East Coast hip hop

East Coast hip hop
East Coast hip hop
Stylistic origins A form of hip hop music that combines the elements of Jamaican dancehall toasting with the rhythms of R&B, disco and funk along with soul and jazz
Cultural origins Late 1970s New York City
Typical instruments Drum machine/Drum kit - Turntable - rapping - Sampler- brass - piano - human beatboxing
Mainstream popularity Became prominent during the 1980s; maintained popularity through to the 1990s.[1]
Regional scenes
New York City - Philadelphia - New Jersey - Boston - Baltimore - Washington, D.C. - Virginia Beach
Other topics
Roots of hip hop - Hip hop culture - Timeline of hip hop - Old school hip hop - The golden age of hip hop - Five Percent Nation - East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry

East Coast hip hop is a regional subgenre of hip hop music that originated in New York City, USA during the 1970s. Hip hop is recognized to have originated and evolved first in the East Coast.[1] The style in the East Coast emerged as a definitive subgenre after artists from other regions of the United States emerged with different styles.


Musical style

In contrast to the simplistic rhyme pattern and scheme utilized in old school hip hop, East Coast hip hop has been noted for its emphasis on lyrical dexterity.[2] It has also been characterized by multi-syllabic rhymes, complex wordplay, a continuous free-flowing delivery and intricate metaphors.[2] While East Coast hip hop does not have a uniform sound or standard style, it tends to gravitate to aggressive beats and sample collages.[1] The aggressive and hard-hitting beats of the form were emphasized by such acts as EPMD and Public Enemy, while artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick were noted for their lyrical skill.[1] Lyrical themes throughout the history of East Coast hip hop have ranged from lyrical consciousness by such artists as Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest to mafioso rap themes by rappers such as Raekwon and Kool G Rap.[2]


Emergence of hip hop on the East Coast (1970–1980s)

East coast hip hop is occasionally referred to as New York rap due to its origins and development at block parties thrown in New York City during the 1970s.[2] According to Allmusic, "At the dawn of the hip-hop era, all rap was East Coast rap."[1] Early artists of the form, including DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, the Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Jam Master Jay, and Run-D.M.C., pioneered East Coast hip hop during hip hop's development.[1] As the genre developed, lyrical themes evolved through the work of East Coast artists such as the Native Tongues, a collective of hip hop artists associated with generally positive, Afrocentric themes, and assembled by Afrika Bambaataa. New York-based groups such as De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Jungle Brothers also earned recognition for their musical eclecticism.[1]

The East Coast Renaissance (early to mid–1990s)

Though East Coast hip hop was dominant throughout the late 1980s, N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton presented the toughened sound of West Coast hip hop, which was accompanied by gritty, street-level subject matter.[1] In 1992, Dr. Dre's G-Funk record The Chronic would introduce West Coast hip hop to the mainstream. Along with a combined ability to retain its primary function as party music, the West Coast form of hip hop became a dominant force during the early 1990s.[1] Although G-Funk was the most popular variety of hip hop during the early 1990s, the East Coast hip hop scene remained an integral part of the music industry. Several New York City rappers rising from the local underground scene, began releasing noteworthy albums in the early and mid nineties.[3] Music writer David Drake of Stylus Magazine wrote of hip hop during 1994 and its contributions, stating:

The beats were hot, the rhymes were hot - it really was an amazing time for hip-hop and music in general. This was the critical point for the East Coast, a time when rappers from the New York area were releasing bucketloads of thrilling work - Digable Planets, Gang Starr, Pete Rock, Jeru, O.C., Organized Konfusion - I mean, this was a year of serious music.[3]
—David Drake

Nas's debut album Illmatic has been noted as a creative high point of the East Coast hip hop scene, and featured production from such renown New York-based producers as Large Professor, Pete Rock and DJ Premier.[3] Gabe Gloden of Stylus Magazine later wrote, "From my perspective in the Midwest, the market was dominated by West Coast hip hop, and these albums didn’t make much of a dent in West Coast sales, but with time, these albums filtered their way into everyone’s collections."[3] The Notorious B.I.G. became the central figure in East Coast hip hop during most of the 1990s.[4] His success on the music charts and rise to the mainstream drew more attention to New York at the time of West Coast hip hop's dominance.[4] According to Allmusic editor Steve Huey, the success of his 1994 debut album Ready to Die "reinvented East Coast rap for the gangsta age" and "turned the Notorious B.I.G. into a hip-hop sensation — the first major star the East Coast had produced since the rise of Dr. Dre's West Coast G-funk".[4] His commercial success helped pave the way for the success of other East Coast rappers such as Jay-Z, and Nas.[4][5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Genre: East Coast Rap. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
  2. ^ a b c d Adaso, Henry. What Is East Coast HIp-Hop. About.com. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
  3. ^ a b c d Gloden, Gabe. I Love 1994. Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
  4. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve (September 26, 2003). Biography: The Notorious B.I.G.. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-02-10.
  5. ^ Huey, Steve (September 26, 2003). Review: Ready to Die. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-02-10.

External links

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