Los Angeles Rap: The Past & The Present

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Short Story on Los Angeles Rappers, Past & Present

In one of the country’s largest markets, the Los Angeles rap scene has played a major role in the rap industry as following the success of New York City, in which where Hip Hop was created at, the West Coast hip hop scene emerged.

The start of Los Angeles rap scene began with the likes of many including Ice T, King T and NWA, which introduced the world to Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre who would later have their own independent success.

Ice Cue, with the ability of releasing platinum selling albums since the very beginning of the 1990s from AmeriKKKas Most Wanted to War & Peace, prove to many that he was one of the greatest lyricists of all-time, especially on the West Coast.

With the help of Ice Cube’s success, other Los Angeles rappers began to rise to the scene like Lench Mob, Mack 10 and WC, who had already established himself with the rap group of Maad Circle that also featured “Gangsta Paradise” performer and multiple platinum recording artist of Coolio.

Dr. Dre, along with Suge Knight, spearheaded the movement of the rise of Death Row Records with The Chronic and the main figure behind the production of Snoop Dogg’s debut album “Doggystyle”, all after his stint with NWA.

One standout artist of Death Row and everyone’s favorite is 2Pac, probably the greatest rapper of all-time as 2Pac was originally from the East Coast but after establishing his music career on the West Coast, first with Digital Underground but really certifying himself as a true West Coast rapper when he linked up with the group Thug Life, which would follow into him signing to Death Row.

After Death Row’s release of The Chronic and the label’s new claim to fame became the success of Snoop Dogg that would help lead a number of artists into being successful in the rap game themselves from the Dog Pound to the Eastsidaz.

The city of Long Beach would be put on the map by Snoop Dogg, but the large city just south of Los Angeles produced numerous of talented artists that included Nate Dogg, Daz, Warren G, Tray Dee, RBX, Bad Azz, Crooked I and others.

While Dr. Dre was always viewed as the top producer that hails from the Los Angeles region, producers like DJ Battlecat, Daz Dillinger, Soopafly, Sir Jinx, DJ Pooh, before getting involved with movies and screen writing, and LT Huton have to be considered as some of the greatest hip hop producers to ever come from the region.

Despite Dr. Dre’s success with his production for Death Row’s earliest hits, Daz Dillinger should be credited for the vast majority of Death Row’s successful production, other than The Chronic and most production of Doggystyle, including key tracks on 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me.

DJ Battlecat is probably the most underrated producer hailing from Los Angeles as his production and foundation of his sound has much to do with and contributed to much of Los Angeles’ hip hop culture.

DJ Quik, who many view as just a rap artist who sold millions of records since the early 1990s with numerous of hit singles, is considerably one of the greatest hip hop producers of all-time by producing for Snoop Dogg, The Game, Nipsey Hussle, 2Pac, Kurupt, E-40, 8Ball & MJG, and Suga Free.

With South Central, Compton, and Long Beach leading the way for Los Angeles’ hip hop scene, the small Los Angeles County city of Pomona has its small contribution to the Southern California rap scene due to the artists of Suga Free, Cold 187um, Kokane, and Above the Law.

Outside of NWA, there was plenty of talented Compton rappers Coolio, MC Eiht, BG Knocc Out, Fo’ Clips, and many more proving that the small city is more than just what the media has portrayed as a number of successful people where raised in Compton.

The G Funk and Gangster Rap era, when local street artist like Sinister, South Central Cartel, New Breed Hustlas, KAM, CJ Mac, and too many others to name, combined with Los Angeles County’s culture of Bloods and Crips was a generation of hip hop that would be forever memorable.

After the 1990s, Los Angeles hip hop scene was still live, but mostly centered around Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, even though there were artist like Mack 10 or Xzibit who created a fan base during the following generation of the 1990s G Funk era.

While the West Coast had its moment of being the most popular rap scene in the country, there was a time when nobody was paying attention to rap music coming from Los Angeles, with The Game being the only relevant artist for some years.

But with the arrival of the 2010s, Kendrick Lamar’s classic album of “Good Kid, MAAD City” and YG’s hit single “My N***a”, eyes were beginning to pay attention to the Los Angeles rap scene as artists who have been grinding for years began to emerge.

TDE, Top Dawg Entertainment, has become the biggest independent rap label as the company started with the somewhat success of Jay Rock but would greatly expand after releasing nothing but classic and well acclaimed albums from Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and others.

YG, after linking with Young Jeezy, would grow his brand from the single “My N***a” into becoming one of the country’s most popular hip-hop artists by gaining notoriety nationwide, while the producer of the song DJ Mustard would become the biggest hip hop producer.

The late and great Nipsey Hussle, who had been grinding for years beginning with making a name for himself with the Bullets Aint Got No Name series, finally received the recognition he deserved from the masses with probably one of the best albums of this generation, Victory Lap.

Other artists, everywhere from Inglewood to Long Beach to South Central with the likes Dom Kennedy, Problem, Glasses Malone, Joe Moses, 2 Eleven, Skeme, or even Odd Future affiliates like Domo Genesis and Casey Veggies, all helped grow the new Los Angeles movement of the 2010s.

With this generation’s success nationally success of artists like Vince Staples, Anderson Paak, Boogie, and OT Genasis, Los Angeles County has long proven that the best music scene in the country is soley located in Southern California.

With the success of so many artists the music scene is only expected to get better with the rise of Roddy Rich, G Perico, Pacman The Gunman, RJ, Saviii 3rd, Jay 305, J Stone, TeeCee8400, 1TakeJay, Fig Newton, Cocc Pistol Cree, ComptonAss TG, LilCadiPGE, Drakeo The Ruler, GoGettaKB, AMBJaay, Ashbash The Rapper, Almighty Suspect and many more.

This article is only a summary of the history of Los Angeles rappers, along with the breakdown of the recent success of the city, as there is much more to the story from numerous of underground artists who made a name for themselves locally to the producers who at times do not get the credit they deserve to the local independent labels.

Feature Image Credit: MPH Photos / Shutterstock.com

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