Even though Tha Dogg Pound’s “New York, New York” was viewed by many Rap fans as a diss of New York, Kurupt says that the 1995 song started out as a tribute to the birthplace of Hip Hop culture.
“It wasn’t even going after New York,” Kurupt says during an interview with xxlmag.com. “It wasn’t a diss record. It really wasn’t. ‘New York, New York’ was a record that we made in dedication to New York. We really felt that New York created Hip Hop. New York created battle rap and the whole ball of wax so what I did was a battle rap on this beat DJ Pooh did.”
The song almost didn’t come to fruition, though, Kurupt says to xxlmag.com, because DJ Pooh had given the instrumental to The Notorious B.I.G. for a St. Ides commercial. But since the music was only used for a commercial, Tha Dogg Pound made the song nonetheless.
“Snoop [Dogg] came in the studio when I was laying my second verse,” Kurupt says to xxlmag.com. “I laid the first verse in one day and then the next day I laid the second verse. And then when I laid the second verse Snoop came through and he came in and he just got finished listening to Melle Mel, Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five. He came in saying ‘New York, New York. Big city of dreams and everything in New York ain’t always what it seems. You might get fooled when you come from out of town but I’m down by law and know my way around.’ He was singing the Melle Mel chorus [from Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five’s ‘New York New York’]. He was singing the chorus and we was like, ‘That’s shit’s perfect. It fits perfect.’”
It was during the so-called East Coast-West Coast rivalry when Tha Dogg Pound went to New York to film the video for “New York, New York.” Snow was falling and the crew was filmed having fun.
“We wanted Nas and everybody from New York to be in the video,” Kurupt says. “It was a dedication to New York, but then we got shot at it while we were shooting it. New York felt we were disrespecting them. [Laughs] The New Yorkers wasn’t going for it. They was like, ‘Oh, no. You ain’t gonna shoot this shit out here dissing us.’ They shot at us the next day, so I mean after they shot at us, we went back home and Snoop was like, ‘Man, fuck that.’ Then we shot the other part of the video where we started kicking everything the fuck over. That’s why we started kicking things over because we got shot at it.”