Main article: West Coast hip hop

After N.W.A broke up, Dr. Dre (a former member) released The Chronic in 1992, which peaked at #1 on the R&B/hip hop chart,[54] #3 on the pop chart and spawned a #2 pop single with “Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang.” The Chronic took West Coast rap in a new direction,[55] influenced strongly by P funk artists, melding sleazy funk beats with slowly drawled lyrics. This came to be known as G-funk and dominated mainstream hip hop for several years through a roster of artists on Death Row Records, including Tupac Shakur, whose single “To Live & Die in LA” was a big hit[citation needed], andSnoop Dogg, whose Doggystyle included the songs “What’s My Name” and “Gin and Juice,” both top ten hits.[56]

Detached from this scene were other artists such as Freestyle FellowshipThe Pharcyde as well as more underground artists such as the Solesides collective (DJ Shadow and Blackalicious amongst others) Jurassic 5Ugly Duckling (hip hop group)People Under the StairsThe Alkaholiks, and earlier Souls of Mischief represented a return to hip-hops roots of sampling and well planned rhyme schemes. Also the west coast has avant-garde Hip Hop label known as the Anticon record, where artist such as Dose OneSole (artist), and many others make experimental Hip Hop music that goes beyond the status quo.


East Coast hip hop

Main article: East Coast hip hop

In the early 1990s East Coast hip hop was dominated by the Native Tongues posse which was loosely composed of De La Soul with producer Prince PaulA Tribe Called QuestThe Jungle Brothers, as well as their loose affiliates 3rd BassMain Source, and the less successful Black Sheep &KMD. Although originally a “daisy age” conception stressing the positive aspects of life, darker material (such as De La Soul’s thought-provoking “Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa”) soon crept in.

Artists such as Masta Ace (particularly for SlaughtaHouse) & Brand NubianPublic EnemyOrganized Konfusion had a more overtly militant pose, both in sound and manner. Biz Markie, the “clown prince of hip hop”, was causing himself and all other hip-hop producers a problem with his appropriation of the Gilbert O’Sullivan song “Alone again, naturally”.

In the mid-1990s, artists such as the Wu-Tang ClanNas and The Notorious B.I.G. increased New York’s visibility at a time when hip hop was mostly dominated by West Coast artists. The mid to late 1990s saw a generation of rappers such as the members of D.I.T.C. such as the late Big L andBig Pun.

The productions of RZA, particularly for Wu-Tang Clan, became influential with artists such as Mobb Deep due to the combination of somewhat detached instrumental loops, highly compressed and processed drums and gangsta lyrical content. Wu-Tang affiliate albums such as Raekwon the Chef‘s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and GZA‘s Liquid Swords are now viewed as classics along with Wu-Tang “core” material.

Producers such as DJ Premier (primarily for Gangstarr but also for other affiliated artists such as Jeru the Damaja), Pete Rock (With CL Smooth and supplying beats for many others), BuckwildLarge ProfessorDiamond D and The 45 King supplying beats for numerous MCs regardless of location.

Albums such as Nas‘s IllmaticJay-Z‘s Reasonable Doubt and O.C.‘s Word…Life are made up of beats from this pool of producers.

Later in the decade the business acumen of the Bad Boy Records tested itself against Jay-Z and his Roc-A-Fella Records and, on the West Coast, Death Row Records.

The rivalry between the East Coast and the West Coast rappers eventually turned personal,[57] aided in part by the music media.[citation needed]

Although the “big business” end of the market dominated matters commercially the late 1990s to early 2000s saw a number of relatively successful East Coast indie labels such as Rawkus Records (with whom Mos Def gained great success) and later Def Jux; the history of the two labels is intertwined, the latter having been started by EL-P of Company Flow in reaction to the former, and offered an outlet for more underground artists such as Mike LaddAesop RockMr LifRJD2Cage and Cannibal Ox. Other acts such as the Hispanic Arsonists and slam poet turned MC Saul Williams met with differing degrees of success.


Diversification of styles

Further information: List of hip hop genres

In the late 1990s, the styles of hip hop diversified. Southern rap became popular in the early 1990s,[58] with the releases of Arrested Development‘s 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of… in 1992, Goodie Mob‘s Soul Food in 1995 and OutKast‘s ATLiens in 1996. All three groups were fromAtlanta, Georgia. Later, Master P (Ghetto D) built up a roster of artists (the No Limit posse) based out of New Orleans. Master P incorporated G funk and Miami bass influences; and distinctive regional sounds from St. LouisChicagoWashington D.C.Detroit and others began to gain popularity.

In the 1990s, elements of hip hop continued to be assimilated into other genres of popular music. Neo soul, for example, combined hip hop and soul music. In the 1980s and 1990s, rapcorerap rock and rap metal, fusions of hip hop and hardcore punkrock and heavy metal[59] became popular among mainstream audiences. Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit were among the most well-known bands in these fields.

