N.O.R.E. recently sat down with Vlad TV to share his thoughts on the supposed decline of New York City Hip Hop.
“The thing about it is, it’s our fault,” he said. “It’s our fault, we play a part in that. All of us, the deejays, the PD’s—I got love for Geespin too, I want to throw that out there,” he said in reference to a Power 105.1 NYC program director. “But the deejays, the PD’s, the artists, the radio personalities, by us not keeping in contact.”
N.O.R.E. moved on by analogizing Oprah Winfrey’s self-marketing to the editorial decisions rapper Benzino made as a co-owner of The Source in the late 1990s. “You know what, I remember, back in the days, Benzino gave himself four mics in The Source,” N.O.R.E. said. “People went nuts [like] ‘what the fuck is wrong with this motherfucker?’ Oprah puts her fucking self on a magazine every single month. Every month, Oprah has a O magazine, you know who’s on the cover? On January you know who’s on the cover? You know who’s on the cover in August? You know who’s on the cover in December?” he said in reference to Oprah’s appearing on the cover each month. “This is the same shit. We’ll critique each other but won’t critique the other fucking side.”
Benzino was widely criticized for what many perceived as an editorial misstep in granting his own group, Made Men, a coveted four out of five mics rating in 1998. The magazine granted The Marshall Mathers LP the relatively low rating of two mics two years later despite its critical acclaim elsewhere which helped fuel a public feud between Benzino and Eminem.
“What I’m saying is, this is crazy man, I’ve never lived in a time like this,” N.O.R.E. said, continuing his remarks on the New York City Hip Hop scene. “I just don’t get it, but I’m open to the discussion of—you know, we got to show unity, we gotta show love. Ja Rule came home threw out two records, none of them are added to Hot 97, none of them are added to Power 105. I think not only [is] deejays becoming A&Rs is hurting us because they’re looking back like ‘Hmm, I think this record won’t work.’”
At the end of Vlad TV’s segment, N.O.R.E. added comments that supporting New York’s music shouldn’t be confused with denouncing other regions. “Listen, being pro-Black doesn’t mean you’re anti-White, you understand?” he said. “I’m pro New York, doesn’t mean I’m anti-South. I live in the South, I get it. Why is New York special if I live there and I come to New York and it’s the same exact feeling, it shouldn’t be that.
“I should be eating chicharron de pollo con hueso in Miami, living my half Spanish life that I am. And I should come out here and eat pizza, quarter waters, wear Timberlands, fucking Carharts, if I choose to do so. Eating Peter Lugers, shit that’s just in New York. I shouldn’t feel like I’m in Miami-New York.”
N.O.R.E., who reportedly moved to Miami several years ago, referenced the transition in his 2012 song “Gangstas Don’t Die,” which features Jadakiss. “Gangstas don’t die, they get chubby / And move to Miami yo / Still I got my swammy yo,” he raps.