West Coast Hip Hop

This article was written by Phineas Upham

There is a lot of debate as to where and how West coast hip hop got its start. The widely accepted version of its history basically states that West coasters adopted the East coast sound and made it their own. This version is based off of the idea that New Yorkers like Kool Herc pioneered “breaks” and that the elements of hip hop were established there. They say that New York not only gave a name to hip hop, they personified it.

Yet west coast artists were dabbling in similar musical styles at the same time as their New York brethren. This culture closely mirrored the East coast style, but it existed in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

How did this happen?

The most likely explanation is that artist from both coasts mingled with one another and spread a mutual love of music. While east coasters found their sound in block parties, west coasters were working through their issues in music. The most obvious example came fter the turmoil of the Watt’s riots in 1965, when the Watts Prophets formed out of a community writing group.

The west coast scene is well-known for some intriguing characters. Most famous is Dr. Dre, who discovered the likes of Eminem and dropped The Chronic to critical acclaim. Snoop-Dogg is another famous artist who would eventually become a pop-culture icon. NWA also came from this era, bringing their famous anthem F*** the Police with them.

While the origins of hip hop are debatable, there is a definite uniqueness to the sounds of both east and west coast hip hop that are worth appreciation.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his LinedIn page.