How The West Was Won

“To live and die in CA… Guaranteed to make it pop like a fuckin’ briefcase.” – Fashawn

The west coast is notorious and home to the G-Funk Movement. With steady contributions from powerhouse artists in the vein of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Tupac, and Snoop Dogg putting themselves on the map with their classic debuts. You simply can not have a “hip hop” conversation about California without mentioning these greats. Think about it, Tupac being hologramed at Coachella is a prime example of how the world has been influenced by West Coast music. These artists set the standard and paved the way for the newer reinvigorating Cali sound we are in tune with today. CA is illustrious for the laid back lifestyle and the music isn’t much different. And even though 2012 sounds different from what 1996 brought fourth, it’s impossible to take away the impact that the West has placed on many genres outside of hip hop.

The TDE camp may just be the new Death Row. In no way am I comparing the rappers, I’m comparing the impact that both camps have on the West Coast. With 4 rappers deep in the TDE camp, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab Soul and Jay Rock, I can’t think of any other crew that can match Black Hippy right now. Everyone in the collective possesses key attributes to magnify their dopeness and it helps them prove to be a stand out force in terms of Hip-Hop groups. Ab Soul is painted as the outcast of the group, but he might just be the most outspoken member of the house, when it comes down to revolutionary raps and alligning to overthrow the system he delivers, yet he’s diverse enough to blend in and bend the mental on collaborations like his guest appearance on “Druggy’s With H*es”. Kendrick Lamar is the soft spoken person of the group, very laid back but when he speaks he pulls you in with heartfelt politely explicit content such as “HiiiPower”, its a guaranteed win and a certified must listen everytime. Schoolboy Q might be the most versatile of the group, from his street raps about tattered and torn war stories, to his display of understanding while seeking to communicate with his listeners such as his song “Blessed”. Jay Rock is the most authentic street rapper out of the group. Dave is 4 for 4 with his artists and their projects and Black Hippy needs to drop their mixtape like yesterday.

I will not allow you to chat up CA and not talk about Below The Heavens, I don’t care what anyone says. That album signifies the golden rule of the West Coast. It definitely put the West Coast back on the map. That album is the last definitive classic of our generation and Exile doesn’t get nearly as much attention as he should for the production on the album. Fashawn’s Boy Meets World LP is also an album where Exile held a creative hand as far as composition. Fashawn’s “Boy Meets World” is an underground classic. HUGE shout out to Evidence for having a hand in breaking off a piece of the new west, as he paved the way for Fashawn, I didn’t hear about Fashawn until I heard him on Evidence’s “The Far Left”.

Chuuwee is the new West Coast prospect. As the old saying goes, “He got next” and he’s a musical force that you will have no choice but to become familiar with very soon. He just recently inked a deal with indie label Amalgam Digitial. He reminds me of a young AZ with his 90’s flow and his Hot N Ready project with Lee Bannon is one of the main reasons why he gets my cosign. With his latest projects coming to light, he is showing signs of progress and is not stopping. He’s now working with Large Professor, as well East Coast production heavyweight J57 of the Brown Bag All-Stars, and getting cosigns from familiar names like 9th Wonder and Evidence. Add to the fact that he has a track on The Alchemist’s upcoming album that I can’t wait to hear. He reminds me of why I am deeply in love hip hop in the first place.

There are a wide range of brand new West Coast artists to consider. Last but not least, you’d have to mention the flawlessly dedicated perfected work ethic of the undeniably talented Dom Kennedy. Everyone’s waiting on that Yellow Album. He can drop a project with no marketing ploy whatsoever and at the time it drops, everyone is quick to download it. He definitely has that fly, slick talk in his raps that no one can deny. Always repping Leimert Park at every waking moment. “Watermelon Sundae” was what attracted people to his relaxing aura and placed him comfortably on the map and he’s been convincingly banging out heater after heater ever since his arrival.

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