West Coast Hip-Hop


By Jaden Hunter and Corinne Adams

Modern-day west coast rappers uphold the same standards set by legends such as Snoop Dogg, Eazy E, and Kurupt, but they have paved paths entirely their own. West Coast rappers are internationally known and loved and create a sound that is distinct and needed in the broader scheme of the rap world. From the bay to LA, west coast rap plays a critical role in today’s musical landscape.




West Coast Rap is heavily influenced by the racial makeup of the west coast and the laid back energy of California. California is specifically heavily influenced by Chicano and Mexican culture and this is especially evident in west coast music. 

Another aspect of west coast life that impacts west coast hip-hop is the car culture. Car meet ups are very common in California as there are so many beautiful areas to drive along such as Pacific Coast Highway. Car enthusiasts will gather together, oftentimes in classic customized cars, and cruise while listening to the perfect music to match the moment. This is often referred to as [’64] Impala music. There are countless references to classic cars (especially Chevrolet Impalas) in west coast hip-hop and they are featured in music videos from the 90s to now (often customized to have hydraulics/to be lowriders).

Living on the West Coast, especially California, is not as simple as many may think. It is very expensive, can be very dangerous, and although places like Los Angeles are brimming with opportunities, many people who move there to chase their dreams are met with obstacles they never imagined. To survive and build something meaningful for your yourself and your community, it takes grit and a hustler mentality. There are many thriving black and brown businesses and more and more people are realizing the power of ownership and investing in your own community (especially in the face of gentrification). All of these messages and struggles are communicated in west coast hip-hop, especially by people like Nipsey Hussle. His music emphasized the need for ownership, dedication, and maximizing your potential with the time allotted in this life so that you’re able to leave a legacy. He did just that. 

Overall, west coast hip-hop is as unique and dynamic as the west itself. There’s no other sound like it and it plays a crucial role in today’s hip-hop scene.

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