Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Genre research project 28/1359: East Coast Hip Hop

Wu-Tang Clan - "C.R.E.A.M." (Enter Wu-Tang)

In contrast to the simplistic rhyme pattern and scheme utilized in old school hip hop, East Coast hip hop has been noted for its emphasis on lyrical dexterity. It has also been characterized by multi-syllabic rhymes, complex wordplay, a continuous free-flowing delivery and intricate metaphors. While East Coast hip hop does not have a uniform sound or standard style, it tends to gravitate to aggressive beats and sample collages.

East coast hip hop is occasionally referred to as New York rap due to its origins and development at block parties thrown in New York City during the 1970s. According to Allmusic, "At the dawn of the hip-hop era, all rap was East Coast rap." As the genre developed, lyrical themes evolved through the work of East Coast artists such as the Native Tongues, a collective of hip hop artists associated with generally positive, Afrocentric themes, and assembled by Afrika Bambaataa.

Nas's 1994 debut album Illmatic has also been noted as a creative high point of the East Coast hip hop scene, and featured production from such renowned New York-based producers as Large Professor, Pete Rock and DJ Premier. Meanwhile, The Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep became pillars in New York's hardcore hip hop scene, achieving widespread critical acclaim for their landmark albums, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993) and The Infamous (1995) and spawning legions of imitators. Adam Hemleich comments on the collective impact of these emerging artists: "Along with Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and Mobb Deep all but invented 90s New York rap [...] Those three...designed the manner and style in which New York artists would address...rap’s hottest topics: drugs and violence."


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