In the early 1990s, West Coast hip-hop’s popularity spiked during the “Good Times” era.
After the release of “The Chronic,” gangsta rap became much more complex. Not only did rap’s “good-time” era start, it also marked the first time that any kind of gangsta album was being sold. In a way, the release of “The Chronic” made gangsta rap a lot more mainstream, and helped launch a genre called gangsta rap into the mainstream.
What started in the ’90s?
Gangsta rap had started in Los Angeles about 10 years before Tupac Shakur was born. During the ’90s, the music industry started to see the rise of hip-hop in Chicago and the West Coast.
A lot was happening in the rap world, and a lot of artists in the ’90s were making major-label records – Eminem, N.W.A, Jay Z – as well as selling millions of records.
In the ’90s, Los Angeles became a hub for gangsta rap. It was a scene that didn’t fit into mainstream rap, and had a reputation for being violent and out of control.
Who were other gangsta rap artists before Tupac?
When Tupac was born, there just weren’t any hip-hop artists on the East Coast that had the same type of influence that he had. Even if they didn’t know it, many had heard Gangsta’s Paradise.
Some people may be surprised to find out that the first record played when Tupac was a baby was “Gangsta’s Paradise.” But it wasn’t until the early 2000s that other hip-hop artists started to gain notoriety and become big stars in the hip-hop community.
Rapping became a very prominent activity in the late ’90s, and many of these artists were getting significant media attention, like D’Angelo and Big L. By the end of the ’90s, a lot of the rappers who had dominated Los Angeles were getting radio airplay as well.
What type of gangsta rap sound were they creating?
For a while, the gangsta rap community focused on rapping about violence and killing. But in the ’90s, gangsta rap became more of an image than a music genre.
A lot of rappers didn’t focus on the imagery, or were just writing about things like drinking and driving.