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 East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry

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PostSubject: East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry   Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:29 am

The East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry was an on-going dispute in the early-mid 1990s between artists and fans of the East Coast and West Coast hip-hop scenes. Seeming focal points of the feud were West Coast-based rapper 2Pac (and his label, Death Row Records), and East Coast-based rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (and his label, Bad Boy Records).

Background

During the late 1970s, Hip-hop emerged in the streets of New York City, which would remain the forefront of the genre throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. As the 1980s drew to a close, however, several west coast based acts such as Ice-T, MC Hammer, N.W.A and The D.O.C. began garnering attention. The origins of the conflict were arguably initiated in 1991 when East Coast based rapper Tim Dog released “Fuck Compton,” a scathing diss track aimed at N.W.A. and other Compton artists including Compton's Most Wanted and DJ Quik. N.W.A. never officially responded due to their pending break up, but upcoming West Coast artist Snoop Doggy Dogg would respond on the Dr. Dre track “Fuck Wit Dre Day.”

In late 1992, rapper/producer Dr. Dre’s solo debut album, The Chronic, was released on the fledgling Death Row Records. Into the new year, the album went triple platinum. In late 1993, Death Row Records released Doggystyle, the debut album by Dr. Dre protégé and Long Beach-based Snoop Dogg, which also became a multi-platinum opus.

By early 1994, the quick success of Death Row Records (headed by Suge Knight and Dr. Dre) had effectively put a large media spotlight on Los Angeles and the west-coast hip-hop scene. New York and the east-coast hip-hop scene—by comparison—seemed at a commercial impasse, which created resentment amongst artists and fans.

The Rivalry

Suge Knight vs. Puff Daddy
“ "Any artists out there who wants to be an artist and stay a star, and don't wanna have to worry about the executive producer trying to be…all in the videos, all on the records, dancing…come to Death Row!" — Suge Knight at The 1995 Source Awards

In 1993, fledgling A&R executive and record producer Sean “Puffy” Combs founded the New York-centered hip-hop label, Bad Boy Records. The next year, the label’s debut releases by Brooklyn-based rapper Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace (also referred to as ‘Biggie Smalls’) and Long Island-based rapper Craig Mack became immediate critical and commercial successes, and seemed to revitalize the East Coast hip-hop scene by 1995. Death Row Records wasn’t content with their iron grip on the commercial hip-hop scene now being challenged by the emergence of Bad Boy. Oakland-based rapper Tupac “2Pac” Shakur, meanwhile, forged a rivalry with Biggie, publicly accusing him and Combs of having facilitated his being robbed and shot five times in the lobby of a New York recording studio on November 30, 1994. Shortly after 2Pac’s shooting, “Who Shot Ya?,” a B-side track from the BIG’s “Big Poppa” single was released. Although Combs and Wallace emphatically denied having anything to do with the shooting and insisted that “Who Shot Ya?” had been recorded before his shooting, 2Pac interpreted it as BIG’s way of taunting him, and claimed it proved that Bad Boy had set him up.

In August 1995, Death Row CEO Suge Knight took a shot at Bad Boy CEO Sean “Puffy” Combs at that year's Source Awards, announcing to the assembly of artists and industry figures, “Any artist out there that want to be an artist and stay a star, and don’t have to worry about the executive producer trying to be all in the videos…all on the records…dancing, come to Death Row”—a direct reference to Combs’ tendency of ad-libbing on his artists’ songs and dancing in their videos. With the ceremony being held in New York, to the audience, Knight’s comments seemed a slight to the entire East Coast hip-hop scene, and resulted in many boos from the crowd. Combs attempted to defuse the growing hostility in the air with a speech denouncing the rivalry, to little avail. Later that evening, a performance by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg was jeered by New Yorkers in attendance, to which Snoop famously responded, “The East Coast ain’t got no love for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg and Death Row?!”

Tensions were escalated when Knight later attended a party for producer Jermaine Dupri in Atlanta. During the bash, a close friend of Suge’s was fatally shot outside. Knight accused Combs—who was also in attendance—of having something to do with the shooting. The same year, Knight posted the $1.4 million bail of the then-incarcerated 2Pac, in exchange for his signing with Death Row Records. Shortly after the rapper’s release in October 1995, he proceeded to join Knight in furthering Death Row's feud with Bad Boy Records.

