Sometimes New Yorkers can come off a little self-conscious. We've got the stars, the scenes, and the go-to dreams of practically every American teenager in the world. But when it comes to hip-hop, it seems we really have a difficult time dealing with waning omnipresence and the steadily increasing mainstream attention paid to those non-Most Important Place in the Universe locales. Atlanta, Miami, Memphis, even the resurgence of Los Angeles -- it terrifies us, which is why we've seen an endless string of anonymous New York MCs held up as that foregone arbiter destined to "Bring New York Back."
Photo by Phillip Toledano A$AP Rocky
That's the slogan. "Bring New York Back." It always struck us as strange, because it's not like the city hasn't produced interesting rap music over the last 10 years; all the same, it harkens to an era when New York hip-hop was the only hip-hop that mattered. You know, that same era when groups like OutKast and Goodie Mob were getting buried.
So with that in mind, we're going to chronologically track the people who were supposed to bring New York back. Maybe we'll learn something about unrealistic expectations in an increasingly diverse world.
See also: The Top 20 NYC Rap Albums of All Time