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East Coast rap

In the early 1990s, two styles of hip hop were popular. West Coast rap was focused in Los Angeles, while East Coast rap was based out of New York City. During the 80s, New York was the center of hip hop, which had achieved only limited mainstream success Artists like Kurtis Blow, LL Cool J and Slick Rick were the closest thing to superstars that hip hop had yet produced, and all were firmly rooted on the East Coast.

In the late 1980s, a group called Public Enemy became one of the premiere acts in hip hop, both among aficianados and mainstream listeners. Their politically aware lyrics and militant activism served as the blue print for the Native Tongues Posse, which arose as a form of alternative rap with artists like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.

Though East Coast hip hop was dominant through the 1980s, N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton put West Coast hip hop on the map, and marked the first challenge to East Coast's dominance. The rivalry, fanned in part by the music media, culminated in the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. in the mid-1990s. Meanwhile Puff Daddy's pop-friendly Bad Boy Records dominated the East Coast to the detriment of its critical success. A new breed of hard-edged East Coast rappers soon emerged, and began topping the charts again by the end of the decade. These included Nas, Jay-Z and the Wu-Tang Clan.

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