Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How the West was won... again.

In the beginning of West Coast hip-hop music, you had the thuggish sounds of N.W.A., Snoop Dogg, and Death Row. But there was always the conscious side of the West Coast, like Del the Funky Homosapien, Pharcyde, and Wordsmith. With the West booming with plenty artists like Blu, Pac Div, and New Boyz (who isn’t trying to jerk in the club?), people must wonder if there is a new movement coming out of Cali.

It’s no secret that the West always brings some new flavor to hip-hop. Way back when -- even though breaking did start in New York -- b-boys from California brought popping and locking into mainstream culture. While rapping about partying and conditions in the ghetto on the East, the West took it to another level with its tough street demeanor, and yet still kept it conscious. Now the whole auto-tune movement is calming down (hopefully), and while rappers continue to spit about being vicious on the mic and overcoming adversity, the West takes rap to another level yet again, just living and getting by.

Over the past five years, there has been a slow build-up of artists coming out of the Bay Area and L.A. bringing a cool but conscious style of hip hop music, and top hip-hop blogs like Okayplayer, illRoots, and 2dopeboyz are feeling. They don’t necessarily sound like a Death Row movement, although they contain an edginess that disturbs the conservative type. Nor do they come totally conscious like the Pharcyde, although they do bring lines that make you think.

Basically, they are in a style of their own. The production, led by Trackademicks, is phenomenal. It is very electronic, reminiscent of the 80s hip hop scene, as well as soulful. One group out of the West that, in my opinion, owns this style is J*DaVey. Vocalist Miss Jack Davey is Erykah Badu with a mohawk; her voice smothers a beat about as much as the CD it lays in. Producer Brook D’Leaurean provides smooth, fast, and electrical tunes all at once.

A few mixes to enjoy include:

L.A.U.S.D. – Various Artists
U-N-I – A Love Supreme
Trackademicks – The (re)mixtape Vol. 2

Photo Credit:
Pac Div's MySpace

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