Hip Hop Music: East Coast, West Coast, Dirty South, and Midwest Rap Essay

Hip Hop Music: East Coast, West Coast, Dirty South, and Midwest Rap Essay

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The beauty of hip hop is that it is malleable. It is not defined by strict boundaries but by multiple characteristics. Young artist J. Cole (2013) explains this best by stating in an interview, “I think there’s no rules [in rap]. You can say what you want. That’s your poetic license: to test people’s boundaries.” (p.1) The results of such malleability and the need to experiment within the unwritten boundaries of hip hop are the birth of different styles and sectors/scenes in America. These sectors are represented by the geographic location of the artists and the distinctive sounds and styles that the artists utilize. For years the genre of hip hop was found primarily in the United States in these particular scenes. In the past few years, however, Toronto has been making waves and slowly making a name for itself in the rap game due to the native artists gaining popularity and critical acclaim across the globe. As a result, it had come to question whether the Canadian city can be defined as its scene due to styles the artists from the city are using or whether or not the artists are simply mocking styles from other distinct hip hop scenes in America.
When the genre of hip hop music was starting to emerge to mainstream America it was not classified into distinctive groups based on the type of rapping. Instead, artists were labeled based on the geographic location they were hailing from. Until the mid-1980’s, the majority of the rappers were hailing from the Big Apple. However with the introduction of new artists such as Ice-T and N.W.A., California would offer competition for the East Coast dominated genre. In the coming years, talented artists would emerge from all corners of the country. As a result, four distinctive scenes can b...


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One, D. (2001, December 1). The Geography Of Hip Hop. VICE. Web. 12 May 2015.
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