.
“No, we Harlem. Forever,” responded Santana when asked by Pitchfork about A$AP Rocky and Azealia Banks leading the pack for Harlem Hip-Hop.
“They doing they thing,” added Juelz. “But when it comes to representing and embracing the essence of what Harlem represents, we do that.”
While A$AP Rocky is from New York his signature sound is more a mixture of southern “chopped & screwed” beats and a midwest flow. Azealia Banks’s musical style leans towards house-influenced tracks similar to 1990′s singer Crystal Waters.
Even though neither Rocky nor Banks choose to record over more traditional New York boom-bap tracks or sped up soul samples, both have helped bring attention back to a mainstream New York rap scene that had been dormant for years.
The question of whether A$AP and Azealia accurately “rep” Harlem or if they are just presenting their own unique styles may not matter if Juelz Santana’s upcoming comeback album, Born To Lose, Built To Win, is well received by New York rap purists and the nation at large (source).