Ma$e’s “When New York Was New York,” Ironically, Reminds You Of What New York Isn’t

blame it on Meka August 11, 2015

I’ve lived in New York for a little over six years now. Prior to moving here from Southern California, I would frequently make visits to the City during various summers and winters, as at that point I’d longed to relocate to the East for years. In short, I’d grown tired of the surroundings I’d spent most of my life in Long Beach/Los Angeles and craved for something new, refreshing and exciting.

When I ultimately moved to NYC, however, I was shocked out how… not New York this place was. Granted, most of what I knew about the place came largely from brief excursions, episodes of New York Undercover and rap music, but I didn’t realize that New York is actually more of an amalgamation of a variety of different cultures thanks to both the constant emigration of people like myself. (Un)Fortunately that has also seeped over into its hip hop culture, as now more than ever New York rappers tend to… well… not sound like they’re from New York. It’s not like it’s a bad thing; artists like A$AP Rocky are continually pushing the envelope and redefining what a “New York rap sound” truly is. Meanwhile, artists like Fabolous and Jadakiss still maintain the vintage stylings of the past.

However, this latest aural violation song from Ma$e? Not so much.

If rapping over 2Pac’s “California Love” instrumental isn’t a sign of the apocalypse how New York sounds like anymore, then perhaps it’s either Ma$e calling people the f-bomb, Ma$e claiming to have so many guns that Puff has to pay him, and Ma$e talking a lot of drug talk that is quite unbecoming of a former preacher. Honesty time: the song isn’t terrible, as for at least four minutes the former pastor returns to his Murder Mase roots which may evoke memories of his Children Of The Corn past. The problem with that is that it’s 2015 and not 1995, so I don’t think too many people are in the mood to listen to a 37-year-old version of Murder Mase – former pastor Ma$e – at this point in their lives.

But, perhaps Ma$e has an oddly ironic point: maybe this is how New York sounds like these days. I mean, in between the many people moving here (myself included) and a heavy – and I mean heavy – Southern rap influence, the City has become such a mish-mash of styles that perhaps it’s true sound now is a combination and culmination of many. This song probably won’t be the point of reference of such change, however.

Oh well, we’ll always have that infamous conversation between Cam’ron, Jim Jones and Ma$e…