Why do Rappers Claim to be the King of Their City?

Sep 28, 2021 by admin - 0 Comments

Hip-hop has long been a gladiator sport. And as with all competition, there will always be a fight to see who is the best.

Rappers claiming to be the king of their city is nothing new. It’s braggadocio and machismo in it’s purest form. With hip-hop historically being known as an art form rooted in aggressiveness, regardless of the location, the tales of rivalry and bombast run deep.

New York, widely recognized as the mecca of hip-hop (although some have said my hometown Atlanta may have taken that title in recent years…) has spawned some of the most historic examples of this. While many think 6ix9ine’s more recent claim to be the king of N.Y. was merely a strategic marketing ploy, there have indeed been some true declarations for the throne.

We can all remember Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. “Frank White” claiming to be the king of New York in the ’90s. And while many may agree that the title currently resides with Jay-Z, this wasn’t always the case.

At one point Jay-Z and Nas went back and forth for the crown. The beef birthed classic records like “Takeover” & “Ether“.

There have also been other contenders. Of course, we can recall 50 cent’s reign.

Big L was heavily lauded at one point as the King of New York by his contemporaries before his tragic death. The same can be said for Big Pun, and Fat Joe – both legendary South Bronx m.c.’s.

But this was just a single city…

Some rappers have professed to be kings over entire regions!

Growing up in Atlanta I can remember witnessing the iconic rise of T.I., and his brazen claim to be King Of The South. Of course, this didn’t sit well with many of the artists below the Mason Dixon line. Most notably, Houston’s Lil Flip, who was quickly gaining notoriety at the time for his uncanny ability to spit smooth and colorful freestyles over chopped and screwed beats (R.I.P. D.J. Screw).

T.I. even called Lil. Flip out during Atlanta 107.9’s legendary Birthday Bash concert one crazy summer. I was actually there, and remember being in the crowd and seeing all of the lights suddenly dim in the infamous Lakewood Amphitheater. Out of nowhere appeared a huge photo of Lil Flip on the giant Megatron screen in the rafters above the stage, donning a shimmering green leprechaun suit. The crowd was a buzz, and everyone was trying to figure out what was going on!

Then we all heard T.I.’s voice chanting lyrics acapella on the mic. But nobody could see him, because it was still extremely dark. But even though we saw he wasn’t on the stage, we could still hear him spitting blazing bars, literally DARING Lil Flip to come out and challenge him as the south’s one and only true king of rap.

The crowd went crazy! It was epic. I’ll never forget that night.

T.I. went on to name a whole album ‘King’, and maintains this declaration to this day.

There’s definitely something to be said for hustling and grinding your way to the top of your respective field, and being recognized as the best of what you do. It’s no different in hip-hop, it’s just on stage for the world to see.

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