In 1996, the Death Row act Tha Dogg Pound released a music video for their single “New York, New York” in which they are seen knocking over New York skyscrapers and landmarks, a gesture to which many East Coast artists and music fans took offense. This led to suspicion that the song itself was targeted at Bad Boy Records and New York in general. Queens, New York-based artists Tragedy Khadafi, Capone-N-Noreaga and Mobb Deep responded with the release of “L.A., L.A.” aimed at Tha Dogg Pound. In the music video, members of Tha Dogg Pound are kidnapped and thrown off the Queensboro Bridge.


[edit] 2Pac vs. The Notorious B.I.G.
“ Who shot me? But you punks didn’t finish, Now you're 'bout to feel the wrath of a menace… Nigga, I hit 'em up. ”
—2Pac, "Hit 'Em Up"


From late 1995 into early 1996, 2Pac would appear on numerous tracks aiming threatening and/or antagonistic slants at the Notorious B.I.G., Bad Boy as a label, and anyone affiliated with them. During this time, although B.I.G. never directly responded, the media became heavily involved and dubbed the rivalry a coastal rap war, reporting on it continuously. This caused fans from both scenes to take sides with one set of artists or another.

In spring 1996, the music video for 2Pac’s song, "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" began with a lampooning of Biggie and Combs, in which 2Pac and his guards pull pistols from their jackets ready to shoot them as the song intro begins. That summer, 2Pac continued his antagonism toward Biggie with the infamous track "Hit 'Em Up", in which he claimed to have had sex with B.I.G.’s wife, singer Faith Evans, and proceeded to threaten the lives of both Puffy and him. The song’s harsh content was viewed by detractors as Shakur having gone too far and taking the feud to another level.


[edit] 2Pac vs. others
In addition to Biggie, “Hit ‘Em Up” Pac also insulted Mobb Deep and New Jersey-based rapper Chino XL, who joked that 2Pac had been raped in jail on his song “Riiiot!” 2Pac only responded with the line “Chino XL, fuck you too,” saying it would be his only diss, because he felt Chino XL was trying to gain fame by insulting him.

During his incarceration, members of 2Pac’s group Outlawz allegedly attended a Mobb Deep concert. They then visited 2Pac, maintaining that the duo had snubbed them at the concert. Through his associates, 2Pac sent out a message to Mobb Deep, threatening violence.[citation needed] In “Hit ‘Em Up,” 2Pac made reference to Mobb Deep member Prodigy’s struggle with sickle cell anemia. Mobb Deep responded with the track, “Drop A Gem On ‘Em.”

2Pac would later go on to insult various others, including Chicago-based rapper, Da Brat, her label So So Def Recordings, and New Jersey-based group The Fugees. During this time, 2Pac met Nas and purportedly told him he didn’t have to be involved in the situation—however, a Nas radio freestyle seemingly slighting 2Pac and several direct Nas slights from Shakur to Nas would both eventually turn up. On the introduction to Shakur’s final studio album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, he would bill Nas as the leader of a conspiracy against him, which included several of the artists he was having contentions with.

Though 2Pac, his group The Outlawz, Snoop Dogg, and Tha Dogg Pound had all been involved in the discord, several Death Row artists refused to follow suit. Lady of Rage stated in an AllHipHop.com interview that 2Pac called her “the weak link on Death Row”[1] for not insulting Bad Boy. Death Row co-founder Dr. Dre also snubbed the bad blood, and collaborated with Nas shortly thereafter. Snoop Dogg purports that he and 2Pac weren’t speaking during his final days, because Snoop stated in an interview that he liked listening to Biggie’s music.

Rapper Jay-Z would also become embroiled in the rivalry when, in an appearance on Jay’s debut album Reasonable Doubt, Biggie recited the line: “If Faith have twins she’d probably have two Pacs, get it, 2… pacs…” in reference to the allegations that she had cheated on him with the rapper, though it’s unclear if he was insulting her or 2Pac himself. Shakur took it as an affront and, since it was on Jay-Z’s song, went on to insult him as well. 2Pac originally called out Jay-Z during the outro of “Hit Em Up,” but later was convinced by Outlaw member, Hussein Fatal, that Jay was not part of the rivalry, and ultimately edited that part out. However, later in 1996, Pac would persist in slandering Jay-Z on the songs “Friends” and “Bomb First.” Posthumous material released underground following 2Pac’s death revealed that he had also slighted LL Cool J.

