The Round of 64 for Sound of the City’s own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—continues, and you get to vote on who makes it to Round Two. We’ll have some first-round results later today, but for now, Brooklyn’s top seed Jay-Z takes on the recently disbanded electro-skronk outfit Parts & Labor. Check out the arguments in favor of each contender, and vote at our Facebook page.
There are plenty of artists in this competition in need of no introduction, but Jay-Z? Fuck outta here. Not the first King of New York but quite possibly the last, New York is as much a part of Shawn Carter as Shawn Carter is a part of New York, a feat considering that his stone-cold classic debut Reasonable Doubt is barely old enough to drive. And despite the fact that, in addition to being regarded as one of the greatest rappers to ever do it, he’s long been so much more—a business (man!), if you will. But the clubs and ball teams and books and career-defining shows and Beyoncé aren’t the primary reasons why those of us who can’t even remember our own mother’s birthdays still raise a glass every December 4. No one’s hustle has gone unknocked this long, and it’s going to take some serious competition to oust Jigga this time, illuminati notwithstanding.
PARTS & LABOR
In the grand competition for “quintessential New York musician,” this recently disbanded Brooklyn outfit doesn’t stand much (any) chance against Hova. But it still deserves a slot in this fight, because for many, Parts & Labor was a shining example of a quintessential type of New York band, one that is by definition destined to be underrepresented in zeitgeist-y polls like this one. Over the course of ten loud years, BJ Warshaw, Dan Friel, and a rotating cast of guitarists and drummers chose hard work over rockstar hijinks, musical risks over safety, and creative fulfillment over financial success. For their efforts, they were rewarded with a productive relationship with Jagjaguwar Records, many amazing touring experiences, and the eternal respect of their fans. Concepts like “integrity” are often denigrated as naive and/or meaningless these days, and maybe they are. Still, it’s nice to know a band can choose to follow this path post-1995, and come out smiling at the other end.