Niche it!
BobbyGs Info
Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly
American hip hop

Music Sound

American hip hop

Southern rap | East Coast hip hop | West Coast hip hop

Back | Home | Up | Next

Subway graffiti Subway graffiti

America was the starting place of hip hop, a cultural movement that was developed in the 1970s in New York City, among primarily African American and Puerto Rican audiences. For many years, hip hop remained known only in a few neighborhoods in New York, but it began to spread to nearby urban areas like Philadelphia and New Jersey. By the end of the decade, hip hop was known in many of the United States' most populous cities.

During the early to mid-1980s, hip hop underwent regional diversification, while New York-based East Coast hip hop attained the first national recognition for recorded hip hop. Cities like Miami, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Detroit, Atlanta and Chicago developed their own styles, incorporating local influences.

Beginning with N.W.A., West Coast rap, based out of Los Angeles, became a mainstream success. For the first time, New York was not the only city on the hip hop map. The two were rivals in many ways, fueling the East Coast-West Coast rivalry. In the late 1990s, many cities saw their own scenes find popular acclaim. These included Atlanta, St. Louis and New Orleans.


The East Coast

Main article: East Coast hip hop


With a somewhat disappointing hip hop scene, Baltimore's biggest claim to fame in rap is its status as the boyhood home of the legendary Tupac Shakur, who attended the Baltimore School for the Arts. There is a scene in Baltimore that is often referred to as Baltimore House. While not traditional hip hop, it incorporates hip hop as well as house and drum and bass influences. It is also the birth place of DMX


Boston is the hometown of Guru of the East Coast trailblazers, Gang Starr. Other Boston hip hop acts include Mr. Lif and Akrobatik of the Perceptionists, Bell Biv Devoe, Benzino, and New Jack Swing legend Bobby Brown.

New Jersey

The African-American neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey and Jersey City produced many rappers in the early-to-mid 1990s East Coast boom, the most famous of which were Redman and The Fugees. Other Jersey artists include Chino xl, Apache, Artifacts, Joe Budden, and Lords of the Underground. Sugarhill Gang, who achieved fame for their early rap hit "Rapper's Delight" (1979), was based in Englewood, New Jersey, as was their label, Sugar Hill Records.

New York City

Main articles: East Coast hip hop

New York City (specifically the Bronx) was the birthplace of hip hop, and all of its prime early movers, such as DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa grew up and began performing there. The city also produced all of the style's early stars, like LL Cool J and Kurtis Blow. Other influential artists from this era that have endured through the ages are KRS One, Public Enemy, Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys. By the beginning of the 1990s, however, the West Coast had eclipsed New York in popular success. This began a rivalry which culminated in the deaths of New York MC Notorious B.I.G. and West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur. In 1993 the pioneering Wu-Tang Clan emerged, and have continued to be influential to independent street hip hop. By the middle of the decade, Puff Daddy reinvigorated East Coast rap to popular acclaim with a very pop-oriented approach to hip hop. The East Coast also bred several hard-edged stars during this time, like Busta Rhymes, DMX and Nas, culminating in the breakthrough of Jay-Z late in the decade. New York also produced a vital underground in the Native Tongues Posse, led by alternative hip hop crew A Tribe Called Quest. 50 Cent & his G-Unit clique is one of few succesful rappers/groups of the 21st century.


Philadelphia has produced a few of the most hard-edged rappers, including Schoolly D and Kurupt. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince were one of the first to put Philly on the map. It also famous for early 2000s mainstream acts such as Beanie Sigel, Eve, Freeway, State Property, The Roots, and Cassidy. The philly hip hop scene has very unique style and slang; The term "jawn" is used as a universal interjection.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is best known for its distinct dance music called go go, which arose as a fusion of funk with rapping. Chuck Brown is the best-known performer of go go.



The first Chicago hip hop record was the "Groovy Ghost Show" by Casper, released in 1980 and a distinctively Chicago sound began by 1982, with Caution and Plee Fresh. Chicago also saw the development of house music (a form of electronic dance music) in the early 1980s and this soon mixed with hip hop and began featuring rappers; this is called hip house, and gained some national popularity in the late 1980s and early 90s. The Chicago underground scene produced several major acts, beginning with Paris.

Despite having the second-largest African-American population in the nation (after Detroit, in percent), only now with Kanye West, Common, and Boo and Gotti, is the Windy City beginning to receive mainstream attention.

Two Chicago rappers, Twista and Rebel XD, were Guinness Book record holders in the category "Fastest Rap MC" (though of the pair, only Twista has released a CD).


One of the most influential hip hop groups on Ohio and Midwest hip hop in general have been the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.


Detroit's earliest forays into recorded hip hop were in the field of ghettotech, a fusion of techno music and Miami bass. Later, nationally-renowned performers such as Insane Clown Posse, Kid Rock, Eminem, D12, Obie Trice, Slum Village and Royce Da 5'9" made Detroit an industry center.


Atmosphere (band) is one of Minnesota's most prominent hip hop groups.

St. Louis

Nelly & the St. Lunatics, Chingy and J-Kwon are of few well-known rappers.

The South

Main article: Southern hip hop


In the late 1990s, a wave of Atlanta-based performers like Goodie Mob and Outkast gained some national renown. By the early 2000s, Outkast had become critical darlings and the Southern rap-inspired Dirty South style was a major component of popular hip hop. Atlanta is currently the most productive hip hop city with the biggest names being Killer Mike, Ludacris, Lil Jon, and Young Jeezy.


