Long Island adjoins the famed five boroughs that compose the geographical hub of New York rap. The earliest rappers, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Afrika Bambaataa and Grand Wizard Theodore, came from the South Bronx. But the boundaries soon stretched. The birthplaces of many other well-known rappers are just an LIRR train ride away from their city audience: LL Cool J came from Bay Shore, Flavor Flav from Freeport, and De La Soul from Massapequa.
The rap community on Long Island, however, has not developed an independent identity, separate from New York City’s mean streets. Its up-and-comers struggle with being typified with a suburban stereotype—as softer, privileged, middle-class wannabes.