While gangsta rap is usually referred to as the “rap” music that’s made today, most rap fans know it as being made by a small group that emerged in LA in the late 70s and early 80s. Their musical influences included the likes of LL Cool J, Dr. Dre, and Rakim, as well as the likes of MC Hammer, Daz, MC Ren and others. The members were constantly changing and evolving, but there was a focus on rhyme and structure to this music, and the sound never really got more advanced than “r&b style.” The term “gangsta rap” simply refers to these rappers that were inspired by the sound of early New York City music of the era, and were inspired by the street culture that was there.
How did gangsta rap influence hip-hop?
Gangsta rappers took hip-hop’s most violent imagery and used it to entertain their listeners. Most gangsta rappers were artists, and were able to leverage the violence in their music to bring in a younger audience. Hip-hop began to expand with all these music artists, and also became popular with women, who in turn became a larger part of who music listeners were hearing. It wasn’t just hip-hop that had to evolve, however; the music’s music, lyrics as well as its imagery had to evolve. For instance, the music was now able to do more than simply represent violence, it had to look and sound like it represented violence. The music had to appeal to a new generation of listeners. As a result, a gangsta rap scene was born that has continued to evolve to this day.
What were the other main rappers in the scene?
Ralph “Dzemu” Evans started the scene. Born in 1971, Dzemu was already a notable member, and was instrumental in bringing in the “new, interesting, gangsta-esque music and imagery that was popular at that time.” He also played some rapping as well. Dzemu was the first member of a group called the Newz, who were influenced by other members of the Newz rap group that were also part of the group. A member of the Newz rap group was Dr. Dre, and it seems that they may have been a major influence on gangsta rap. The other gangsta rap rappers were Eazy E, Ice Cube, Ice Cube & Dr. Dre, The Notorious B.I.G., and Wu-
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