Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Hip Hop music was developed in New York by artists such as Grandmaster Flash and Run DMC and garnered increasing attention throughout the 1980’s. However towards the end of the decade a new style of Hip Hop was taking form in California. West Coast Hip Hop presented a new form of rhythm to contrast the style of hip hop that was familiar to New York. The west coast hip hop was more gangster rap, accompanied with the Gangster Funk or G-Funk style which is more melodic accompanied with heavy bass lines. As you will notice sonically, west coast hip hop is more laid back with smoother beats and more lyrical emphasis on rhythm. The east coast hip hop scene is more lyrically driven with more complex rhyme patterns with rawer and simpler beats. East coast hip hop involves intricate wordplay, a continuous free-flowing deliverance and complex metaphors. The differences in style are a result of differences in lifestyles and the environment the artists grew up in. For example, California is home to LA and Hollywood and thus the dance party funky style hip hop from the west coast got a lot of attention. Many of the early tensions between the east coast and west coast hip hop artists occurred because of gang related issues. Thematically the music is not so much different between the two coasts a lot of the music is revolved around violence, sex, and drug use. As a result of the new style of hip hop arising in the west, a clash between these two hip hop cultures arose. The east coast artists found west coast artists to be gaining popularity and thus labeled the new style as ‘fake’ and ‘over-commercial’ and the lack of respect developed tensions between artists from the two coasts. Artists from opposite sides of America clashed with respect to which coast they were from and thus the battle for hip hop supremacy took center stage during the 1990’s. This playlist boasts prominent artists during the east coast vs west coast hip hop feud, and the differing lifestyles of these artists will be evident after listening to the different forms of hip hop music at the time. 

Choice of Songs

When I choose songs for this playlist I intended to incorporate those songs that directly influenced the east coast vs. west coast hip hop battle. The playlist includes many songs from artists that stimulated the rivalry by attacking other artists, while at the same time attempting to boost their image and gain respect within the hip hop world. Songs that developed and represented the two distinct hip hop styles was also a significant factor in making the playlist. The playlist includes many groundbreaking songs in during the 1990’s and in the history of hip hop. This mix of songs from various artists fit together in a playlist that is representative of the stylistic differences between west coast and east coast hip hop and artists claiming coastal hip hop supremacy. 


1) Straight outta Compton-N.W.A
2) Fuck Compton-Tim Dog
3) Fuck with Dre day- Dr Dre
4) Who Shot ya?-Biggie
5) I Aint Having it- Tim Dog
6) Hit Em Up-2pac
7) Nuthin' but a "G" Thang - Dr Dre/ Snoop Dogg
8) Brooklyn’s Finest- Jay Z/Notorious BIG
9) Calling out names-Kurupt
10) Way 2 Fonky-DJ Quik
11) Drop a Gem on Em-Mobb Deep
12) New York, New York-Tha Dogg Pound
13) La La-Mobb Deep/Noreaga 
14) What’s Beef?-Notorious BIG
15) All the critics in New York- Westside Connection
16) I Used to Love Her-Common
17) All Eyez on Me-2pac
18) Westside Slaughterhouse-Westside Connection
19) N.Y. State of Mind- NAS
20) The Bitch in Yoo-Common
21) Warren G-Regulate
22) Victory-Puff Daddy/Notorious BIG
23) California Love-2pac
24) Going back to Cali-Notorious BIG
25) Definition-Mos Def & Talib Kweli
26) I’ll Be Missing You-Puff Daddy/Faith Evans


1) http://www.cduniverse.com/
2) http://audio.tutsplus.com/articles/west-coast-east-coast-hip-hop-explained/
3) http://www.experiencefestival.com/hip_hop_rivalries_-_east_coast_vs_west_coast
4) http://www.hiphopgalaxy.com/East-Coast-hip-hop-hip-hop-2087.html
5) http://knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/West_Coast_hip_hop/

Puff Daddy- I'll be Missing You

Artist: Puff Daddy/Faith Evans
Title: I’ll be Missing You
Album: No Way Out
Record Label: Bad Boy Records
Catalog Number: 73012
Year Released: 1997

This track by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans was released after the death of Notorious BIG and was a conclusion to the 1990’s east coast-west coast hip hop rivalry. This song touched the hearts of Biggie’s supporters as the Rapper now turned legend was one of Hip Hop’s all time greats. As Puff Daddy said “Its like I feel empty inside without you bein here”, Hip Hop in general felt emptier after the fall of East Coast Hip Hop icon Notorious BIG. The unresolved deaths of 2pac and Notorious BIG altered the culture of hip hop, as it changed the way rap rivalries were both handled by artists and their fans. 

