HIP HOP CULTURE: FROM THE STREETS TO THE MAINSTREAM (PART II)

The Golden Age

After the formal appearance of hip-hop culture, it quickly spread to the United States and was sought after by many people at the bottom. If you say that hip-hop at the beginning is just a way of street entertainment and active party atmosphere. Then the appearance of the combination of the shining master and the violent five proved that hip-hop can be very deep. It is not just the music at the party, it can have a more profound meaning, they provide the possibility of treating rap as art.

They released "The Message", the first complete work presented through hip-hop, full of soul. Expose the living conditions of the bottom society in urban slums, express anger, pain, and helplessness.

Since then, old school rap that exposes social issues such as racial discrimination and the gap between the rich and the poor has become popular.

In the 1970s, American hip-hop focused on overcoming difficulties, poverty, and violence, while the 1980s became the golden age of hip-hop. Hip-hop gradually became commercialized, mostly in the form of works, and hip-hop singers became superstars. Rappers such as Run-DMC, Russell Simmons and LL Cool J were born.

Gangster Rap

In the 1980s, there were as many as 600 gang organizations in Los Angeles alone, with more than 70,000 gang members, and street violence prevailed. Drugs are rampant, and many people have begun to sell drugs. In this context, gangster rap came into being.

In 1986, hip-hop singer Ice-T released the single "6 in the Morning", which became the first gang rap music on the West Coast. The inspiration for writing this song came from Philadelphia singer Sculli "Slayer Killer", Scully is strictly the ancestor of gangster rap, but unfortunately the gangster attribute of the work is not pure enough. In the same year, the famous rap group N.W.A appeared. Eazy-E founded Ruthless Records. He and Dr. Dre and others co-founded the rap group N.W.A (Niggas With Attitudes).

The members of the N.W.A all come from the bottom of society, and unfair social treatment is their commonplace. Their works are full of anger, the songs become a weapon of resistance, and the long-depressed mood is released.

N.W.A subsequently released the epoch-making album "Straight Outta Compton", which gave rise to the rapid rise of West Coast rap, which was dominated by Gangsta Rap.

"You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge"

——N.W.A Straight Outta Compton

However, N.W.A's good times did not last long. Three years later, in 1989, Ice Cube was dissatisfied with Eazy-E's manager Jerry. He chose to leave because he did not get a fair and reasonable payment. In 1991, Dr. Dre also left Ruthless for the same reason, and formed the Death Row label with Suge Knight, The D.O.C and others (and later signed 2Pac). The N.W.A group disbanded in 1991. During this period, the solo members released a lot of songs and dissed each other.

At this time, rap has a sufficient scale, supported by record companies, singing by singers, and endorsements of mature works. However, there was a thorny problem at the time: rap music was still not popular with the public, and even rap Have great hostility. Then in 1992, the Los Angeles riots caused a dramatic change in the status of Hip-hop.

The incident dates back to 1991. A video of police beating a black man Rodney, was widely circulated. Four police officers involved were prosecuted by the district court. The truth is that Rodney, who had just been released from prison on parole, was drunk that day. He refused to be arrested for drunk driving and then provoked the police. The police uniformed Rodney but was photographed and interpreted as police violence because of racial discrimination. 

A year later, the judge tried the case, and a white jury acquitted four policemen. This result aroused public outrage in the black community, which later turned into a racial riot.

On April 29, 1994, a large-scale riot broke out in Los Angeles, and the black group demonstrations turned into crowds, smashing, and looting. The riots lasted for six days, and finally the US government had to use troops to suppress it. Los Angeles suffered heavy losses after this incident. The root of the Los Angeles Riot was the long-term racial conflict, coupled with the economic recession, and the growing upset and dissatisfaction of the masses.

At this time, Dr. Dre released his first album "The Chronic", this album subverted people’s previous understanding of rap, and adopted the relaxed style of G-Funk. Music healed the wounds in Los Angeles. This is a melody rap, expressing oneself in a relaxed way, both rhythmic and critical, this album is very popular among the public. At this point, rap has officially become the mainstream culture.

The East Coast-West Coast Rivalry

Hip-hop culture originated from the east coast, but the east coast rap has been in a tepid state, while the west coast has been better developed.

West Coast rap talents are plentiful. In 1995, 2Pac joined Death Row Records (Dre is one of the founders), and collaborated with Dr. Dre on a single "California Love". 2Pac gradually entered the public eye.

In 1996, 2Pac released the solo album "All Eyez on Me", which was the first double CD album and the best-selling hip-hop album in history. 2Pac loves to fight against injustices, he is the kind of person who would shoot a gun at the police when he saw the police beating a black man on the street. His lyrics are poetic, and the content revolves around social issues such as racial discrimination, exposing the dark reality and conveying his ideals and wishes.

The West Coast dominated the mainstream rap market in the early 1990s, and it was also the peak of West Coast rap. After experiencing the dispute between the east and west coasts, it gradually went downhill.

When it comes to the dispute between the east and west coasts, one must start with the revival of the east coast.

In 1993, Wu-Tang Clan, a rap group from New York (Wudang faction, their group was inspired by the Hong Kong martial arts film "Shaolin and Wudang") released their first album "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) "(36 chambers comes from Liu Jialiang’s famous work "The Thirty-Six Chambers of Shaolin" in 1978), which brings people's attention to the East Coast.

In 1994, East Coast rapper Nas released his first album "Illmatic", which was well received by the audience, and East Coast rap began to revive.

In 1994, The Notorious B.I.G, a singer under Bad Boy Records, released the very high-quality first solo album "Ready to Die", completely announcing the revival of East Coast rap.

Since then, B.I.G has been defaulted to represent the core figure of East Coast rap, against 2Pac, the core figure of West Coast rap. In fact, the two of them are very good friends in private. It is not so much the battle between B.I.G and 2Pac, as it is the battle between the record companies behind them. In this battle, B.I.G and 2Pac are both victims. They are both benchmark figures elected by their respective organizations, but people didn't expect that this would eventually evolve into the biggest tragedy in the rap circle.

The rap battle between the East Coast and the West Coast began in the early 1990s and intensified during 1994-1997.

In 1994, 2Pac was shot, and public opinion thought it was B.I.G and others who instigated it, and the relationship between the two began to deteriorate. Since then, the contradiction between the two has intensified, and then it has risen to the contradiction between the two coasts, which shows the great influence of the rap field at that time.

The fighting continued until 1996, when 2Pac was suddenly shot to death in Las Vegas. With the gunshots falling, it seemed that everything came to an abrupt end and the genius fell. He was only 25 years old.

Later people argued that this was the biggest loss in the entire rap field, and now we can still hear words of tribute to 2Pac.

Then in 1997, B.I.G was shot to death, and the dispute between the east and west coasts ended with the death of two rap legends. After the end of the dispute between the east and west coasts, the east and west coasts gradually returned to calm.

A new generation of outstanding rappers began to emerge, including jay-z, Eminem, etc. With the emergence of a large number of outstanding rappers and continue to dominate the American music charts, hip-hop has become an indispensable part of the American music market and is spreading globally.

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HIP HOP CULTURE: FROM THE STREETS TO THE MAINSTREAM (PART III)