Entertainment United States of hip-hop By Robert Spuhler, Special to amNew York Updated March 23, 2014 10:11 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Hip-hop fans can argue about the technical merits of Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind," but the song's mega-platinum status in 2009 certainly affirmed the emcee's status as, in the mainstream's mind, rap music's Ambassador to New York City. At a time in which street corners have been replaced by Twitter and young rappers can be influenced by predecessors from anywhere in the country, what does it mean for a rap artist to represent a city? amNY has taken a look at the map, and come up with a (completely arbitrary and subjective) list of the best rappers to ask that question: The "emcee mayors" of cities across America. In some cases, they're the best on the mic in their respective hometowns, while the others are simply the most enthusiastic about flying their community's flag. Either way, they're the links to a time in hip-hop when representing your block was as important as a chart position. Los Angeles: Ice Cube Photo Credit: Getty So L.A., he recorded a video about the Eames House for a city-wide art exhibit in 2011. Examples: “I Rep That West,” “Today Was a Good Day” With Apologies To: Dr. Dre Chicago: Common Photo Credit: Getty The Windy City's emcee's tracks with Kanye West are asChicago as deep dish pizza. Examples: “Chi-City,” “Southside,” his verse on Blackstar's “Respiration” With Apologies To: Kanye West Oakland: E-40 Photo Credit: Getty The king of the Bay Area “hyphy” scene, and the creator of 1,000 slang terms. Examples: “Yay Area,” “Rappers' Ball” With Apologies To: Too Short Washington, D.C.: Wale Photo Credit: Getty A rare emcee from a city more Chuck Brown than Chuck D. Examples: “Chillin,” “DC or Nothing” With Apologies To: DJ Kool Philadelphia: The Roots Photo Credit: Getty Named their second major-label album after their hometown (“Illadelph Halflife”). Examples: "Essaywhuman?!!!??!" (recorded at Philadelphia's Trocadero), “Get Busy” With Apologies To: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince St. Louis: Nelly Photo Credit: Getty Founder of the St. Lunatics and emcee with the most St. Louis Cardinals gear in his closet. Examples: “St. Louie,” “Country Grammar” With Apologies To: Chingy Cleveland: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Photo Credit: Getty “E. 1999 Eternal” was named after a street corner in the crew's hometown. Examples: “East 1999,” “Cleveland is the City” With Apologies To: Machine Gun Kelly Detroit: Eminem Photo Credit: Getty So synonymous with Motown, he landed a voiceover in a Chrysler commercial. Examples: “8 Mile,” “Welcome to Detroit City” With Apologies To: Danny Brown Houston: Bun B Photo Credit: Getty Any emcee who records a song for the local football team gets extra (if cheesy) points. Examples: “Here We Go (Texans Anthem),” “Draped Up (H-Town Remix)” With Apologies To: Scarface Atlanta: Big Boi Photo Credit: Getty The best argument for co-Mayors, but seniority tips the scales toward the OutKast. Examples: “ATLiens,” “In the A” With Apologies To: Ludacris Miami: Pitbull Photo Credit: Getty “Mr. 305” even helped build a high school in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. Examples - “Miami [expletive],” “305 Anthem” With Apologies To: Rick Ross New York: Jay Z Photo Credit: Getty Fight over individual boroughs all you want, but no one reps The Bronx to Staten Island quite as well. Examples - “Empire State of Mind,” “Brooklyn's Finest” With Apologies To: (too many to mention) Long Beach: Snoop Dogg Photo Credit: Getty L.A.'s little brother got a big boost from Snoop's LBC love. Examples: “Nuthin' But a G Thang,” “From Long Beach 2 Brick City” With Apologies To: Warren G Newark: Redman Photo Credit: Getty May singlehandedly have kept the “Brick City” nickname alive in the 1990s. Examples: “Diz Iz Brick City,” “Green Island” With Apologies To: Queen Latifah Pittsburgh: Wiz Khalifa Photo Credit: Getty “Black and Yellow” are the colors of every Steel City-based major league sports franchise. Examples: “Black and Yellow,” “Pittsburgh Sound” With Apologies To: Mac Miller Seattle: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Photo Credit: Getty The video for “Thrift Shop” is partially shot in the basement of a Seattle dive bar, Unicorn. Examples: “Victory Lap,” “My, Oh My” With Apologies To: Sir Mix-a-Lot Kansas City: Tech N9ne Photo Credit: Getty He's number 20 on the Forbes list of hip-hop earners and his Chiefs made the NFL playoffs. Good year. Examples: “Kansas City King,” “KC Tea” With Apologies To: Mac Lethal Memphis: Three 6 Mafia Photo Credit: Getty It's easy to represent a city when almost every rapper in said city belongs to your clique. Examples: “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.,” “South Memphis Representin'” With Apologies To: 8Ball & MJG New Orleans: Master P Photo Credit: Getty The No Limit tank might be as recognizable Big East symbol as Bourbon Street. Examples: “Who Them Boyz,” “I'm Bout It Bout It” With Apologies To: Lil Wayne Long Island: De La Soul Very few city-obsessed rappers would actually claim the suburbs like the Native Tongues trio. Examples: “Long Island Degrees,” “Wonce Again Long Island” With Apologies To: Rakim The Bronx: KRS-One Photo Credit: Getty The Teacher practically invented regional beef with “The Bridge Is Over.” Examples: “South Bronx,” “Bronx Tale” With Apologies To: Mellie Mel Queens: Nas Photo Credit: Getty “To my people throughout Queens, God bless your life.” Examples: “Queens Get the Money,” “A Queens Story” With Apologies To: Mobb Deep Brooklyn: Notorious B.I.G. Talib Kweli said it best: “Brooklyn, New York City, where they paint murals of Biggie...” Examples: “Brooklyn We Go Hard,” “Juicy” With Apologies To: Talib Kweli Manhattan: Big L The late emcee is still revered, especially in the island's northern blocks. Examples: “Harlem Nights,” “Hell Up In Harlem” With Apologies To: The Diplomats/Dipset Staten Island – Wu-Tang Clan Photo Credit: Getty Can we go ahead and just rename it Shaolin Island? Examples: “Can It Be All So Simple,” “Shaolin Worldwide” With Apologies To: JoJo Pellegrino By Robert Spuhler, Special to amNew York Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.