Mariah Carey (10) Battles With Public Enemy (7) In SOTC’s Search For The Ultimate New York Musician


​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—finishes up this week, with the Round of 32 scheduled to kick off Monday. (The schedule and results so far are here; the full, updated bracket is here.) Taking a cue from our neighbors at the Curbed Network, we’re going to have a power hour—new polls every 15 minutes until 4 p.m., at which point we’ll reveal more results. Next up: Mariah Carey takes on Public Enemy. Check out the arguments in favor of each below, and vote at Facebook for your favorite.

Reviled in the ’90s for the same songs that made her so beloved (“Emotions,” “One Sweet Day”), Mariah’s legendary vocal range and apparently effortless success made her seem too perfect. Then came the breakdown and Glitter—two crashes that should’ve humanized her, but she just became snark fodder instead. It took “We Belong Together,” a showcase for her new rap-inflected minimalist style, to bring Mariah back into the light. Turns out that you could break her down, laugh at her, even stifle that range, and she could still turn out incredible music. It just goes to show: even with two octaves tied behind her back, Mariah can still conquer the world.
Mike Barthel

“London, England, consider yourself born!” So announced Professor Griff at the onset of hip-hop’s ultimate example of the long-player, 1988’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. But while Public Enemy’s fiery rhetoric and Bomb Squad-crafted sound has traveled to more corners of the world than any other rap group’s, their steely attitude and sheer intensity of music and message were forged firmly at home. Hailing from way-out in Long Island, Chuck D and Flavor Flav looked on at the city’s hip-hop scene, internalized it, and formed it into the most powerful politically charged form the genre has seen.
Phillip Mlynar

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