The Renaissance: 4 New Artists Bringing Harlem World Back
Once upon a time, Harlem rappers stood in the forefront of hip-hop. Entertainers from Harlem were easily identified via their impeccable fashion sense and natural hustler’s ambition. Diddy, M-A-$-E, Dame Dash, Cam’ron and Big L, those are just some of the greats hailing from the 212 borough. After the crash of the Dipset movement, though, Harlem as a whole lost its momentum. And while there’s been talks of a Dipset reunion, not to mention the fresh presence of Vado, it would take a wave of new kids on the block to resurrect the area as an industry force. Here, we run through the prospects responsible for putting Harlem back on the map.
While N.Y. is her birthplace, the mermaid queen took her talents to the U.K., where her career initially took off. After gaining notoriety across seas, Banks returned to the states to capitalize on that success, with her single “212” capturing her funky style. While she focuses heavily on fashion and creativity, her lyrical abilities are not to be slept on. This girl can spit! See: her EP 1991, released this past Tuesday (May 29).
A$AP Rocky’s rough-and-tumble childhood influenced the 22 year-old Harlemite to jumpstart his rap career. Rocky made headlines last year after signing a reported $3 million dollar contract with Pologrounds/RCA Records, thanks to his sly Southern-dipped rhyme style. Make no mistake, though—he’s reppin’ Harlem all day. Similar to Dipset (and Odd Future), the A$AP Mob crew he totes along consists of both rappers and creative assets.
The “Google Me” singer first hit the scene when she appeared on MTV’s hit series, My Super Sweet Sixteen. After much speculation of signing recording contracts with several labels, Taylor put the rumors to bed last week, inking to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music imprint. Not only is TT respected in the fashion world, she put her money where her mouth is on her mixtape, The Misunderstanding on Teyana Taylor, while penning new tracks and covering songs like Drake’s “Marvin Room.”
Another multi-talented artist rising out of Harlem, Vinny Cha$e shouldn’t be mistaken with the Entourage character. Cha$e (peep the dollar sign) not only rhymes and stays laced in $wag, but also boasts a background in videography and directing. The Harlem head started out shooting music videos and behind the scenes footage for other big like Cam’ron and Juelz Santana. If Harlem ain’t back, at least the “$” is.