Since its inception in 1978, West Coast hip-hop remains a force in the record industry and beyond thanks to its hard-hitting realism and expertly crafted lyrics. As a result, people all over the world have come to know and love the West Coast sound and its legion of artists. This infographic shows in detail just how far the genre has come, from relatively meager beginnings to its current place as an important cultural touchstone.
Many of today’s biggest performers and producers came from the West Coast scene. Dr. Dre first broke into rap with the group NWA alongside Eazy-E and Ice Cube, who helped bring this gritty urban sound into the mainstream. The West Coast was also the birthplace of Tupac Shakur, who remains a highly respected artist even after his death in 1996. This region even introduced the world to Snoop Dogg by way of his collaboration on Dr. Dre’s solo debut in 1992.
While today’s crops of West Coast stars are much different in both the music they produce as well as their personal style, they retain a huge influence on the world around them. The West Coast indie scene received a boost thanks to the Odd Future collective featuring such notable performers as Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean. Kendrick Lamar has also made a big splash in the music scene, and has been recognized for his work in his local community.