The genesis of gangsta rap emerged during the late 1970s in Southern California. It was the era of West Coast rap, a genre heavily influenced by the funk of soul, jazz, funk and R&B.
It was a period when West Coast hip-hop was gaining popularity at Los Angeles clubs. The early rappers included Kool Herc, Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dogg.
Later, in the early 1980s, rappers like L.A. Reid, Biz Markie, DJ Premier and Bad Boy signed to the labels RCA, Universal and Motown.
That is when gangsta rap took off. By about 1988 rap became more popular in Los Angeles and spread to other states.
Who really started the gangsta rap movement?
“I don’t believe that a particular gangster or man in particular created the idea of gangsta rap,” David Foster wrote in his book “The Gangsta Rap: The Art of Non-Narcotic Rap.”
It started with a few rappers and a video. In the late 1970s the West Coaster rappers of the L.A. club scene — Eazy-E, DJ Jazzy Jeff and MC Ren (also known as MC Ren and DJ Nasty) — had a song called “Gangsta” that went viral. The song’s title refers to the “gangs” in a Southern California neighborhood. The lyrics are about drug use, violence and gang affiliation.
That is when gangsta rap got started.
There were several other rappers who contributed to the movement. There was Dr. Dre, the producer and founder of Dre’s rap label.
Snoop Dogg got the idea of trying gangsta rap a few years earlier in 1978. In 1977, he and two friends recorded “Gangsta” in his L.A. studio.
“We took our time with it,” Snoop said in 1994. “We started with two tracks, put the music together, and then put a beat under us and wrote the lyrics.”
After being released, the song has become a landmark in gangsta rap, becoming a huge hit during the mid-80s. The song became the blueprint for a genre that would take shape over the next several years.
In Los Angeles, gangsta rap took on many different names during these years, even as the music continued to evolve. At one time the term was “hood
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