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Behind the Scenes - WestCoast Hip Hop Edition - Part. 1

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

Over a couple of years my installation for Inktober has been a large collage style image that I would add to over the course of the month. The idea easily transitioned into the WestCoast edition. That explains the odd format of the image which just happens to match the Facebook cover photo template.

The background of the image is a collage of various west coast emcees, groups and producers to which a black and white image of an artist would be placed over. The edition just kind of fell together without too much planning, no planning on which artists would be include; I just know I wanted to start with a few pioneers and branch out from there.

  1. David "DJ Quik" Blake

I was introduced to DJ Quik initially from bootleg mixtapes, then got his Safe+Sound cassette in the mid 90's. The more I listened to Quik and read about him the more I got into his music. I really enjoyed his production, content and flow collecting his discography and eventually even being able to get my hands on a copy of "The Red Tape."

The more I got into it the more I realized how big of an influence on the West Coast Quik was, from the Red Tape in 87, the first 6 figure deal on Profile, reppin a set on wax to working with too many artists to mention here and for sure in my top ten for Producers.

2. Tracy "The D.O.C." Curry

Though not originally from the West Coast

this Dallas native played a huge part of shaping the West Coast. "No One Can Do It Better" has always been one of my favorite albums since having the cassette. This is one of those cases where you often wonder what could have been, but nothing would be the same otherwise. Even though his second album didn't review too well, I personally enjoyed "Heltah Skeltah", well that is until I learned that originally it was to be a Dre inspired collaboration between The D.O.C and Ice Cube...hmmm. The D.O.C. has a solid position in my Top 10 and is always brought up in a what if for GOAT talks. Its really hard to say how much of the WestCoast, or Hip Hop for that matter has his lyrics and influence sprinkled in.

3. The DPG (Kurupt and Daz Dillinger): Tha Dogg Pound

The Dr. Dre formed Duo has played a large part of the WestCoast imprint from early tracks with Dre and Snoop, MC Hammer, to being all over 2Pac's "All Eyez On Me" Album. Over the years, the duo has been involved in their share of beef siding with Dre/Snoop vs. Eazy, 2Pac vs East Coast, and for a period a pretty solid beef between the two of them. I was glad to see them reunited and through their record labels put out a ton of content for the WestCoast. I have always been a fan of Daz' production and I don't feel he gets the recognition that he deserves. Similarly with Kurupt, the lyricism and writing skills have its place all over Hip Hop and demands that he is at least mentioned in top lyricist conversations.

4. Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E.

Though everyone may not remember the exact moment that they heard the very specific style Boo Yaa has, but they sure do remember the first time they see Boo Yaa Tribe though. Though not positive I believe the first time I can pin point hearing Boo Yaa would be off the Judgement Night Soundtrack when they did the song with Faith No More. It was hard to come across very much of their music until getting one of their albums on my vacation in 1997 to California. It wasn't really until 2003's "West Koasta Nostra" that most people including myself got a really good look at the Devoux brothers when the deluxe edition of the album came with some documentary footage. They left a mark on not only Hip Hop and the WestCoast but metal, rock and punk as well. R.I.P. OG Godfather, Ganxsta Ridd.

5. Mixmaster Spade

Mixmaster Spade is a WestCoast Legend and credited as a pioneer of the WestCoast Mixtape scene. It wasn't for many years until I really started to see and hear more and more about Mixmaster Spade and thought for sure he should have a place to showcase his influence on the WestCoast Hip hop scene.

6. Tracy "Ice - T" Marrow

I remember the first Ice T album I got given to me...Power. I'm pretty sure everyone remembers that album. His signature sound and character played a huge part in not only WestCoast Hip Hop but rappers transitioning into film. "6 N Tha Morning" and "Colors" played an integral part of what would be come to be known as Gangsta Rap. The short lived beef with LL Cool J was entertaining but only spanned a couple of songs, and was overshadowed by LL's feud with Kool Moe Dee.

7. Aaron "MC Eiht" Tyler

I'm pretty sure my introduction to MC Eiht was from Menace II Society and the track "Streiht up Menace." From there it would be the beef with DJ Quik that would get me diving into the discography and CMW. Eiht has a solid discography of 12+ albums and has always been visible from Movies, to Video games to countless cameos. Regardless of chart position MC Eiht plays an important role for WestCoast Hip Hop.

8. Crooked I

Crooked has a great story, a rough start but a great story. Crooked was always right there, Luniz, DPG, Aftermath, Deathrow, but it wasn't until the Hip Hop Weekly that Crooked blew up. Every Friday Crooked would drop a brand new song and ran with it for a year. From that to mixtapes and finally...Slaughterhouse.

I added him because he showed not only the WestCoast but Hip Hop how one can utilize the internet to create a buzz, a fanbase and all the way to a Supergroup.

9. Mac Dre

Mac Dre was an important emcee to not only the WestCoast but did a lot for 'The Bay." In addition to his local Record Label Mac is credited with pioneering the 'hyphy' movement. Mac Has a rather large discography and is definitely worth checking out. Mac Dre died in October, 2004 in a shooting.

10. Kid Frost

Frost plays a huge part of Hip Hop in the WestCoast, not only for the scene itself but for the Latin representation within the scene. From his early starts with Dr. Dre and Yella, breakdancing through 'La Raza", signing with Ruthless Records, Latin supergroups to beefing with Ice-T, there is not much Frost didn't do. His discography is full of gems and amazing features from many WestCoast Vets.

WestCoast Hip Hop Edition - Part 2 Coming Soon

Who's your favorite so far? Any stories involving these people? Favorite tracks?

Let me know below.


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