Regional rap is finally getting its due, Atlanta has taken over as the central engine of hip-hop, and New York has slipped into a supporting historic role. But it's not hard to remember a time when New York ran shit, and it was fucking cool. New York didn't just lay the groundwork; every single rapper across the country who decided to get behind a mic was inspired by a New York talent, whether it was Big Daddy Kane's laid-back delivery, Slick Rick's flossing or Run-DMC's Raising Hell tour that sparked their interest. The plethora of styles that spread throughout the country were initially inspired by New York. You could find more variety in five boroughs than across the entire nation; there was no East-West beef, it was the Queens vs. the Bronx. And the city's identity and birthplace weren't tied to any one style; it was a city of true diversity. Any rapper who came up was indebted to New York, and everybody knew it.
New Yorkers could still be snobby about New York rap.