For much of the last decade, critics lambasted anyone who had the faintest trace of nostalgia for the golden age of hip-hop. They even went so far as to malign anyone who had the temerity to use a phrase like "golden age," lumping those who grew up worshipping '90s rap with creaky '60s psych-rock fetishists.
It was an understandable, if overblown, corrective to the previous years during which all things New York had been glorified at the expense of all other regions. Moreover, the glorification of the past tended to obstruct progression in the present. Thankfully, that era is over. The contemporary rap climate is more get-in-where-you-fit-in than any point since the early '90s.
Whether it's underground thug rap, weird post-Project Blowed L.A. fast-rap, stoner fare, subwoofer rattling Southern trunk muzik, or whatever Odd Future is, the genre is firing on all cylinders (though you might be mistaken if you paid attention only to the seven major label rap releases a year). Even the New York-centric subgenre boom-bap -- moribund for much of the last decade -- has seen a resurgence with the continued emergence of Roc Marciano and Action Bronson.
Released today, Marciano's latest record, "Greneberg," a collaborative EP with West Coast-raised underground vets Gangrene (Alchemist and Oh No) finds him further refining and expanding upon the sound of classic mid-'90s murder music. Yet every day he's surrounded by a treasure trove of artifacts, homemade compilations and videos that flood the Internet. If you can avoid vertigo, it's a boom time to be a rap fan.