For those who really don’t know me, My introduction to Hip Hop is from the West Coast. As a kid I’ve already known guys like Kurtis Blow, The Fat Boys, Grand Master Flash, Run DMC and many others that were coming from the East Coast at that time period. I liked their music but I couldn’t really grasp it considering it was most likely “Party music”. It wasnt until my Dad bought these two albums is where I was introduced the Hip Hop music:
These type of albums weren’t your usual happy go lucky rap tunes either. The content was strictly aggressive, in your face, and spoke on issues that effected the black community at the time: Police Brutality, Drug Dealing, Sex, Violence, along with those topics laced with harsh language and hard pounding production. Examples of those could be heard on songs such as F*ck Tha Police, Colors, Pimpology, and many other songs that went against the grain of what hip hop was at the time. While a lot of the East Coast rappers at the time were focused on rapping about how fly they were and the party life, West Coast rappers such as NWA and Ice T were too busy sending chills up the police department with their form of rebel music:
As we approached the Death Row/Suge Knight era, I felt that even though it was more gangsterfied compared to the days of NWA, Ice Cube and Ice T. Even though their era of music was more street, It still a major threat in the modern society and led to Time Warner to pull the plug on distributing Death Row’s catalogue and selling the share back to Interscope Records. The only difference is that this was a black man(Suge Knight) who didnt take no crap from none of these white executives that have made a fortune off profiting off their artists and leaving them nothing but crumbs. The Death Row era not only represented gangsterism but it also represented enterpanuership, Dr Dre and Suge Knight(as Co Owners) took the music world by storm cranking hit after hit and it became a major threat because here were black men making music that weren’t dictated by no white A&Rs and made 100 million a year off doing it.
What really stood out about the West Coast brand of hip hop was mainly its rebelliousness which got jump started by NWA. Alot of acts came from that group and that vein flowed through rappers such as Tupac, Paris, Comptons Most Wanted, Above the Law, MC Ren(solo), Mack 10, and many others. What also terrified the mainstream was also the gang life in Los Angeles. The majority of these rappers and execs representing the West Coast were from either gangs or real life “street niggas” so they know they couldn’t punk out a guy like Suge Knight like they could someone like Russell Simmons.
The Puppet masters behind the Industry knew that they had to eliminate this problem. Tupac was the main attraction of the West Coast. He was their flag waver, He was one of the few artists that spoke up for the coast when the East Coast began their Anti West Coast bashing. Everything Pac said and done made headlines, caused attention or made people think. He was a very powerful brother so ifTupac’s and Biggies fued effected an entire Industry in a negative way then they couldn’t shudder to think if Pac could have used that same form of power after he was done fueding with Biggie to contribute something major for the game and he spoke about these plans prior to the Makaveli album.
Soon as Tupac was murdered, There was a big void left on the West Coast. There was no voice, There was still hardcore music being made but it wasnt being heavily promoted out of the fear of another Suge Knight rising from the streets and punking these execs who want to take advantage of the artists.
After Pac’s death, Death Row was left in shambles. Ruthless records was pretty much dead at that point with Eazy’s death, Dr Dre was trying to find himself, Snoop ran down south after a dispute with Suge and everyone else on the label went to either being irrelevant or MIA. Suge pulled the typical nigger move and sold his artists alot of good game about taking care of his artists, treating them like family when in reality he was no different from Eazy or any shady executive. He was robbing them out of their royalties and enslaving them to contracts that were even more unbinding then the ones Eazy gave. Snoop and Dre, the main bread winners along with Pac were having financial disputes with Knights and had to either give up alot of their ownership(Dre) or flee down South(Snoop)
One of the problems the West Coast suffer from is too much dependency. The West Coast talent pool is swimming with hungry new artists that’s waiting to get a shot. The problem is that It seems like every artist is awaiting a cosign from Dr Dre, Ice Cube or Snoop Dogg instead of getting on their hustle and making recognition for themselves. The Pioneers are just to blame as they seem to lack serious interest in putting on these acts and thats whats hurting the West Coast more than anything.
Snoop Dogg is probably the only one out of the three thats really trying to speak up for the West but he’s fighting himself to stay relevant in a forever fickle Music market. He’s even having to go as far as to do songs with pop artists to stay relevant.
Drained by constant beefs between gangs, labels, and artists for the next couple of years. Hope for the West Coast Rap Scene awakened once again in 2005. This time it was a JT Bigga Figga/Dr Dre protegé that goes by the name of The Game.
The Game was different from any other rapper that was coming out at the time.He was young, cocky, He knew his history and always respected the pioneers by name dropping them on his records and was pretty controversal as he would be introduced into the Rap Game via beef similar to his boss at the time 50 Cent.
Many though the Game was gonna be the one that was gonna carry the Coast on his back and be that brand name next to Cube, Dre, and Snoop. He has all of the tools to be the West Coast’s next megastar. However judging from alot of his bi-polar like actions, his suspect background and his obsession with Dr Dre, JayZ and G-Unit. Its pretty hard for many to take him seriously as not only a heavyweight in the Rap Game but as somebody that could ignite the torch for the coast.
The West Coast Rap Scene is in need of some fresh blood, new voices, and someone with balls to really speak the real about whats going on. They need to stop trying to be like the South and the East and just be the West Coast. When I think of the West Coast, I think of Fly women, the best weed, lowriders, funky samples or laid back music along with controversal dialogue of gang violence, police brutality, anti establishment, and keeping it hood. I don’t wanna hear West Coast artists rap about syrup, tight pants, getting crunk, timberland boots or have a bunch of East Coast/South producers on their whole shit. Keep the West Coast sound identical so it can remain as a name of its own. I don’t wanna hear Soulja Boy, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka or Drake on no album from a West Coast rapper. Keep the West Coast sound identical for those who grew up on it and would continue to appreciate it.