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We all know that hip-hop was created on the East Coast. But, the West Coast created and identified its own style of rap and popularized it in the 1980s. The West Coast continued to push hip-hop culture. Its roots are honored in style and music. N.W.A., Snoop Dogg, Ice-T, Too $Hort, E40, Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle, Tupac, and more have made large contributions to hip-hop in general as well as honoring their West Coast home cities.

Origins of West Coast Hip-Hop

Ice-T, who is originally from New Jersey, is one of the originators of West Coast rap. He moved to Los Angeles after his parents died before he was 14 years old. Before he got his big break, the rapper started as a DJ. Many of his songs were played in underground clubs. He released his debut album Rhyme Pays in 1987. The same year he signed to Sire Records.

In addition to hip-hop, he also co-founded the metal band Body Count. His songs he did not shy away from political topics in his music even if they caused controversy. In West Coast rap, especially during the time that Ice-T emerged in the music industry, police brutality was an everyday occurrence that affected the lives of Black people in minority communities in which many rappers were from. One of his songs was called “Cop Killer.” The song is by his metal band which was released in 1992. The record is on their self-titled album Body Count.

Before Ice-T’s song with Body Count, N.W.A. also touched upon the relationship between Black California residents.  One of their songs that caused a lot of backlash was “F— Da Police.” A biopic of the group, which consisted of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, DJ Yella, and MC Ren, titled Straight Outta Compton was released in 2015.

Another adoptee of the style, and arguably one of the best rappers in hip-hop history, is Tupac Shakur. While Tupac was born on the East Coast, his influence undoubtedly contributed to West Coast-style rap. Tupac also spoke a lot about the adversaries that Black people faced through his music just like in one of his hits “Changes.”

West Coast Sound Now

While those rappers touched upon topics that showcased what went on (and continues to go on in the present day) they also used their music to uplift and create a fun vibe for listeners. Songs such as “California Love,” by Tupac, “Drop It Like Its Hot,” by Snoop Dogg, and modern artists such as Tyga’s “Taste” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools.”

Take a look at some must-have items that symbolize West Coast style hip-hop below:

  • West Coast OG Shirt

    This t-shirt honors several West Coast rappers who have paved the way for how the sound is today. On the shirt there is Dr. Dre, E40, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, and more as some originators of the sound. Beside each of the rappers’ photos is their signature as well. The shirt comes in several color options and size ranges from S-3XL.

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  • West Coast Rap Coasters

    Your next dinner party will love these coasters. Each coaster represents a classic album in West Coast rap. Ice Cube’s Death Certificate, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, and N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton are all referenced on the coasters. All four album coasters are apart of the set.

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  • West Coast Hand Sign Iron-On Patch

    Represent the West Coast on your favorite jacket or jeans with this iron-on patch. The patch comes in three colors, beige, green, or brown. The patch measures at about 3.25″ x 2.40″.

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  • Nipsey Hussle Notepad

    You can write down your deepest thoughts (or your best rap lines) on this Nipsey Hussle notepad. The late rapper was known for uplifting his community and sharing his perspective of the world through music but also through his quotes. You can channel your inner Nipsey with this notepad that features a drawing of him as well as the marathon sign and the word “Hussle” etched in blue.

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  • Eazy-E Skateboard

    It doesn’t get more West Coast than riding a skateboard as the California sun kisses your skin. This Eazy-E skateboard is a rare find and features the hand-painted N.W.A. rapper on a white board. He is wearing his signature black square frame sunglasses and a black hat that spells out his home city of “Compton.”

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  • Death Row Records Pendant

    You can rep the iconic Death Row Records with this pendant. Death Row Records is a symbol of West Coast rap as it was founded by the D.O.C., Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, and Dick Griffey in 1991. It is now owned by Snoop Dogg. The pendant comes in bronze or silver and is 40X36mm in size.

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