Friday, May 15, 2009

West Coast vs. East Coast>>>Hip Hop Today

Rest in peace Tupac A. Shakur. Rest in peace Christopher Wallace Sr.


With all due respect out of the way, I miss that coastal rivalry. True, we lost the two spokespersons from each coast, but I'll be damned if we didn't get some good hip hop out of it. The trade off doesn't balance out, but somethings in life have to happen. In most arguments, the blame falls on P. Diddy & Marion Knight alike. Look at both of them now. If you're a believer in Karma, who do you think REALLY started it all?


Most (who're old enough to remember) will agree that the 90's were the best years for rap. That was a more distinct time in Hip Hop music. At a glance, one could tell where a person was from, rappers & civilians alike. If the appearance didn't clue you in, their speak gave them away. Baggy jeans, a Carhartt hoodie & Timbs, you knew automatically that he was from somewhere on the East Coast. No questions, no confusion. If you saw Dickies, White T-shirt/pendleton & Chuck Taylor's, no doubt dude was from the West Coast (Cali, usually). Not to discount the mid west or down south, but back then they made a different kind of noise. But, they did make noise none the less. The music was as different as the uniforms.


In the "Golden Era", it was all about territory. All about representation. With this state of mind in full swing, it was only a matter of time before the two biggest gangs in hip hop, Death Row & Bad Boy bumped heads. It stated with the predestined pairing of 'Pac & Biggie, but that's a story for another blog.

Words like "finna" only got as far as the mid west, before it stopped. East coast cats wouldn't dare defile their slanguage with such bamma grammar. Nor would they sport the footwear that Snoop made look so fly. They were about their winter wear, triple gooses & various sports garbs. & the music was a clear reflection of the organized confusion that was their lives. You could hear the hunger & thirst in their speech. No doubt, you know a East Coast cat when you saw/heard him.

Out West, it was all about affiliation, colors & sets. You might not have banged, but your brother did. Or your uncle. The only team one could rep was the one connected to their turf. My dad refused to let me wear Mariners or North Carolina gear growing up. He was smarter than most Dads. The bustle of the hustle wasn't the same as the East Coast, but it was a bustle even still. In the traditional laid-back attitude California is known for, block tales & hood stories were painted vividly. Street survival. Some even called it "Gangsta rap".


In the midst of the whole West vs. East conflict, the respective artists went out of their way to make music for their hoods. Mobb Deep, NaS, Wu-Tang, & dozens of others repped the NY sound without fillers. No bounce, no snap, no funky worm reconstructions. Strictly boom-baps & sampled loops. Then you had the bassline heavy, funk-inspired synths of the West Coast. Snoop, Tha Dogg Pound, Ice Cube, to name a few, were determined to separate G-funk from whatever it was that you listened to.


Think about it; when people say the 90's was THAT time in hip hop, this is why.


Unlike now. Now, everybody is a clone of somebody who's copying someone else who stole another guy's whole steelo. Originality & individuality died, not Hip Hop. The few who do think outside the box may as well be trapped in one, according to the general consensus. But basically, if you've seen one rapper today, you've seen them all. Most songs sound so similar nowadays, that it's not even really important what state is tattooed on their backs. All that matters are record sales. "It ain't where you from, it's where you at" has never rang more true than this very moment.


YouTube & Myspace aren't helping matters either.


I remember when rap dudes would say they don't listen to other rap songs, especially while they're recording their own. Now, scouting the competition is mandatory, like an NBA game. I wonder if Clint Black has to know what single Kerry Underwood released before he decides on his?


I'm sure somebody saw this coming but didn't get the memo out fast enough. Assimilation usually results in forced commonality. "Why be different if noone else is?" You can literally cut & paste hip hop artists with one another, & the fans wouldn't be the wiser.


So, the next time someone says "the 90's was the best decade in rap music", ask them why? The music or the culture?


Both answers would be right.

3 comments:

Capital G said...

Preach! Truest shit I ever read in my life. Keep coming with the heat Grand$. I'm lovin' this blog.

NEWYAWKA631 said...

MUTHAFUCKIN COSIGN.95 IS PERSONALLY MY FAVORITE YEAR OF HIP HOP.YOU HAD THE 94 SHIT STILL PLAYIN[REMEMBER THEY HAD A FEW VIDEOS IN ROTATION BACK THEN,NOT 1 AND YA DONE]AND 95 HAD SOME ILL ALBUMS.RAEKWON,LL COOL J'S MR.SMITH..BIGGIE HAD THE WHO SHOT YA/ONE MORE CHANCE REMIX/CAN'T YOU SEE WITH TOTAL.WU-TANG HAD THIER SHIT OUT THERE.LOST BOYS...LUNIZ HAD THE WEED CLASSIC'GOT 5 ON IT'...DRE'KEEP THE HEADS RINGING....DA R&B WASN'T LIKE TODAY.THEY HAD THE BABY MAKING SLOW JAMZ.AND THEY HAD THE SONGS WIT DA HIP HOP ARTISTS.I KEEP MY 95 SHIT PLAYING A FEW TIMES A WEEK.DON'T FORGET ABOUT BONE THUGS.EAST 99 WAS A FUCKING HOT ALBUM.TUPAC WAS DOING HIS THING.MY NIGGA SPICE 1 HAD HIS 94 SHIT[THAT ILL MENTION ANY WAY].I LOVE DAT WEST COAST SHOOT DEM UP SHIT......EVERYBODY WAS ORIGINAL......THEY DIDN'T JUST DO IT FOR THE MONEY

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