Hip-hop’s origin story is a well-known one, but its progression from the New York City boroughs continues to shape and inform the culture. Whether it’s Nas or Biggie, or the Wu-Tang Clan or A Tribe Called Quest, the east coast rap style is rooted in New York City, and today, it continues to have a significant influence across the country.
East coast rap has changed over the years, but it’s still the center of hip-hop culture. The early ’80s saw east coast producers like Marley Marl and DJ Premier experimenting with new sounds, and rappers like Rakim and Kool G Rap were stylistic pioneers that redefined what it meant to be a real MC. Today, east coast rap artists like Billy Woods and Navy Blue take their cues from these early pioneers while pushing the boundaries of contemporary rhyme writing.
When we think of east coast rap, we often tend to remember New York and its reputation as the birthplace of hip-hop. However, there’s far more to this region than just New York City. From Boston down to Baltimore, Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia, the East Coast has a rich history of producing some of the world’s most iconic hip-hop artists.
East coast rap continues to have a significant influence on contemporary hip-hop. While the genre has shifted away from its origin in the Bronx, its legacy lives on. It remains a fertile breeding ground for rapping excellence, not just because of its history, but also because of its style, attitude and the music enjoyed by the masses.
Nowhere is this more evident than in underground circles where artists continue to utilize production styles and lyrically dense hip-hop that were popular in early east coast rap. With that in mind, we’ve curates a playlist highlighting the best, most underrated east coast rappers who are worth your time and attention.
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