The expat has finally returned home. After a solid ten years of fucking around in the Midwest and the South, Hip-Hop has (finally!) reclaimed its roots in NYC. And honestly, the last time Hip-Hop was this exciting, Adam Sandler movies were still watchable, and I still had a decent portion of puberty to look forward to. I don’t have any chest hair to show for it, but this past ten years has been sort of gestation period and a new underground movement has emerged as crews from Harlem to Brooklyn have been stepping up and coming into their own.
But even as new artists have emerged, something crucial has been missing. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but it was this video by Ratking for “Wikispeaks” that really teased out my thoughts on current NYC Hip-Hop. If you got around to reading my Top Ten list for last year, you know I love A$AP Rocky, and if you have entered an 100-yard radius of the speakers in my room, you know I love the Flatbush Zombies, but I can’t help the feeling that a lot of artists are sort of just collages of their influences, not really grounded to a specific region or hood. I miss that sort of locale-centric quality, and I think “Wikispeaks” does an unbelievable job of engaging with that mentality.
Whether it’s the video – which is as polished as the song itself – or the lyrical focus, Wiki and his crew walk you through a day at home without any hyperbole or pretension. And it pays off, because I can’t imagine they need to do much else to make you hit repeat.