Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop (Group 6)

90s Feud Between East & West Coast Hip-Hop

Producers: Tyara Petty & Sloan Louis

B-Roll Coordinator: Tyara Petty & Sloan Louis

Musician: Sloan Louis

Source Checker & Speaker: Imani Blue

The West Coast vs. East Coast rap beef of the 1990s was a highly publicized and, at times, violent rivalry between hip-hop artists and record labels (Death Row/Bad Boys) from the West Coast and the East Coast. This feud, which reached its peak in the mid to late 1990s, had several key elements:

  • Death Row v.s. Bad Boys
  • TuPac v.s. The Notorious B.I.G.

More specifically, within this rivalry, two main artists took the forefront of their respective sides, 2Pac and The Notorious BIG.  They come from the respective production studios, Bad Boy and Death Row Records.  Both groups participated in the ongoing conflict, from diss tracks to shootings. The feud contributed to a culture of violence within the hip-hop community during the 1990s. Shootings, physical altercations, and threats became more common, both within and outside the music industry. This not only endangered the lives of artists but also reinforced negative stereotypes about hip-hop as a violent and dangerous genre. The rivalry polarized fans of hip-hop, with some people aligning themselves with either the East Coast or West Coast camps. This division sometimes led to tension and even violence among fans. 

The G-Funk (Gangsta Funk) genre was quickly given a negative connotation due to the vast impact of both diss tracks. Biggie’s song “Who Shot Ya”, released in 1994 referenced Tupac’s near death experience, ultimately leading to the publication of Tupac’s “Hit Em Up” in 1996 where Tupac dissed Biggie and Bad Boy records. 

Despite the major turmoil between both coasts, hip hop changed for the better after the passing of both Tupac and Biggie. Artists that once played a role in dividing the industry helped rebuild it. Today, there are many collaborations with east and west coast artists and the legacy of Tupac and Biggie still lives on through their music and record labels.

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