Brooklyn artists exhibit so much hometown pride, it’s no wonder the borough has so many anthems dedicated to its existence. From the Beastie Boys to Jay Z, BK’s biggest hip-hop stars have been rapping Bucktown’s praises since the 1980s, and when RapFix asked fans to vote on their favorite Brooklyn Hip-Hop Anthem, it was the Queen Bee Lil’ Kim who reigned supreme.
Kim’s 2005 single “Lighters Up” received 75 percent of the fan vote, while Fabolous, Jay Z and Uncle Murda’s “Brooklyn” came in a distant second, earning 12 percent of the share in the week-long poll that opened August 14 and closed Wednesday. Even though she hasn’t released an album in eight years, Kim’s fanbase remains one of the most faithful, and this week, they can watch the Queen Bee herself on “RapFix Live” as she gives MTV News’ Sway Calloway a tour through Brooklyn, pointing out the spots that meant the most to the Notorious B.I.G.
“Lighters Up,” noted for its Caribbean-soaked sound, was produced by Scott Storch and stirred a tremendous amount of pride among the borough’s residents. “I come from Bed-Stuy/ Where either n—as do or they gon’ die,” Kim spits in a patois accent to start the track.
Lil’ Kim overcame some pretty tough competition in the BK anthem poll. Jay Z had three of the 10 selections with “Brooklyn’s Finest,” “Where I’m From” and “Brooklyn Go Hard.” The Beastie Boys and their 1986 classic “No Sleep till Brooklyn” might not have won, but the unforgettable track is the unofficial anthem of the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and is the soundtrack for the television spots that are building excitement for Sunday’s awards show.
BK veteran MC Buckshot had a hand in the creation of two of the nominees: He, Masta Ace and Special Ed formed the trio Crooklyn Dodgers and released their first single, “Crooklyn,” in 1994, while Smif-N-Wessun, a group in Buck’s Boot Camp Clik went on to release “Bucktown” that same year. “Before us, there was no Bucktown for Brooklyn, so we put Bucktown on the map, as far as giving it a name for Brooklyn,” Buck told RapFix about how the Smif-N-Wessun song helped give the borough its second name.