Prince Rogers Nelson has left Planet Earth, but ours was a world he could barely claim residency in. He’d long since hyper-swerved over a couple of dimensions, seared the landscape with a party apocalypse, and created his own utopia built on dance, music, sex and romance. It’s a world where a purifying dip in Lake Minnetonka doesn’t mean washing away your sins, but loosening your shackles. A highway of red Corvettes and customised Honda bikes. A skyline of erotic cities and graffiti bridges, an adornment of pink cashmere and raspberry berets. Our mode of transportation there is the art he made. What Prince allowed us to see and hear mattered. He passed away having never once taken a bad photograph.
The opening years of this decade have seen a flood of new rappers breathe life into hip-hop’s holy city. With the internet on command, their ears finely tuned to regional inventiveness, and the weight of New York’s history sewn into their ethos, they’ve tasked themselves with putting the East Coast back on the map.