The Notorious BIG
Wu Tang Clan
Immortal Technique (2000's)
A Tribe Called Quest
Bone Thugs and Harmony (Really from Ohio, but were on Ruthless records and had that west coast G-funk sound)
Above The Law
Brotha Lynch Hung
Lil 1/2 Dead
(dont know many from the south, recommendations appreciated)
Most Helpful Guy
east coast definitely, especially the golden age of hip hop (1986-1996).
run-dmc, ll cool j and schooly d were the first wave of rappers who turned hip hop from the party style of the era (1983-85) to a more modern style. in 1986 rakim and krs-one completely buried the old style for good with their first singles, after that came a huge influx of talented rappers/groups. from 1987 to 1995 the greatest hip hop albums dropped, most of them coming from the east coast. the rappers/groups during this era (big daddy kane, kool g rap, public enemy, lord finesse, big l, notorious b.i.g., a tribe called quest, gangstarr, nas, mobb deep, wu tang clan) influenced pretty much everybody and paved the way for the newer rappers (most of whom haven't distinguished themselves at all).
out west ice-t set the stage with his 6n tha morning single in 1986, from that sprang a whole industry (gangsta rap) culminating with n.w.a. and then snoop dogg/2pac. ironically most of the earlier west coast records sounded pretty east coastish (except n.w.a. to a degree and too short). the west coast to me was much better before dr. dre released 'the chronic', g-funk ruined the west coast sound imo. fortunately there's always been a healthy underground scene out west that remembers it's roots (planet asia, hieroglyphics) and releases good records to this day.
all I know about the south is the geto boys (awesome with the willie d/bushwick bill/scarface lineup) and 2 live crew. most of what I hear out of the south is unappealing to me.
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