Back in the days before I was Cool J
I used to hang up on the corner pumping games people play
Sitting on a garbage can rhyming to my man
Talking 'bout big money and future plans
Always told the brothers if I got a contract
When the money started flowing I'd be back
To do a jam, against all odds ...
Introduce the rapper #1 from Farmer's Boulevard ...
-- LL Cool J, "Farmer's Boulevard"
As much as I love Reggae, I love Queens rap more. Bands like A Tribe Called Quest, whose album Midnight Marauders is one of the smoothest and coolest sets of sounds ever committed to laser. LL Cool J, whose incisive commentary on America could be as cutting as Eddie Murphy's or Richard Pryor's, but who made it sound good. Run-DMC, the guys who invented the way rap sounds, back before any of these other guys existed.
I can't even begin to name all the great rappers from Queens. One of the guys from Eric B. and Rakim (I can't remember which) is from here. Salt 'N Pepa are too. Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest sings, "I dedicate this to all the MC's outta Queens -- that goes for Onyx, LL, Run-DMC, Akanyeli, Nasty Nas and the Extra P". A Tribe Called Quest often mentions Linden Boulevard in their songs, and LL Cool J constantly reminds us that he's from Farmer's Boulevard. I took this picture of the intersection where the two streets meet, aptly celebrated as "The Famous Corner" on the supermarket sign:
Governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Mario Cuomo was born and grew up in Jamaica, where his father ran a grocery store. Donald Trump is also from Jamaica, specifically the wealthy neighborhood called Jamaica Estates -- though I'm not especially proud of this particular Queens connection.
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by Levi Asher