Once the king-maker of neighborhood phenoms, New York no longer spawns hip-hop's best, and the rise of ringtones is the culprit, writes Matthew Mundy in the New York Press. Because Big Apple beats are less pop-friendly than their Southern counterparts, they're not making it to teenagers' cell phones. "Hip-hop is now dance music. Clever rhymes are cool commercially, but they’re not what sells records these days," author Nelson George explains.
But a little unity would go a long way in terms of regaining market share, Mundy writes, and it's time for New York rappers to put aside petty rivalries and join efforts. But fans could use a wake-up call, too. "If the lyrics are too complicated to sound good belching out of a cell phone, maybe it’s a good thing," he writes. "That rap is best when you have to push rewind a couple of times to catch that tricky metaphor, unpack that sharp double entendre."