There are so many iconic New Yorkers. From Biggie Smalls to Cindi Lauper, from Jay-Z to the New York Dolls – you can spot a New Yorker from a mile away. Most of the time. Every once in a while though, a New Yorker slips through that we never would’ve guessed was from Queens! Or Williamsburg? Really?? Check out a few of the unusual suspects below.


I know, I know, Tupac defines West Coast rap. But that doesn’t change the fact that he grew up in East Harlem.  He was actually born a month after his mother was acquitted of more than 150 charges of “Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks” in the New York “Panther 21” court case. He was also a member of  Harlem’s 127th Street Repertory Ensemble and was cast as the Travis Younger character in the play A Raisin in the Sun, which was performed at the Apollo Theater.

*Fun fact: After this, he moved to Baltimore and attended Baltimore School of the Arts, where he met lifelong friend Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Lana Del Rey

Del Rey’s aesthetic screams California, and so does her latest hit “West Coast,” but don’t believe her, guys. She’s actually from New York. Born in New York City and raised in Lake Placid, New York, until she moved to the Bronx to go to Fordham University – her bio practically screams New Yorker. But hey, her name is also Elizabeth Grant in real life. Guess we really don’t know you at all, do we, Lana?

Lenny Kravitz

I mean I guess if I listen closely enough to “California” I hear you, Lenny. You say you moved to Cali, not you’re from there. Still misleading, man. Kravitz actually grew up spending weekdays on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with his parents, and weekends at his grandmother’s house in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.


Come on, guys. How are you gonna define a career around hits like “Detroit Rock City” and confuse us like that? The first Kiss performance was on January 30, 1973, for an audience of three at the Popcorn Club in Queens. Gene Simmons emigrated from Israel to Queens with his mother at the age of eight, speaking no English. Peter Criss was from Williamsburg. We could keep going, but we feel weird enough already.

Christina Aguilera

Ok, so we feel kind of duped by this one, because we could swear Christina came from a bottle. Apparently, that bottle came from Staten Island.

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