Don’t try to bring the old school back.

Being a born and bred New Yorker is tough. Not because cops will shoot you point blank for jaywalking, although that does add a level of difficulty, but because we are wired to love hip hop. Don’t get it twisted – I eat, sleep and breathe the culture – but there’s something about being a twenty-something-year-old hip-hop head in NYC that irks me. It’s the constant respect that you’re forced to give to the “Old School.” It’s a casual conversation at a bar about rap music that turns into that inevitable, “Who’s in your top five?” debate that turns into a bar fight out of Boondock Saints. It’s the Dr. Seuss bullshit we have to listen to for an hour of rush hour on Hot 97 because Mr. Cee can’t get out of 1989, or trannies cars.

Before you assume that I’m a snotty, ignorant “new head” that has no respect, let me break down the era of rap in which I was raised. It’s called the Golden Era, you may have heard of it. I was born in 1987, so by the time I was six or seven years old, it was 1993 and my ears were in full absorption mode. I remember hearing Wu-Tang and being highly amused by the Kung-Fu skits. I remember requesting shit on The Box. You see, the first rap album I ever spent my own hard earned money on was ‘Puff Daddy and Family: No Way Out’. I always idolized Puffy and Ma$e and looked at the rap game as a community where the OG’s looked out for the young talent and created opportunity. I thought it was awesome how Snoop found Bow Wow and launched his career by trading him to Jermaine Dupri for money and weed. I would hear pre-golden era hip hop during Hot 97’s Throwback at Noon and respect those guys. I thought the music absolutely sucked, but I dug the whole OG thing I spoke about earlier. I dug EVERYTHING about hip hop up until the day I didn’t dig any of it.

This is an extract from the Autumn/Winter14 Issue of Viper Magazine. Read more from the magazine here. Buy physical and digital copies here.

Words by Chris Mendez
Illustration by Ed Ruxton

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