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West Coast rap

In the 1980s, hip hop music began to break into the mainstream of the United States. A series of artists like Grandmaster Flash and Slick Rick brought the sound to new listeners; all of these early recording artists were based out of New York City. On the other side of the country, Los Angeles-based rappers like N.W.A., Ice-T Egyptian Lover and others were developing their own sound, which came to be known as West Coast rap.

During the early 1980s, hip hop established itself in Los Angeles. Early hardcore performers included King Tee[?], Toddy Lee[?] and Ice-T, while World Class Wreckin' Cru, Egyptian Lover and the Arabian Prince innovated a style called electro hop (or simply electro). Electro hop was dance music, and many East Coast critics and rap purists detested it, and electro hop never achieved much mainstream success.

Hardcore gangsta rap from LA achieved little success until the end of the 80s, though Toddy Lee's "Batter" (1985, 1985 in music) and Ice-T's "6'n da Mornin'" (1986, 1986 in music) did have some national exposure. Ice-T's 1987 (1987 in music) Rhyme Pays was the first West Coast LP to achieve critical acclaim, and it also sold surprisingly well for a hip hop album, especially a West Coast hip hop album. N.W.A.'s N.W.A. and the Posse[?] came out shortly thereafter and similarly made waves among hip hop listeners nationwide, and also helped jumpstart the demise of electro hop on the West Coast.

In 1989 (1989 in music), N.W.A. released the blockbuster Straight Outta Compton and put the West Coast on the hip hop map. The sound was influenced by hardcore, metal-tinged performers like Ice-T, Latino sounds like Cypress Hill, the popular success of MC Hammer and the P Funk samples and humor of Digital Underground. Straight Outta Compton united these sounds with minimalistic beats and hard-hitting social commentary.

In the early 1990s, rap was split by a rivalry between the two coasts. N.W.A. splintered apart, with all three members acrimoniously beginning solo careers. The minimalistic rage and furor of N.W.A. continued on the Public Enemy-influenced recordings of Ice Cube, though Dr. Dre's G funk came to dominate the West Coast. G funk relied on P funk samples to create a stoned, hazy beat that was defined by Death Row Records[?]' stable of artists. Most importantly was The Chronic (1992), Dr. Dre's solo debut that launched the careers of future G funk stars Warren G and Snoop Doggy Dogg.

The inter-coast rivalry culminated in the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.. After this, hip hop splintered again. Though West Coast rap remained popular among white audiences, hip hop critics and fans were listening to a new breed of East Coast rappers like Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, with their sparse and menacing beats, reacting against the East Coast's king of pop-rap, Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records. In comparison, the humor of Snoop, Coolio and other West Coast rappers was seen as juvenile and immature. The late 1990s also saw a diversification of hip hop, with Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago and New Orleans emerging with distinctive sounds.

By the turn of the millennium, West Coast rap's primacy had ended and East Coast superstars like Jay-Z had taken over. Eminem's emergence from the Detroit hip hop scene and his loyalty to Death Row has revitalized the industry, but his swift, catchy and angry humor bears little resemblance to G funk.



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