All About Gangsta Rap

All About Gangsta Rap

All About Gangsta Rap

The Origins Of Gangsta Rap By: Maya Joseph-Lacet, Keely Ongos-Cole and Isis Evans

What Is Gangsta Rap?

Gangster Rap is defined as the authentic storytelling of a troubled black youth who grows up in a predominately poor black society. It is known for its hard hitting beats and violent lyrics that discussed murder and drugs.

The Origins of Gangsta Rap.

Gangsta Rap originated from the 1980s on the West Coast with Ice T’s single, “Cold Winter Madness.” This song was banned from radio airplay due to the explicit and crime relating lyrics that simply told Ice T’s childhood.

During the 1980s, the crack epidemic was not only huge in white societies but big in the African American communities. Understanding where these rappers were growing up upon explains why their music is so “hardcore.”


  • Niggaz Wit Attitudes better known as NWA, was an 80s South Central rap group that was first given the hip hop genre “gangsta rap.”
  • Ice Cube states, “Back then it was called reality rap. It was the media that called it gangsta rap.”
  • The group NWA helped define what truly means: the storytelling of the surrounding environment that black youth grows in.

Notable Gangsta Rappers 

Where Is Gangsta Rap Today?

One emerging idea about gangster rap is that anyone can be a gangster. Many are saying that you do not have to be a gang member, come from a rough background, etc. In fact, some even consider gangster rap equatable to hip-hop. 

Today gangster rap is merely considered a style of rap and regardless of background or upbringing, many rappers seem to embrace the style. For this, often times they are criticized by many people who say that they are lying in their songs and should not be rapping about things that they’ve never been through. 

Ex. Drake’s recent video shoot near the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, NY

The Evolution Of Gangsta Rap 1985-2019

Works Citied

Isis Evans

Isis Evans

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