After three weeks of feverish clicking and arguing, the final eight contenders in our search for the quintessential New York musician have been finalized—you can peruse the bracket here—and it’s time for you to vote. Representing the Uptown division are No. 1 seed John Coltrane and No. 14 seed Alicia Keys; No. 12 seed Blondie will have it out with No. 3 seed Neil Diamond in Queens; No. 5 seed Sonic Youth will match Downtown bona fides with Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground (No. 3); and No. 6 seed Rakim will take on No. 4 seed Wu-Tang Clan in Brooklyn.
Uptown: John Coltrane (1) vs. Alicia Keys (14)
Coltrane is the last remaining top seed in the tournament, and he’s facing the lowest remaining seed in Keys. But don’t count the Clive Davis-reared R&B singer totally out—her online fanbase has proved to be quite powerful.
Queens: Blondie (12) vs. Neil Diamond (3)
Paragons of New Wave cool versus one of not just New York’s, but America’s songwriting greats.
Downtown: Sonic Youth (5) vs. Lou Reed/Velvet Underground (3)
I honestly don’t even know what to say with this matchup, which was probably inevitable in this division. Two innovators of and titans in the sort of rock that is inexactly referred to as “indie” are going to have it out.
Brooklyn: Rakim (6) vs. Wu-Tang Clan (4)
I asked SOTC pal/hip-hop aficionado Christopher R. Weingarten for his opinion, and he had this to say: “Rakim basically invented a form, and then Wu-Tang took it into unlikely and fabulous places. To use Wu-Tang’s imagery, it’s some real question of whether the student has surpassed the teacher.” Similar to the last matchup, then, but yeah.