The Best New York Music, 2000-2015

According to The Rub.

August 12, 2015

New York DJ institution The Rub kicks off a new monthly residency at Verboten in Williamsburg this Friday, with special guests Just Blaze, Lindsey, and Lauren Flax. To celebrate—and inspired by Piotr Orlov's recent list of essential New York club tracks since the turn of the millennium—they're turning over a new leaf with a look back. This mix catalogues the past 15 years' greatest, genre-hopping, New York-based hits, according to The Rub. Take a listen, check the tracklist at the bottom of this post, then read a riff on the theme by Orlov.

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PIOTR ORLOV: Distance—or lack thereof. It helps narrate the eight million stories of New York’s organized chaos flow. What qualifies as an invasion of privacy elsewhere, is a New Yorker’s way of saying, “excuse me.” The roars of a crowded life: Learn to exist atop one another, yet figure out how to live on your own. Make sure to cherish personal space, thoughts, experiences—but don’t get precious about sharing them on every street-corner, rush-hour subway, or club dance-floor. To survive, keep the things you love close and protect them; though don’t forget to brandish them sharply when expressing your individuality. Especially, when expressing your individuality amongst your people.

Inevitably, your people will have an anthem, a rallying call. His and her people will too. Most New Yorkers do. “Their” song or “their” artist, one long ago taken stock of, and never the twain shall part. Getting your own isn’t hard—it’s a town built on music. There are as many personal anthems in this city as there are clubs, and as many clubs as posses, each at a conscious arm’s length from the next—different neighborhoods, different strokes, and so on. Separate but equal, they sometimes call it—which is, frankly, bullshit—but it does offer an educated musical consumer a limitless choice of which rally to call his/her own.

Though on occasion, they all rally together. Arm-lengths shorten, the separation falls away, yours and theirs becomes ours—and the city sings with one voice, dances on the same beat. This pretense of musical U-N-I-T-Y mostly lasts no longer than a New York minute, an oasis. Yet when it does come around, the city transforms into that mythical place you read of in books, the one you were moving to. This one song engulfs your every move. Your local DJ sets off the dance-floor with it. The midnight jeep boys blast it, keeping you awake. The Garden blares it during time-outs—and maybe some jock choreographs a dance to it. Now the bartenders, the baristas, even the bros. It grows tiring. The oasis dissolves. Though its memory remains, residue retained on the tip of your tongue and on your breath, stuck in your ear forever.

The New York Anthem is a category. Look it up! Impervious to distance—or lack thereof—folding time and space, triggering memory, defining careers. Ask Frank or Liza—or O.C. Each generation gets the one(s) it deserves. Not a sentimental journey, but utilitarian in its emotional and rhythmic output. Just like the city that it serves.

TRACKLIST:
Busta Rhymes - New York Shit ft. Swizz Beats
M.O.P. - Ante Up Remix ft. Busta Rhymes and Remy Ma
Jay-Z - U Don’t Know Remix ft. M.O.P. + Original Mix
Cam’ron - I Really Mean It ft. Jim Jones
Talib Kweli - Get By
Fabolous - You Be Killin Em ft. Ryan Leslie
A$AP Rocky - Peso
Santigold - Shove It
Nas - The Don
French Montana - Freaks ft. Nicki Minaj
Jim Jones - We Fly High (Ballin)
50 Cent - I Get Money
The Strokes - Last Night
The Rapture - House of Jealous Lovers
Le Tigre - Deception (DFA Remix)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix)
Azealia Banks - 212 ft. Lazy J
Chelley - Took The Night
Nina Skye - Move Your Body
Mary J Blige - Just Fine
Escort - Cocaine Blues
Holy Ghost! - Hold On
Lauren Flax - You’ve Changed ft. Sia
Masters at Work - Our Time Is Coming ft. Roy Ayers
Hercules & Love Affair - Blind (Frankie Knuckles Remix)
Metro Area - Miura
House of House - Rushing To Paradise
TV On The Radio - Staring At The Sun

The Best New York Music, 2000-2015