Listen to this track here

Mos Def & Talib Kweli- Definition

Artist: Mos Def & Talib Kweli
Title: Definition 
Album: Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star
Record Label: Rawkus
Catalog Number: 112897
Year Released: 1998

This song comes out near the conclusion of the east coast-west coast hip hop rivalry. Two great artists from Brooklyn team up in a great lyrical track which covers topics from modern day issues to philosophical issues and life in Brooklyn. Important lyrics from this song speak to the violence in hip hop “One two three/Mos Def and Talib Kweli/We came to rock it on to the tip-top/Best alliance in hip-hop, Y-O/I said, one two three/It's kind of dangerous to be an emcee/They shot Tupac and Biggie/Too much violence in hip-hop, Y-O” as the hope to send a message to end the feud in hip hop as it has already led to the deaths of 2pac and Biggie. 

Listen to Definition here

Notorious BIG- Going Back to Cali

Artist: Notorious BIG
Title: Going Back to Cali
Album: Life after Death
Record Label: Bad Boy Records
Catalog Number: 73011
Year Released: 1997

This song brings a unique edge to the feud in my opinion. As Biggie sings that he is going back to Cali for the weather, woman, and the nice sess associated with California living, he states that “If I got to choose a coast I got to choose the East, I live out there, so don't go there”. Biggie hypes up many aspects associated California, yet at the same time is “Thinkin I'm gon stop, givin L.A. props, All I got is beef with those that violate me, I shall annihilate thee." This song was added because of the significance it had by exacerbating the existing beef between the hip hop worlds with such lyrics as the one above. Ironically, as Biggie was promoting this album in California he was shot down and killed.

Listen to the song through this link

2pac- California Love

Artist: 2pac
Title: California Love
Album: None (Single)
Label: Death Row Records
Catalog Number: None
Release: 1995

This instant classic became a representation for California and the west coast hip hop scene. The song gained national popularity as Tupac welcomes “everybody to the wild, wild west.” The song enabled west coast hip hop to gain some respect as the catchy beats and rhythm of the song had the country shaking it to Californ-i-a. 

Listen to California Love here

Puff Daddy- Victory

Artist: Puff Daddy/Notorious BIG
Title: Victory
Album: No Way Out
Record Label: Bad Boy Records
Catalog Number: 73012
Year Released: 1997

Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records maintained strong beef with Suge Knight’s Death Row throughout the 1990’s. Puff Daddy’s song Victory is an outright call to the hip hop world claiming supremacy due to the success the record label was having. This song is filled with deep lyrical one liners by Notorious BIG and Puff Daddy, as both made the message clear asserting “P-diddy and the fam, who you know do it better?.”

Listen to Victory here

Warren G- Regulate

Artist: Warren G
Title: Regulate
Album: Regulate…G Fuck Era
Record Label: Def Jam
Catalog Number: 523335
Year Released: 1994

Warren G accompanied with Nate Dogg demonstrate what it means to be true G-Funk. The song has great melody, and rhythm as they claim that the west coast is “Where rhythm is life, And life is rhythm”. This hit song on the album proves why G-Funk music should have been more respected. 

Listen to the track here

Common- The Bitch in Yoo

Artist: Common
Title: The Bitch in Yoo
Album/B-Side: The Real Weight
Label: Relativity Records
Catalog Number: None
Year Released: 1996

Common directly responds to Ice Cube from Westside Connection as he tells him “You ain't made shit dope since AmeriKKKa's Most” which was Ice Cube’s album. Common claims that 
The west coast hip hop serves no true message, and insults the true face of hip hop. 

Listen to the song here

Nas- N.Y. State of Mind

Artist: Nas
Title: N.Y. State of Mind
Album: Illmatic
Record Label: Columbia Records
Catalog Number: 4759591
Year Released: 1994

Nas is one of my favorite artists and although his infamous feud with Jay Z doesn’t fall in the realm of hip hop style clashes, it was true that Nas had issues with Tupac. This is a classic song for New York and the hip hop artists from the area. Nas reveals his ghetto life and the dangers that came with the environment where he grew. The song combines pounding beats with unique piano loops combined with the smooth flow catches the listener’s ears.