Houston first came on to the national scene in the early 1990s with the violent and disturbing stories told by the Geto Boys.

In the mid 2000s Houston exploded into the forefront of Southern hip hop, with commercially successful acts like Mike Jones, Slim Thug, Lil Flip, and Paul Wall. UGK now calls Houston home and has been an enormously influential influence on southern hip hop since the 1990s. One of Houston's up-and-comers is Chamillionaire.


Memphis is credited as the original source of the crunk sound that spread across the South in the 2000s, with 1990s groups like Three 6 Mafia and 8Ball & MJG. Young Buck is so far the only known rapper from another major city of Tennessee: Nashville.


Miami is best-known for a bass-heavy form of hip hop called Miami bass. It had a brief brush with national fame in the late 1980s, aided by a censorship controversy surrounding the crew 2 Live Crew. Trick Daddy and Trina are other well-known rappers, as well as latino rapper Pitbull. Jin was also from Miami, but moved to New York City.

New Orleans

Before Atlanta's takeover around 2001, the most popular scene in the South was New Orleans, led by Master P's No Limit Records and the Cash Money Millionaires. Cash Money's 1999 hit Bling Bling created a national catchphrase. Well-known rappers are Lil' Wayne & Master P, & his son Lil' Romeo.

The future of New Orleans rap is in jeopardy due to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which has directly affected many local rap personalities.


Litefoot, the most prominent Native American rapper, is based in Tulsa, and operates the record label Red Vinyl.

The West and West Coast

Main article: West Coast hip hop

Los Angeles

In the early 1980s, recorded hip hop from Los Angeles began. There were two styles. One was hardcore hip hop vocalists, like Ice-T, King Tee and Toddy Tee, while the others performed a kind of electronic dance music called electro hop; these included the Arabian Prince, Egyptian Lover and World Class Wreckin' Cru.

Though there was no major acclaim until the very end of the 80s, West Coast artists did grown in stature during the middle of the decade. These hits included Ice-T's "6'n da Mornin'" (1986), one of the first gangsta rap songs, and Toddy Lee's "Batter". Ice-T's Rhyme Pays (1987) brought critical acclaim for the West Coast. With the success of N.W.A. and the Posse soon after, West Coast hip hop moved quickly towards the mainstream. N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton completely the transition to the forefront of American popular hip hop, but it was 1992's The Chronic by Dr. Dre that established the style's permanence. Death Row Records was the prominent west coast record label. Founded by Suge Knight the label included Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. Another notable west coast group from the time was Latin group Cypress Hill who like Ice-t, also dabbled in the alternative rock scene.

The Chronic was the beginning of what was known as G-funk, and came to include such stars as Snoop Doggy Dogg and Warren G. Its release came at a pivotal period, simultaneous with the release of Nirvana's Nevermind, and American music went through a watershed moment. There was a backlash against the late 1980s heavy metal bands, which were seen as cheap and formulaic. Nirvana and Dr. Dre shared an anti-establishment attitude which resonated with the country's youth.

Since Eazy-E & Tupac died, West Coast rap died down a bit with the exceptions of elderstatesmen Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg as well as Xzibit. Recently the West Coast has made a comeback with The Game and his debut The Documentary.

Long Beach

Long Beach is a neighbor city next to LA's hip hop scene where gangsta rap and G-funk dominated. It is the home of stars such as Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Nate Dogg, The Dogg Pound and The Eastsidaz.

Oakland/Bay Area

Oakland, California is the center of arguably the most artistic and intellectual hip hop scene in the country. The Bay Area's reputation is largely based on alternative acts such as Souls of Mischief, Blackalicious, Zion I, and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien. The Bay Area is also the adopted hometown of the late Tupac Shakur, who is regularly listed as one of, if not the, greatest rappers of all time. It is also the hometown of other rappers such as Too Short, MC Hammer, and Mac Dre. In current times, the Bay Area is home to the "Hyphy" Movement, featuring uptempo club songs from artists like E-40, Keak da Sneak, Federation, and The Team. Yukmouth is also a great Bay Area Rapper.


Seattle's rap scene is similar to Oakland's more intellectual style. It briefly gained national prominence in 1991 with Sir Mix-A-Lot's novelty hit "Baby Got Back".

The Guinness Book record holder for Fastest Rap MC is the Seattle-based No Clue (Ricky Brown), breaking the record previously held by Chicago rapper Rebel XD. Brown rapped 723 syllables in 51.27 seconds on his track "No Clue" at B&G Studios, Seattle, on January 15, 2005.

Hip hop/Rap
Beatboxing - DJing (Turntablism) - Fashion -History (Roots - Old school - Golden age - Modern) - Production - Rapping
African - American (East - West - South)
Abstract - Alternative - Chopped & Screwed - Christian - Country-rap - Crunk - Electro - Freestyle music - Gangsta - G-funk - Ghettotech - Golden age - Hardcore - Hip hop soul - Hip house - Horrorcore - Hyphy - Instrumental - Jazz rap - Latin rap - Mafioso - Miami bass - Mobb - Neo soul - Nerdcore - New jack swing - Old school - Political hip hop - Pop rap - Rapcore - Ragga - Reggaeton - Snap music - Urban Pasifika

Home | Up | Music history of the United States | Ethnic music in the United States | American classical music | American folk music | American hip hop | American styles of music | American styles of music | African American music | American folk music | American popular music | American patriotic music

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

GameStop, Inc.