I hope most of you caught The Cypher on BET's 2011 Hip Hop Awards that featured newcomers like Machine Gun Kelly and Lecrae, but what stood out most for me were the Hip Hop artists from the West Coast getting major shine. Specifically, Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy and Crooked I. For those that don't know, Crooked I is a well known underground artist that is a vet on the West Coast Hip Hop scene, and quite possibly one of the most underrated MCs west of the Mississippi. Kendrick Lamar has been deemed the Leader of The New School by West Coast greats Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, while collaborating with a plethora of artists from J. Cole to to Jay Rock all while toting Compton on his back.
There are even more MCs that are making a name for themselves in the Hip Hop world that were not featured in the Cypher, but have been steadily building momentum, including Jay Rock from Watts, CA and Problem from Compton. I could mention new artists like Tyler the Creator, who hails from Los Angeles, Lil B and Kreayshawn from Oakland, but I'd rather focus on artists like Jay Rock, Problem, and Dom Kennedy as these artists deserve more shine and attention.
Lets be honest, the West Coast Hip Hop scene hasn't been the same since Death Row was extinguished years ago. Nowadays it seems the vets like Snoop Dogg, E-40 and Ice Cube run the game and local DJs don't give much play to West Coast artists, unless you're YG (ie. Toot It and Boot It). With that being said, I want to highlight a few solo acts that are making a name for themselves straight from the underground to your speakers.
An Introduction To West Coast Hip Hop's Up And Comers:
From: Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA
Dom Kennedy was featured on BET's 2011 Cypher alongside Lady of Rage and Blind Fury. While some critics say his "so-called" freestyle didn't cut the mustard, his name is steadily coming out of the mouths of Hip Hop enthusiasts and critics alike. He is associated with Pacific Division AKA PacDiv, whom have been featured on MTV2 and tour the country performing and making appearances. Kennedy has a strong mixtape following and is making waves, all with no major deal. Kudos to him! Here is a formal introduction, Kennedy's video Grind'n from the From The Westside With Love II mixtape:
From: Compton, CA
Problem is probably one of the most underrated rappers in the West, mainly because you've probably heard his music before, and danced to it in the club, but didn't know who he was. He is known for club bangers like I'm Toe Up, Potion, Double Dip and I'm Burnt (a collaboration with Snoop Dogg and Kurupt). And it doesn't stop there. Problem is none for writing for various other artists and has worked with the likes of E-40, Too Short and DJ Quik. His most recent body of work is featured on his mixtape Hotels that was released earlier this year. Check out his video for Know What It Is"
From: Watts, CA
Possibly best known for his recent collaboration with Kendrick Lamar on Hood Gone Love It, Jay Rock was named one of the top 13 most street artists by XXL and has worked with industry heavyweights Lil' Wayne and Will.I.Am. His debut album Follow Me Home was released in the Summer of 2011 under Strange Music. Check out his video for Hood Gone Love It:
I'm very excited about what these artists can possibly contribute to the West Coast Hip Hop legacy now and in the future. Keep your eye out for artists like these and the West Coast will be back in no time. WEST UP! lol
TIME TO WEIGH IN:
Have you heard of these artists from the West Coast?
Who stands out the most?
Do you think the West Coast can revive its Hip Hop scene on a major scale?
Are you a fan of West Coast music?