The genre of hip hop, without question, began on America’s East Coast in the Bronx borough of New York City. However, as the genre began to spread across the nation, the people of California would take it and make it their own. They would talk about life on the West Coast, L.A. gangs, lowriders, and make it a little funkier.
On the West Coast in southern California, G-Funk was the sound and, unlike Miami Bass and New Orleans Bounce, the sound spread nationwide like wildfire putting LA on the map. Spearheaded by Dr Dre and Deathrow Records, G-Funk is still popular today and is a timeless sound. Legends like 2pac rode G-funk, and after a while, even rappers on the East Coast started to adopt a more West Coast sound with songs such as ‘Big Poppa’ by the Notorious B.I.G and ‘Nas Is Coming’ by Nas taking on the smooth sonics of G-funk.
However, although G-Funk is known as the sound of California, people pay less attention to North California. The Bay area in the early 2000s cultivated its own sound, which came to be known as Hyphy Music. Pioneered by Traxamillion and Keak Da Sneak, it was popular and in demand, but it was a short-lived, hyper-localised scene. However, the area did generate some stars, with rappers such as E40 and Too$hort going on to achieve wider mainstream popularity.
G-funk sampled a lot of P-funk, a popular genre of music on the West Coast. Artists such as Parliament and Bootsy Collins are behind a lot of the hits we know from the West Coast, but without the ingenuity of Dr Dre, we would not have the classics we have today. Warren G was also one of the integral producers in West Coast hip hop and had so many hits to his name. Along with Dr Dre, the two were undoubtedly the pioneering brains behind G-funk.
Ice-T and Ice Cube laid the foundations for gangsta rap, which preceded the 90s G-funk era but contributed just as much to West Coast hip hop with regard to attitude. Ice-T’s ‘6 In The Mornin’ set a precedent for the likes of N.W.A, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg. Furthermore, it put the city of Los Angeles on the map with regard to hip hop.
We could talk about West Coast hip hop all day, so, instead, take a listen to our ‘Essential Mixtape’ of 25 tracks from West Coast hip hop.
- ‘6 In The Mornin’ – Ice-T
- ‘F*ck Tha Police’ – N.W.A
- ‘Boyz-N-The-Hood’ – Eazy-E
- ‘Dope Man’ – N.W.A
- ‘O.G. Original Gangster’ – Ice-T
- ‘It Was A Good Day’ – Ice Cube
- ‘Ghetto Bird’ – Ice Cube
- ‘Nuthin But A G Thang’ – Dr Dre ft Snoop Dogg
- ‘Regulate’ – Warren G ft Nate Dogg
- ‘All Tha Time’ – E-40 ft B-Legit
- ‘Trump Change’ – E-40
- ‘Oakland’ – Too $hort
- ‘Can I Get A B*tch’ – Too $hort ft Ant Banks
- ‘Gin & Juice’ – Snoop Dogg
- ‘2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted’ – 2pac ft Snoop Dogg
- ‘California Love’ – 2pac ft Dr Dre
- ‘LAX’ – Snoop Dogg ft Ice Cube
- ‘Just Dippin’ – Snoop Dogg
- ‘Buzzin’ – Mann ft 50 Cent
- ‘Low Low’ – Mustard ft Nipsey Hussle, Tee Cee & RJ
- ‘Bop N Keep It Dippin’ – Dizzee Rascal
- ‘Runnin’ – The Game
- ‘Check Yo Self’ – Ice Cube
- ‘South Man’ – Novelist
- ‘Let’s Get Blown’ – Snoop Dogg