The New York Times Tours Rap's Old Stomping Grounds
The New York Times brings rap's haunts back to life for Brooklyn, the Remix: A Hip-Hop Tour - a literary excavation of the borough that has long been an institution of hip-hop culture, producing some of its greatest lore and illest MCs. As gentrification does in almost every urban center, it has encouraged the charm of Brooklyn's rougher edges to dissipate as more polished and progressive spots rise around the urban legends and old hangs of the borough - places immortalized on rap records from the hardest of its resident MCs. Parks that once inspired rappers to wax poetic about slinging dope have since been zoned for play dates and the humble childhood homes of legendary rappers are going to the highest bidder; Biggie fans with major bank can take a stab at purchasing his old three-bedroom apartment at 226 St. James in Brooklyn's Clinton Hill neighborhood for upwards of $700,000. The less fortunate of the B.I.G. faithful will have to be appeased by the sight of its grand facade in passing or a picture of themselves immortalized in a b-boy stance on the stoop.
As other landmarks fall victim to the economy or changing trends and some neighborhood traditions die a slow death at the behest of new neighbors with major aversions to the way things used to be, there are many people in the borough who hold the memory of past decades close to their hearts. While the reduction of blight and crime may be a welcome change, the historical sites of hip-hop's golden years undoubtedly deserve an anthropological eye and a preservationist's touch. In what seems like a move inspired by the rap quotes project launched by artist Jay Shells, The Times identifies and uncovers the borough of Brooklyn as told by hip-hop's finest. Moving from Biggie's old spot on St. James, they cover ground from Fort Greene Park to Franklin Avenue, touching on some of the most prominent places in the lives and rhymes of its MCs. The virtual map drops referential lyrics alongside street coordinates and photos, with notes on the evolution of the corresponding neighborhoods and in-depth descriptions of the spots romanticized in some of the borough's most famous anthems. Click the link below to check the full article.