Hip-hop is going back to Cali


Photo illustration by Zach Tierney

Photo Illustration by Zach TIerney

Walter Jones and Walter Jones

For years people said the West Coast is dead and that the good artists are in New York or the South. From 2005 to 2010, two people (Game and E-40) have mainly represented West Coast hip-hop. Now we are seeing a bunch of artists coming out of California, and making a huge impact in the music scene.

With YG’s album ”My Krazy Life” the top hip-hop album in the country and No. 7 on the overall billboard charts, there is no doubt that gangsta rap and that West Coast sound are back. Nipsey Hussle probably had the best mixtape of 2013 with “Crenshaw” and we all know how great an album Kendrick Lamar had with “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” in 2012.

The signing of Top Dawg Entertainment with Interscope Records was a great move for the West Coast. It showed that California has some stability and that artists don’t have to run to New York or Atlanta to become successful.

Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony Tiffith went on record last month saying his label will drop six albums in 2014. With Schoolboy Q’s “Oxymoron” debuting at No. 4 on the Rap charts, what will Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul bring to the table? Plus, we might get to see a Black Hippy (Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul) album finally come together.

Hopsin also had a very creative album with “Knock Madness.” His fan base has increased and he is not afraid to do what he wants and say how he feels. That and his powerful lyrics get respect. Problem has a bunch of promise; his fan base has grown as well and most people I know are waiting on another mixtape, or even better, an album.

Now let’s get closer to home. The bay area has been making a lot of noise as well with Sage The Gemini releasing his first studio album “Remember Me.” IamSu! is also another artist who has been getting a lot of buzz, if not the biggest buzz in the bay area. They are on the same collective (The HBK Gang) and they made a recent splash by performing on the David Letterman Show.

There is still legend-making music in the bay area. E-40 released his “Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil: Parts 4, 5 & 6.” Clyde Carson is another bay area veteran who just released his project April 4.

With all these artist emerging from California, there is no doubt that the West Coast is alive and well. There are a bunch of artists that have become mainstream like Kid Ink, Glasses Malone, Tyga. Meanwhile guys like Ty Dolla Sign, Dom Kennedy, and Dubb are under the radar. Hip-hop has definitely been resurrected on the West Coast. So how far can can it go? Will the west become well respected again like in the 1990s or is this a fad? All I know is that right now the West is back and it’s been long overdue.