We’ll give the New York Times credit for bigging up the borough of Brooklyn and its importance in Hip-Hop culture, through the lens of gentrification. However, the Grey Lady needed to do a tad bit more fact checking.
In the story, titled Brooklyn, the Remix: A Hip-Hop Tour, the paper looked at how different BK neighborhoods named checked in rhymes over the years have dramatically changed thanks to gentrification. However, the nitpickers in us spotted a slightly erroneous line in the story. It is the second line of the following passage:
Biggie, who was killed under still-mysterious circumstances in 1997, was just one of the many rappers to emerge from Brooklyn’s streets in the ’80s and ’90s. Including successful hardcore rappers, alternative hip-hop M.C.s, respected but obscure underground groups and some — like KRS-One and Gang Starr — who were arguably all of the above, the then-mean streets gave birth to an explosion of hip hop.
First of all, KRS-One aka Lawrence Parker, was indeed born in Brooklyn, but he came up in The Bronx. The legendary MC’s group, Boogie Down Productions (the Bronx is nicknamed “The Boogie Down”), came to fame by representing for the borough and dropping a scathing diss track called “South Bronx,” which was a response to MC Shan’s Queens anthem “The Bridge.” The group (KRS and the late DJ Scott La Rock) also felt a ways that the Juice Crew’s Mr. Magic (RIP), which Shan was down with, wouldn’t play their records on his radio show.
As for Gang Starr; yes, the late Keith “Guru” Elam and DJ Premier came to represent Brooklyn to the fullest, but they are natives of Boston and Houston, respectively. These may seems like minute details to the uninitiated, but they are very important for rap heads and historians whose greatest fear is having key facts distorted.
As for the story, which also makes mention of Jay-Z’s old apartment at 560 State Street, the Notorious B.I.G’s childhood apartment and Talib Kweli and Mos Def’s Nkiru Books, among others, gentrification is a mother.
Read the full story here.
Photos: Linda Rosier
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