Check out the song here

Westside Connection- Westside Slaughterhouse

Artist: Mack 10/Ice Cube
Title: Westside Slaughterhouse
Album: Mack 10
Record Label: Priority 
Catalog Number: 50675
Year Released: 1995

After Common called out the west coast rap style and the themes associated with gangsta rap, Ice Cube recorded this track in response to Common’s song ‘I Used To Love H.E.R.”. Ice Cube goes as far as to claim “Hip Hop started in the west Ice Cube bailin' through the east without a vest” showing his anger about the notion that west coast hip hop is hurting the hip hop scene in general. The G-Funk style is definitely portrayed with the pounding beats and violent lyrics. 

Watch the video here

2pac- All Eyez on Me

Artist: 2pac
Title: All Eyez on Me
Album: All Eyez on me (Disc 2)
Record Label: Death Row/Interscope Records
Catalog Number” 5866
Year Released: 1996

2pac represents the west coast thug life/gangsta rap in his album All Eyez on Me shortly after being bailed out by Death Row CEO Suge Knight. This album was an immediate hit and very influential for the west coast hip hop scene as 2pac claimed the role as the main west coast rap icon implementing many styles distinct to west coast hip hop in this song and album. 

Listen to the track here

Common- I Used to Love H.E.R.

Artist: Common
Title: I Used to Love H.E.R.
Album: Resurrection
Record Label: Relativity
Catalog Number: 1208
Year Released: 1994

This song combines a laid back flow by Common accompanied by a soothing beat. The song criticizes the direction of hip hop was taking during the 1990’s because of the rising popularity of West Coast hip hop. This song is a prime example of the differences in the new west coast G-Funk style and the style that Common presents in this particular song. Common in the song makes an analogy with the degradation of a woman and compares it to the fall of hip hop music which becomes clear when he says “But ima take her back hopin that the shit stop, Cause who Im talkin bout yall is hip-hop”. Common’s viewpoint about the fake, mainstream G-Funk style is a harsh blow to west coast artists such as Ice Cube. 

Listen to Common's track here

Westside Connection- All The Critics in New York

Artist: Westside Connection
Title: All the Critics in New York
Album: Bow Down
Record Label: Priority
Catalog Number: 8425052
Year Released: 1996

The rivalry that was occurring in the mid 90’s was due to the general feeling of disrespect so
Ice Cube, MC, and Mac 10 released this track directed at their fellow coastal rivals from New York. The failure to acknowledge the presence of West Coast Hip Hop frustrated Ice Cube and as a result responded harshly demanding respect stating “ Just because we made it real niggas got to deal, I hope blood ain't got to spill, I kill”. By this time many artists became sick and tired of hearing that their music was phony and commercially mainstream. 

Check out the song at this link

Notorious BIG- What's Beef

Artist: Notorious BIG
Title: What’s Beef? 
Album: Life After Death (Disc 1)
Record Label: Bad Boy Records
Catalog Number: 73011
Year Released: 1997

This is another example of the repeated lyrical attacks between Biggie and 2pac, after 2pac accused Biggie for the 1994 shooting in New York. Although Biggie does not directly refer to 2pac by name he references him numerous times throughout this song. Biggie jabs back at 2pac warning him about the threats made by 2pac saying “all I make is one phone call, All y'all disappear by tomorrow, All your guns is borrowed, I don't feel sorrow.”

Listen to Biggie's Song here

Capone-N-Noreaga - LA, LA

Artist: Capone-N-Noreaga f/ Khadafi, Prodigy (Mobb Deep)
Title: LA, LA
Album: The War Report
Record Label: Penalty
Catalog Number: 73041
Year Released: 1997

The previous song ‘New York, New York’ clearly targeted the artists of New York and the city itself. Queens, New York-based artists Tragedy Khadafi, Capone-N-Noreaga and Mobb Deep responded with the release of ‘L.A., L.A.’ aimed at Tha Dogg Pound. In the music video, members of Tha Dogg Pound are kidnapped and thrown off the Queensboro Bridge. The New York hip hop artists did not take lightly to the song ‘New York, New York’ and thus were forced to respond through this song. 

