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West Coast HipHop
Stylistic origins Dancehall (Toasting) • East Coast hip hop • Funk • Jazz • Rhythm and blues • Soul music
Cultural origins Early 1980s, western United States
Typical instruments Prominent Bass • Drum machine • Rapping • Sampler • Synthesizer
Mainstream popularity Popular in the U.S. during late 1980s through mid-1990s. Gangsta rap subgenre dominant from early to mid-90s. Popularity declined during remainder of decade up to 2000s with small degree of mainstream exposure.
Alternative hip hop • Chicano rap • Electro-hop • Gangsta rap • G-funk • Hyphy • Latin hip hop • Underground hip hop
(complete list)
Fusion genres
Jazz rap
Regional scenes
Other topics
East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry • Golden age hip hop • Hip hop • List of West Coast hip hop artists • List of West Coast hip hop record labels

West Coast hip hop is a hip hop music subgenre that encompasses any artists or music which originates in the westernmost region of the United States, as opposed to East Coast hip hop, based originally in New York which is considered to be the origin of Hip Hop more generally[citation needed]. The gangsta rap subgenre of West Coast hip hop began to dominate from a radio play and sales standpoint during the early 90s. By the end of the 90s decade, hip hop's focus began to shift back towards the East Coast and also to a fast emerging Southern hip hop scene.

The West Coast is also known to have a very fertile underground hip hop scene, with Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area being particular hot spots. Many of the West Coast's underground acts focused more on lyrical technique than their more mainstream peers.



Early years

Some believe that the five elements of hip hop culture, which include B-Boying, beatboxing, DJing, graffiti art, and MCing, existed on the East and West Coasts of the United States simultaneously during the mid-seventies.[1] This theory runs in opposition to the more universally accepted belief that the fundamental elements of hip hop were all born and cultivated exclusively on the East Coast, New York City in particular, in the most early stages of the culture.[1] Although it is agreed that hip hop was given its name in New York, some say a culture that closely mirrored the East Coast hip hop culture had emerged in the West existing from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area during the same period.[1] The culture itself is believed to have been a mutual creation which probably evolved from interaction between people who identified with elements from their respective coasts.[1]

Gangsta rap era

Schoolly D, Ice-T, and Boogie Down Productions are often cited as the founders of gangsta rap[2]. Several years after they emerged, the Compton city based group N.W.A. debuted and helped Gangsta rap achieve wider attention. Eventually, N.W.A. and their record label Ruthless Records infamously received a letter from an assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) excoriating their landmark 1988 album Straight Outta Compton for its lyrical themes and content in 1989. By the early 1990's, gangsta rap became the most common form of Hip-hop on the West coast, spawning many notable critically, and commercially successful artists.[3]

Decline of gangsta rap

By the end of the 1990s, hip hop's focus had shifted back to the East as well as the emerging Southern hip hop movement.[4] The beginning of Gangsta Rap's decline started after Death Row Records began facing legal troubles. Most of this music genre's fall can be attributed to an abuse of one rap style by the mainstream music industry.

Alternative and underground scene

At that time all we had was N.W.A, and everybody thought everything coming out of L.A. is gangsta rap... We don't got to do that, you know? Let them do that, and let us do something else.[5]

In the early 90s, many of the Los Angeles hip hop scene's most talented and progressive-minded MCs would attend the Good Life Cafe to hone their skills and develop their craft.[5] Artists such as Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Abstract Rude, Ahmad, Freestyle Fellowship, Jurassic 5, the Pharcyde, Skee-Lo, a pre-Dogg Pound Kurupt, and many others performed at the Good Life's open mic Thursday nights from the late-80s into the mid-90s.[6] In the 2009 documentary This Is the Life, L.A. hip hop artist and Good Life regular 2Mex likened the Good Life movement to that of the New York punk rock and Seattle music scenes.[5]

Rise of Alternative West Coast Hip Hop

Recent Alternative West Coast Rappers and rap groups such as Project Blowed's Nocando & Dumbfoundead, U-N-I, Fashawn, and The Trackademics, have managed to climb to fame in the aftermath of Gangsta Rap's decline.

See also


External links

Simple English

West Coast hip hop
Stylistic origins Hip hop
Cultural origins Mid-1980s, California, United States
Typical instruments Bass - rapping - drum machine - sampler - synthesizer
Derivative forms Hyphy
Underground hip hop - Gangsta rap - G-funk - Chicano rap
(complete list)

West Coast hip hop is a style of hip hop music that originated in California in the early 1980s. It has since grown into a major force in hip hop and has developed several creative centers.

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