Infographic: A Map Of New York's Hip-Hop Heritage

Mapping the stomping grounds of hip-hop’s biggest New York names.

Last week, Nicki Minaj unexpectedly pulled out of performing at Hot97’s Summer Jam festival here in New York. Her reason? A Hot97 DJ named Peter Rosenberg accused Nicki of selling out, peddling faux hip-hop with her crossover hit, Starships. Gender, race, and authenticity were all at stake. But the controversy also involved geography. The controversy pitted a dude from D.C. against a born-and-bred Queens girl. Hot97’s program director even told the New York Times that the station had "supported Ms. Minaj for years, even when her records were not popular, because she’s from Queens."

Click to zoom.

This new infographic from A Very [/quote]Small Array reinforces how important turf is in hip-hop, mapping dozens of the industry’s big names onto the five boroughs. Can you separate Wu-Tang Clan from their Staten Island roots, for example? Or Jay-Z, who takes his stage name from the J-M-Z train line he grew up next to in Bed Stuy? Lil’ Mama has said that she found herself through rap as a 'tween growing up in the city.

The graphic has generated a ton of controversy over on her site (Long Island deserves a look, Busta Rhymes is from Red Hook, etc.), but AVSA’s Dorothy Gambrell tells Co.Design that the idea is to show where rappers spent significant periods of time. "It’s not meant as a map of where rappers are born," she explains. "It is a map of the neighborhoods where people are from or have spent significant time."

So, like so many other artists who move to the city to "make it," many of the biggest names aren’t native New Yorkers. Does it matter?

Buy the poster here.

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8 Comments

  • Apoc

    One can make a strong argument that growing up in a place is much more important than being born in that place. Example, Lloyd Banks is left off because he's born in Maryland but he grew up in Jamaica, Queens and everyone knows he's a New Yorker. 

  • usedpersona

    Yeah this is just a reposting of an infographic that made front page on Reddit a week or 2 ago. C'mon fastco, we expect better than this

  • Derp Derp.

    why are you all getting so angry about this? I know you don't turn to Fastco for the lastest in hip hop news, or the most detailed in hip hop history. 
    No shit, they don't know very much about rap, but you knew that before you read this. But really, how many hardcore rappers are good at infographics?

  • Dollar Van Demos

    Apparently this is a infographic map of hip hop according to a designer
    in Greenpoint with access to wikipedia.  Weak!  It's like entire
    neighborhoods of Brooklyn & Queens and more just don't exist on her
    wikipedia search. Plus, since when is Puff Daddy from Spanish Harlem?
    That dude is seriously Mt. Vernon (north of Kool Herc on this niggerish
    chart). Here's some friendly advice: just get on a subway, bus, dollar van and discover the creativity literally minutes from your home computer. It's sad that you relied on some aggregator to write this link bait.