Watch the video here

Tha Dogg Pound- New York, New York

Artist: Tha Dogg Pound/Snoop Dogg
Title: New York, New York
Album: Dogg Food
Record Label: Death Row Records
Catalog Number: 63007
Year Released: 1996

In 1996, Death Row and Tha Dogg Pound released a music video for their single “New York, New York” in which they are seen knocking over New York skyscrapers and landmarks, a gesture to which many East Coast artists and music fans took offense. Lyrics such as “New York New York big city of dreams And everything in New York ain't always what it seems” were examples of the blows that Tha Dogg Pound had for New York hip hop artists. After listening to this song you will be able to pinpoint the west coast’s style which entails the laid back flow with smoother beats and more lyrical emphasis on rhythm. 

Watch the video here

Mobb Deep- Drop A Gem On Em

Artist: Mobb Deep
Title: Drop A Gem On Em
Album: Hell on Earth
Record Label: Loud House
Catalog Number: 1828
Year Released: 1996

This song was released during the height of the of the East Coast and West Coast rivalry and was directed towards 2pac after he insulted Mobb Deep in the song ‘Hit Em Up’ where he says “Oh yeah Mobb Deep, you wanna fuck with us? You Little young ass mutha fuckas, don't one of you niggas got sickle-cell or something?” Mobb Deep attacks 2pac and refers to his shooting in New York when they drop the line “Who Shot Ya? You'd probably scream louder than an opera, New York gotcha, now you wanna use my mob as a crutch”. The song and the lyrics that Mobb Deep rapped added fuel to the existing tensions between the New York and California hip hop scenes specifically centered on 2pac. 

Click on this link to listen to the song

DJ Quik- Way 2 Fonky

Artist: DJ Quik
Title: Way 2 Fonky
Album: Way 2 Funky
Record Label: Arista/Profile
Catalog number: 1110517
Year Released: 1992

In a response to Tim Dog’s claim that west coast rap was over-commercial and his song ‘Fuck Compton’, DJ Quik claims Tim Dog’s criticism was “Just a shot in the dark, from a punk-ass mark who ain't Fonky” as the Compton rapper claims the new G-Funk style which is presented in this song is real hip hop. 

Watch the music video

Kurupt- Calling out Names

Artist: Kurupt
Title: Calling out Names
Album: Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha
Record Label: Artemis Records
Catalog Number: 970048
Year Released: 1999

Kurupt was a prominent rapper and former member of Tha Dogg Pound, whose hip hop style blended into the gangsta rap image that was associated with the west coast style. Kurupt calls out many east coast rappers in this song as he claims “I love New York, but the niggas that represent, ya'll ain't shit New York.”

Listen to the song here 

Jay Z- Brooklyn’s Finest

Artist: Jay Z/Notorious BIG
Title: Brooklyn’s Finest
Album: Reasonable Doubt
Record Label: Roc-A-Fella
Catalog Number: 50040
Year Released: 1996

This song includes two great MC’s in a shot out to Brooklyn and the New York hip hop scene. Jay Z and Biggie Smalls played important roles in the 1990’s establishing Brooklyn as a centerpoint for important upcoming artists. In the song Biggie also jokingly responds to 2pacs claim that he hooked up with his wife Faith Evans saying “If Faith had twins, she'd probably have two Pacs Get it? Tu-pac's?”. This song and the lyrical attacks made by rapper Jay Z was in reference to 2pac’s callout in the original outro for the song ‘Hit em up’ and in my opinion is representative of the great lyrical flows by artists from New York at the time.  

Listen to Brooklyn's Finest here

Dr. Dre- Nuthin' But A G Thang

Artist: Dr. Dre/ Snoop Dogg
Title: Nuthin’ But A G Thang
Album: The Chronic
Label: Death Row
Catalog Number: 63000
Year Released: 1992

This song was a major hit for the west coast as it became a popular song nationwide that fits in the realm of the G-Funk hip hop that was influencing the Hip Hop scene in general. This classic is an all time great from two prominent west coast rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The lyrics were catchy and fit with the laid back beat as the song became a nationwide hit as it had everyone from both coasts singing “Ain't nothin' but a G thang, baaaaabay!”

