September 11, 2001 was a date that changed the political and social climate of New York City forever. The World Trade Center was attacked, which led to its collapse and the 3,000 lives lost. On the same day, Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint,” heralded as one of his classics dropped, which publicly started the feud between Nas and Mobb Deep. Fabolous’ debut album “Ghetto Fabolous” also dropped on September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush began his “War On Terror” in October 2001, which led to US troops in Afghanistan. Nas would return the fire to Jay-Z and other Queensbridge peers on his December 2001 release “Stillmatic.” The devastation to New York City and its inhabitants rolled over into the year of 2002. The transition from Mayor Rudy Giuliani to Mayor Michael Bloomberg commenced.
Tension was high in New York City’s rap climate in 2002, but these albums were able to please our ears.
- Cam’Ron – “Come Home With Me”
Released on May 14, 2002, Cam’s third studio album, but his Roc-A-Fella debut, is one of the strongest releases from the label to date. Cam’Ron was relatively popular, but this album pushed his fame to newer heights with “Oh Boy” and “Hey Ma” being two of the biggest rap hits of 2002. The album’s standout tracks “The Roc,” “Welcome To New York City,” and “Come Home With Me,” show Cam’s ability to drive beats and his Harlem sound that no one can replicate. Features from Juelz Santana, Memphis Bleek, Jay-Z, Jim Jones, Daz Dillinger, Beanie Sigel and production from Just Blaze, Rsonist, Kanye West, paired with Cam’s flow, makes for a strong argument of a classic. The album also serves as a strong introduction to Dipset, also known as The Diplomats, the crew that would put New York City in a chokehold.
Jay-Z – “The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse”
Jay-Z’s seventh studio album released on November 12, 2002, was the follow up to his classic “The Blueprint.” With production from The Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kanye West, Timbaland, and No ID, “The Blueprint 2” soared to number 1 on the Billboard charts. The double disc album features 25 songs total. On “Hovi Baby,” Jay-Z gets real arrogant and explains why he’s the top dog. On “03 Bonnie & Clyde,” Jay-Z and Beyonce profess their ride-or-die love for each other, and Jay enamors a woman on “Excuse Me Miss.” The album boasts features from Dr. Dre, Rakim, Scarface, MOP, Faith Evans, Lenny Kravitz and Beanie Sigel.
- Nas – “God’s Son”
Nas’ sixth studio album was released on December 13, 2002. It was the follow-up to “Stilmatic,” considered his return to the fight for king of New York. The album was a year fresh off the beef with Jay-Z and the death of his mother, Ann Jones at the beginning of 2002. Nas was inspired, alongside the help of Alchemist, Salaam Remi, and Ron Browz on production, “God’s Son,” is considered a strong release. Nas’ tackles the long origins of the beef with Jay-Z on “Last Real Nigga Alive,” his mother’s passing on “Dance,” religion and societal ills on “Heaven,” and gets braggadocious on “Made You Look.” On “Get Down,” Nas flexes his immaculate storytelling abilities, and he leads the youth on “I Can.” On “God’s Son,” Nas shows his immense technical skill as a lyricist and adds a gem to his discography.