article2New York is home to many different things: Home to the Yankees’ beloved Derek Jeter, the world’s most famous arena in Madison Square Garden, and arguably the best pizza this side of the universe. But one thing that hasn’t been home to the greatest city on earth in quite some time is Hip-Hop.

Even with its roots are embedded deep into the concrete jungle, New York is no longer the superpower that it once was. Though that pill maybe a tough one to swallow, but denying that fact is like saying Ice-T’s wife Coco is all natural with no “artificial sweeteners.”

Instead of turning the other cheek, plenty of NYC’s native sons embrace the reality, in lieu of doing something about it—and Long Island MC Dashah is one of the few on top of the list.

Aligning his sharp lyrical wit with the talents of the scratch masters Ill Insanity (formerly known as the X-Ecutioners), Dashah released his latest project Rap Burglar 2.5 [Click to read review]to a city starving for something new, but still recognizable to true fans of the art.

The only question left is: Will there be enough food for thought to go around? That’s simple; it’s a yes, especially when you’re dealing with someone who has the mentality of a lyricist in the true sense of the word…

iHipHop.com: What part of New York are you from?

Dashah: I was born in Alabama, and raised in East Long Island, New York… I was all over the place, but the places I spent the most time was Windance and Riverhead… I lived down the block from Rakim’s family, and I lived right across the street from Erick Sermon’s family…

I know those families very well, and still know both of those families… So every time I go out there, I try to check on them, and see what they’re doing…

iHipHop.com: So how did you hook up with Ill Insanity formerly the X-Ecutioners?

Dashah: It’s a crazy little story… Back in ’07 I was working on some new material, and I was working with a producer named Matt Stein—Grammy-nominated producer Matt Stein… Let me put that in there because he’s my man… [Laughing]

So we were in the studio, and we were working on a beat, and he was flipping through some tracks and I heard this one joint, and I was like, “Yo, I like that.” Then he told me that he and Total Eclipse from the X-Ecutioners came up with the track together…

So I took the track, vibed with it, and knocked it out the next day. Then I got a message two weeks later on Myspace from Total Eclipse, and he told me he liked the joint I did with Matt

Then he told me he wanted to talk to me some more about it, so he gave me his cell number and his home number… [Laughs] When I called him, the minute we started speaking, we just clicked, and we started vibing…

iHipHop.com: How was the experience been like working with them?

Dashah: It’s basically been smooth sailing man… Those dudes are legendary, I never thought in a million years as a child when I went and bought X-Pressions back in ’97 that I would be working with these dudes… I really looked up to these guys, so I never thought I would be working with them, and it was just really humbling…

iHipHop.com: What kind of things did you take from them and implement in your own career?

Dashah: I want to say their grind… They grind A LOT, and those dudes stay doing shows man… [Laughs] I’ll go to their Myspace page or I’ll talk to them over the phone and I tell them, “Every time I go on your page, and I see the tour dates coming to an end; I’ll go back on their a couple days later, and I’ll see ten more dates!” [Laughs]

They’re always doing shows, and they told me it’s a constant grind because that’s how they feed their families… So that’s probably what I took from them the most, just the constant battle, and that perseverance to keep doing it…

iHipHop.com: Your album Rap Burglar 2.5 Special Edition
[Click to read review] is a Hip-Hop album in the true sense of the word, but aren’t you nervous that it might be a little TOO Hip-Hop for today’s market?

Dashah: Not at all… And the reason I say that is because at the end of the day kids do want to learn… I was doing this show back in Connecticut a couple of weeks ago, and a lot of the kids there were “snap-pop” kids, but they were really f*cking with me… They really liked what I was performing, and I was getting standing ovations…

So I’m not worried, because at the end of the day, good music will prevail… Right now the way the market is; especially for New York n*ggas—it’s so boxed in… They keep the underground n*ggas underground, and they keep the mainstream n*ggas mainstream…

The kids want to know more, but they don’t know because they’re being force-fed bullsh*t on the radio… At my show I did a segment called “Name That Record,” where I play older records… So my DJ, DJ Pause put on ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell.

A lot of the kids didn’t know it, but this one kid came up from the back and went on the stage and spit the whole verse, and you’re talking about someone who’s 16-17 years old knowing a Nas record from ’94… So the kids do want to the know difference between what’s out on the radio, and what’s not on the radio…

iHipHop.com: Do you ever think about your material going over the heads of some listeners?

Dashah: Nah man, I don’t think about that because all I can do is my job… When you start altering your craft to cater to a certain crowd, you corrupt your music… I never want to do that, and I never want to compromise my artistic integrity for anybody… I want to keep my artistic vision the way it is, because I’m not a ring tone rapper…

I’m from NY man, and we’re not known for that… I’m an MC, and the minute I start catering to the “snap-pop” crowd and all the Auto-Tune bullsh*t that’s on there right now I’m going to fail…

I want to bring Hip-Hop back to what it was supposed to be, but I’m not trying to get into a time machine and go back. We can’t do that, but we can create this great music to give you that same feeling that you used to get… I’m not worried at all, I’m going to survive, trust me…

dash-3iHipHop.com: Being from New York, have you found it difficult as an MC in a sea of MC’s who are also trying to do their thing?

Dashah: I would have to say yes and no… Yes because there are too many MC’s and not enough mics… It’s the crabs in a barrel mentality, but in that same sense that’s the reason why I don’t feel threatened, because there is a lot of bullsh*t floating around…

You have a lot of dudes trying to be like the South, the West, or the Midwest… New York n*ggas ain’t being New York no more… There is a lot of n*ggas out here, but a lot of them aren’t talented… So I don’t feel threatened in any way, shape or from because the music that know I make is dominant…

Right now there are so many dudes rapping, that you can walk up in a party, and you can spot who’s a rapper… The artists are out weighing the consumers right now, it’s not hard to shine, but my main problem is n*ggas not really knowing who I am… But people are starting to know me from the reviews I’ve been getting on my album…

iHipHop.com: Usually new artists come into the game with goals for themselves. Did you set any expectations for yourself?

Dashah: I just basically wanted to be successful as a businessman and as an artist… I want people to know that my work is timeless, and that you’ll be able to play it years later and say, “I remember how this was crazy when it first came out!” That’s the same way I look at albums back when I was 14-years-old…

iHipHop.com: What’s your opinion on New York Hip-Hop? Do you feel as if it’s lost a step or two?

Dashah: Absolutely fam… I definitely feel like we’re losing… New York stopped being New York, and that’s why we’re losing right now… We decided to be like the South, the West, and the Midwest… We decided to do all these things except be New York…

A lot of New York n*ggas are mad because we are losing right now, but we’re kind of the blame for it… Even me, I was guilty of it at a point and time, so I’m not just saying everybody else… I’m being critical of myself also…

We stopped making “boom-bap” music, and just that hard punch-you-in-the-face music… So when that happened, we started following everybody else… People used to look at us for what’s hot, and what’s coming out… Now we’re looking around like, “Y’all are using Auto-Tune? Okay, we’re going to rock that!” “Y’all using the 808’s? Okay, we’re rocking that!”

We’re not being creative anymore, and we lost our creative edge… But there is talent out here, and it can come back as long as the up and coming artists like myself work together… If that sh*t happens, then we can bring it back, and still have room for the n*ggas that made room for us…