Game is having a show in town next week, and e-40 is having a kick ass New Years' party at the Key Club, but I probably will go to neither because in truth, I don't dig live hip hop. Maybe Too $hort, but that is because he brings a band.
By the way, what y'all ninjaz know bout that Suga Free?
I been thinking since it is the 20th Anniversary of the Chronic coming out, and a lot of folks is chatting about 90s rap, my Top Four High-Impact 1990s West Coast Rap Albums
(1) The Chronic/Doggiestyle- I put these together because essentially, they are a singular album of all the exact same artists and beats. These albums also singularly changed pop music, introducing both (1) gangsta and (2) that West Coast backyard boogie to the entire country. Yeah, there was gangsta rap before, but it was mostly intimidating to a foreign audience. NWA is one of the funnest groups in rap history, if you really know what a gwan and hang out with low-lives in Compton. The casual listener might not get that noir
kind of humor. There wasn't a motherfucker in America that didn't understand the fun of a track like Gin And Juice even though that shit was also straight low-life gangsta.
(2) Warren G Regulate..G Funk Era- 213 was already on the map because of the Chronic but Warren G brought an even fresher sound. This was more accessible with a Mo-Town feel, but that is that G-funk which is ubiquitously backyard house party Long Beach/South Bay. Who else could win a Grammy for a Gangsta track like Regulators? Sampling Young Guns? That is almost a cross-over track!
(3) Too $hort Cocktails- Riding that WestCoast wave, Too $hort more properly introduced America to its future, pimp rap. How could there have ever been a No Limit era if Too $hort hadn't made rap about misogyny somehow romantic? A lot of what is today popular and mainstream rap music is heavily influenced by the swagger of Too $hort. Even better, that brother has always insisted on performing and recording with a live band, predating groups like the Roots. Black music practically invented American music, and it was a shame that after the rap explosion suddenly instrumental black music was in decline.
(4) DJ Quik Rhythm-al-ism - This is one of the last great WestCoast albums from the 1990s which came out in 1998. It solidified to perfection everything that was the WestCoast particularly LA vibe. It was party, it was intelligent, it had great beats. It brought gangsta rap OUT of the gangsta era and put it into Hip Hop purely. In that regard, rap could become something bigger than low-life music, and the subjects of rap music could get out of the streets and into the club. Sort of like the Nirvana of rap. Nirvana had a harsh punk edge but rarely delved into political substance in an era where it was either hair bands or hardcore. Suddenly Alternative was born, edgy distorted and heavy music that was about nothing in particular. I think dj Quik helped to do what Dr Dre had initially envisioned before DeathRow blew up, the idea that rap music could be bigger than gangsta shit. Like Sam L said in Pulp Fiction, "Bonny can't come home and find a bunch of gangsters in her house doing a bunch of gangster shit." Most Americans aren't cool with gangs, so when rap music got out of the gang world, it made it modern, accessible, mainstream.