You can enjoy this song here

2pac- Hit Em Up

Artist: 2pac
Title: Hit Em Up
Album/ B-side: How Do U Want It
Record Label: Death Row
Catalog Number: None
Year Released: 1996

This track became famous for the attacks 2pac made at a majority of the East Coast hip hop artists, many directly by name. The song attacked Notorious BIG directly as Tupac opens the song claiming “That's why I fucked yo' bitch, you fat motherfucker” referring to Biggie’s wife Faith Evans. In the outro of the track Tupac closes with a harsh attack as he states “Well this how we gonna do this Fuck Mobb Deep Fuck Biggie Fuck Bad Boy as a staff record label and as a motherfuckin crew And if you wanna be down with Bad Boy Then fuck you too”. As one would guess, this did not sit well with the artists on the East coast and the feud intensified to a point where the end result would eventually be bloodshed. However 2pac shows no sign of letting up even after his attempted murder in 1994 claiming “Who shot me? But ya punks didn’t finish, Now ya ‘bout to feel the wrath of a menace… Nigga, I hit ‘em up.” 

Read the lyrics while listening to the song here

Tim Dog- I Aint Having it

Artist: Tim Dog feat Kool Keith
Title: I Aint Having it
Record Label: Phantom
Album: Penicillin on Wax
Catalog Number: 692765
Year Released: 1991

An early Hip Hop artist from South Bronx, New York frequently claimed the upcoming west coast G-Funk style was phony and accused west coast G-Funk artists for hurting the path that Hip Hop was taking. This song was one of the first battle songs between the opposing hip hop nations which were developing during this time period. Tim Dog’s made it clear during this song that he thought the new west coast hip hop had no deeper meaning to it and thus he labeled it as ‘silly rap’.

Check out the song here

Notorious BIG- Who Shot Ya

Artist: Notorious BIG
Title: Who Shot Ya
Album: Ready to Die
Record Label: Bad Boy Records
Catalog Number: 285200
Year Released: 1994

This song was responsible for increasing tensions between Notorious BIG and 2pac, two major artists of Hip Hop that were involved in the rivalry. 2pac believed this particular song was directed as mockery to his robbery and shooting which occurred during a 1994 visit to a recording studio in New York. Biggie and Puff Daddy were only three floors above 2pac when the incident occurred, however they denied the accusations by 2pac that they were linked to the shootings on 2pac. As the song title insists Biggie continuously asks ‘who shot ya?’ making it appear that he was indirectly involved in 2pac’s shooting. 

Listen to a sample of the original version here

Dr. Dre- Fuck with Dre Day

Artist: Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg
Title: Fuck wit Dre Day 
Album: The Chronic
Label: Death Row
Catalog Number: 63000
Year Released: 1992 

Death Row was a major record label company on the west coast at the time which was affiliated with important artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, 2pac, and Tha Dogg Pound. The record label’s production of Dr. Dre’s hit album The Chronic shed spotlight on the west coast hip hop scene. In this song Snoop Dogg makes a debut and responds with Dre warning rivals Easy E and Tim Dog to “watch your back cause you might get smoked, loc”, after the harsh criticism that were made. This song is a prime example of the gangsta/G-Funk west coast style that surfaced at the time. 

Check out this G-Funk video here

Tim Dog-Fuck Compton

Artist: Tim Dog
Title: Fuck Compton
Label: Ruffhouse
Album: Penicillin on Wax
Catalog number: 692765
Year Released: 1991

The origins of the conflict between the two emerging hip hop forms in America was initiated in 1991 when East Coast based rapper Tim Dog released “Fuck Compton”, a derisive diss track aimed at N.W.A. and other Compton artists including Compton's Most Wanted and DJ Quik. Tim Dog calls out emerging west coast artists as he says “NWA ain't shit to me Dre beating on Dee from Pump it Up Step to the Dog and get fucked up “. The track sparked a rip wave in the hip hop scene which led to many responses from West Coast artists and criticisms from their hip hop fans due to the lack of respect. 

Click here to watch the video

N.W.A- Straight outta Compton

Artist: N.W.A
Title: Straight outta Compton
Record Label: Ruthless/Priority
Album: Straight outta Compton
Catalog number: 514157
Year Released: 1988

This first song was very important to the advancement of west coast hip hop. This album introduced many important figureheads from the west coast such as Dr. Dre, and was the first significant album to introduce gangsta rap to the music world. The song has intense lyrical profanity and refers to violence, which categorized the west coast style to come afterwards. 

click here to listen to the song