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Not to be confused with rapcore.

Hardcore hip hop, also referred to as hardcore rap, is a sub-genre of hip hop music that developed through the East Coast hip hop scene in the 1980s.[1] Pioneered by such artists as Schoolly D, Boogie Down Productions, and Kool G Rap, it is generally characterized by an aggressive sound and confrontational lyricism. Following a breakthrough in the early 1990s, hardcore hip hop became a popular crossover style during the mid-1990s.


Hardcore rap began in East Coast hip hop during the 1980s when artists such as Run-D.M.C., Schoolly D, Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, and Kool G Rap began eschewing the themes of partying and bragging.[1] Their music reflected the often harsh and grim experiences of the rapper's urban surroundings. Run-D.M.C. have been credited as the first hardcore hip hop group.[2] Before a formula for gangsta rap had developed, artists such as the New York City-based Boogie Down Productions and Los Angeles native Ice-T implemented detailed observations of "street life", while the chaotic, rough sounding production style of Public Enemy's records set new standards for hip hop production.[1] In the early 1990s, hardcore rap became largely synonymous with West Coast gangsta rap, as exemplified by N.W.A, until the Wu-Tang Clan emerged in 1993. The group's minimalistic beats and piano-driven sampling became widely popular among other hip hop artists of the time.[1]


Gangsta rap has been associated with the style; however, hardcore hip hop does not generally revolve around "gangsta" lyrical themes, even though there is a great deal of overlap, especially among hardcore rappers of the 1990s.[1] Allmusic stated that hardcore hip hop is characterized by "confrontation and aggression, whether in the lyrical subject matter, the hard, driving beats, the noisy sampling and production, or any combination thereof."[1] Russell Potter wrote that while hardcore rap has been associated with a "monolithic 'gangsta' outlook" by the popular press, hardcore rappers have "laid claim to a wide variety of ground".[3] Female hip hop artist got involved in the 80's adding a diversity to Hip Hop music. Artist such as McLyte, Salt&Peppa, and Monie Luv.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hardcore Rap. Allmusic. Accessed May 22, 2008.
  2. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. allmusic ((( Run-D.M.C. > Biography ))). Allmusic. Accessed January 14, 2008.
  3. ^ Potter, Russell A. (1995). Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-hop and the Politics of Postmodernism. p. 130. SUNY Press. ISBN 0791426262.

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