Following the retirement of Jay-Z, in 2003, the New York hip hop scene quickly evaporated. Stars who dominated for years found themselves either unwilling, or unable, to compete. With Jay-Z leaving for the corporate world, hip hop media was searching for the second coming. This search would take longer than expected, with Jay-Z even returning to release new albums. For years, the New York hip hop scene’s breeding ground has been full of talent.
There are several New York rappers who have the superstar potential, they just need the labels to take notice of them. Many New York artists, most notably Mims, had brief runs in the public eye. However, with New York being the mecca, more than a brief run is required. Many of hip hop’s power players represent New York, so it was upsetting to see them doing nothing for their local scene. In 2009, Diddy promised he would place a renewed focus on Bad Boy Records.
Upon making this announcement, Diddy revealed Red Cafe had been signed to Bad Boy Records and would soon release his long-awaited debut album. Red Cafe had an incredible buzz going for him, having a single featured on NBA Live 2004, along with collaborations with Akon and a major label deal. Despite all of this, nothing came of his buzz, as no label was willing to push him. Tired, Red Cafe returned to the mixtape scene, where Diddy decided to make him the new focal point of Bad Boy and release his album.
French Montana is another example of a New York rapper with superstar potential. Since he burst onto the scene in 2007, French Montana has possessed the swagger of a superstar. His mixtapes were highly popular and French Montana worked his way into the public eye. Instead of chasing the major labels, French Montana focused on releasing his own music and developing his Cocaine City Records. The Bronx rapper made himself hot in 2011 and caused a bidding war during the closing months of 2011. French Montana was invited to “106 & Park,” where he announced he would be signing with Bad Boy Records.
Before French Montana became the most-discussed name from New York City, Fred the Godson had a strong buzz. In fact, Fred the Godson still has a strong buzz. However, the media has focused their attention on French Montana. Recently, Fred the Godson revealed there is a small bidding war surrounding him. Fred the Godson released a series of songs, mixtapes, and videos throughout 2011, all of which were met with positive reviews. Several labels are signing artists, but not all of them are servicing the artists’ work, as evidenced with Pill’s ordeal with Warner, but Diddy is giving artists a real opportunity.
With Def Jam slumping, Diddy has Bad Boy Records positioned to be the new home for the buzzing New York rappers, who want to release their records. With that being said, should Fred the Godson sign with Bad Boy Records?