Interestingly, East Coast rapper Tim Dog, who recorded his infamous single "Fuck Compton" in 1991 which was best known to have "sparked" the hip-hop feuds, gave a shout out to 2Pac on his second album Do Or Die for assisting him in a potentially violent situation while touring Los Angeles. This has appeared ironic since 2Pac's death, though Tim Dog has mentioned in interviews that he didn't think "Fuck Compton" would "blow up the way it did" and that it was only recorded for the purpose of venting out his anger towards record companies only wanting to sign West Coast rappers.


[edit] End of the Feud
In March 1996, during the Soul Train Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, there was a confrontation in the parking lot between the respective entourages of Bad Boy and Death Row in which guns were drawn. Although an armed standoff was all it amounted to, it was becoming readily apparent to hip hop fans and artists that the situation was progressing into a serious issue. Local papers referred to the situation as, “the hip hop version of the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Not long after, at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York, Nas and 2Pac also confronted each other outside the venue. Though accounts from Suge, The Outlawz, Snoop Dogg and Nas himself somewhat vary, most agreed that 2Pac said he would remove the insults to Nas from his next album, if Nas would in return refrain from insulting him. Their previous verbal abuse was, as found in the meeting, based on publicity. The media’s sensationalizing of the East vs. West Coast rivalry, meanwhile, fueled record sales. Although Nas kept his end of the bargain, 2Pac was killed before he was able to do the same.

On September 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur was shot 4 times in Las Vegas, dying 6 days later from respiratory failure and cardiac arrest on Friday, September 13. Six months later, on March 9, 1997, Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in Los Angeles, ironically mirroring Tupac's murder. Both murders remain unsolved today, while numerous theories (some of them conspiracy theories) about their deaths have been pondered.

Following the Rivalry

The outcome of the feud (significantly due to the deaths of Shakur and Wallace) would shake the culture of hip hop, changing the way rap rivalries were both handled by artists, viewed by fans, and reported on by the media. In 1997, several rappers, including: Bizzy Bone, Doug E. Fresh and Snoop Dogg met at the request of Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, and pledged to forgive any slights that may be related to the rivalry and/or deaths of Shakur and Wallace.

Following the death of 2Pac, most of Death Row Records prominent artists departed the label. Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, sued the label for allegedly cheating her son out of millions. Suge Knight, meanwhile, was incarcerated for unrelated probation violations. This bad turn for Death Row Records led, in turn, to a long lull in the mainstream popularity of West Coast rap, leading some fans to believe that West Coast hip hop was being blacklisted. Since his 2001 release from prison, attempts by Suge Knight to revitalize his label have been largely futile.

Though Bad Boy Records hasn’t suffered a collapse as steep as that of Death Row’s, it too has seen its fortunes decline. Rapper Mase achieved a good deal of success on the label before his early retirement in 1999. In the late 1990s, Bad Boy label head, Sean Combs (who now calls himself “Diddy”) began recording solo albums and earned considerable commercial success as a recording artist, but saw his sales dwindle with each subsequent effort. More recently, however, Bad Boy has struggled to remain commercially competitive, due to a lack of marketable talent and allegations that Combs is now more concerned with his other ventures (e.g., his Sean John clothing line.)

At the MTV Music Video Awards, in September 1999, Voletta Wallace (mother of "The Notorious B.I.G.") and Afeni Shakur (mother of 2pac) publicly met on stage when Will Smith called them out. Afeni reached out to Voletta and made peace with her quickly, despite the embittered rivalry between their sons. Voletta also offered to help Afeni investigate Tupac's death. Even so, Afeni and her attorney noted that they wouldn't accept federal investigations. It should be noted that when Tupac was murdered, Afeni and her attorney didn't ever accuse Biggie of having set up Tupac.

While rivalries in hip-hop continue to exist, since the murders of Shakur and Wallace, there has not been a rivalry of such magnitude. This may be due largely to the fact that, seeing the outcome of this episode (though no physically sustainable connection has been made linking the actual homicides of these two slain rappers to their rivalry), artists and prominent industry figures have been mindful of tempering battles and commercializing contention, in a direct attempt to prevent them from reaching this level.

THere are more infos to be put,but nt possible now;)l8rzz

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