Digable Planets‘ 1993 release Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) was an influential jazz rap record sampling the likes of Don CherrySonny RollinsArt BlakeyHerbie MannHerbie HancockGrant Green, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. It spawned the hit single “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” which reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100[60]

Though white rappers like the Beastie BoysHouse of Pain and 3rd Bass had had some popular success or critical acceptance from the hip hop community, Eminem’s success, beginning in 1999 with the platinum The Slim Shady LP,[61] surprised many.


2000s

The popularity of hip hop music continued through the 2000s. In the year 2000, The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem sold over ten million copies in the United States and was the fastest selling album of all time.[62] Nelly‘s debut LP, Country Grammar, sold over nine million copies. In the 2000s, crunk music, a derivative of Southern hip hop, gained considerable popularity via the likes of Lil Jon and the Ying Yang Twins.

Hip hop influences also found their way increasingly into mainstream pop during this period mainly the mid 2000s. In the East Coast, popular acts during this period included 50 Cent, whose 2003 album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts.[63]

In addition to the mainstream success, the United States also saw the success of alternative hip hop in the form of performers such as The RootsDilated PeoplesGnarls Barkley and Mos Def, who achieved significant recognition. Gnarls Barkley’s album St. Elsewhere, which contained a fusion of funk, neo soul and hip hop, debuted at number 20 on the Billboard 200 charts. In addition, Aesop Rock‘s 2007 album None Shall Pass was well received,[64] and reached #50 on the Billboard charts.[65]


Decline in sales

Starting in 2005, sales of hip hop music in the United States began to severely wane, leading Time magazine to question if mainstream hip-hop was “dying.” Billboard Magazine found that, since 2000, rap sales dropped 44%, and declined to 10% of all music sales, which, while still a commanding figure when compared to other genres, is a significant drop from the 13% of all music sales where rap music regularly placed.[79][80] NPR culture critic Elizabeth Blair noted that, “some industry experts say young people are fed up with the violence, degrading imagery and lyrics.”

Others say the music is just as popular as it ever was, but that fans have found other means to consume the music.”[81] It can also be argued that many young people now download music illegally, especially through P2P networks, instead of purchasing albums and singles from legitimate stores. For example, Flo Rida is known for his low album sales regardless of his singles being mainstream and having digital success. His second album R.O.O.T.S. sold only 200,000+ total units in the U.S., which could not line up to the sales of the album’s lead single “Right Round“. This also happened to him in 2008.[82] Some put the blame on the lack of lyrical content that hip hop once had, another example is Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em‘s 2007 debut album souljaboytellem.com was met with negative reviews.[83] Lack of sampling, a key element of hip hop, has also been noted for the decrease in quality of modern albums. For example, there are only four samples used in 2008’s Paper Trail by T.I., while there are 35 samples in 1998’s Moment of Truth by Gang Starr. The decrease in sampling is in part due to it being too expensive for producers.[84] In Byron Hurt‘s documentaryHip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, he claims that hip hop had changed from “clever rhymes and dance beats” to “advocating personal, social and criminal corruption.”[85] Despite the fall in record sales throughout the music industry,[86] hip-hop has remained a popular genre, with hip-hop artists still regularly topping the Billboard 200 Charts. In the first half of 2009 alone artists such as Eminem,[87] Rick Ross,[88] Black Eyed Peas,[89] and Fabolous[90] all had albums that reached the #1 position on the Billboard 200 charts. Eminem’s album Relapse was one of the fastest selling albums of 2009.[91] In 2010, six hip hop acts topped the Billboard 200; LudacrisB.o.BDrake, Eminem, Lil Wayne and Kanye West. In 2011 so far Nicki Minaj has topped the Billboard 200 and Wiz Khalifa has topped the Billboard Hot 100.


Innovation and revitalization

It was in the later 2000s that alternative hip hop finally secured a place within the mainstream, due in part to the declining commercial viability of gangsta rap as well as the crossover success of artists such as OutKastKanye West, and Gnarls Barkley.[92] Not only did OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below receive high acclaim from music critics, manage to appeal to listeners of all ages, and span numerous musical genres – including rap, rock, R&B, punk, jazz, indie, country, pop, electronica and gospel – but it also spawned two number-one hit singles and has been certified diamond by selling 11 times platinum by the RIAA for shipping more than 11 million units,[93]becoming the best selling rap album of all time as well as winning a Grammy Award for Album of the Year at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards being only the second rap album to do so. Industry observers view the sales racebetween Kanye West’s Graduation and 50 Cent‘s Curtis as a turning point for hip hop. West emerged the victor, selling nearly a million copies in the first week alone, proving that innovative rap music could be just as commercially viable as gangsta rap, if not more so.[94] Although he designed it as a melancholic pop rather than rap, Kanye’s following 808s & Heartbreak would have a significant effect on hip hop music. While his decision to sing about love, loneliness, and heartache for the entirety of the album was at first heavily criticized by music audiences and the album predicted to be a flop, its subsequent critical acclaim and commercial success encouraged other mainstream rappers to take greater creative risks with their music.[95][96] During the release of The Blueprint 3New York rap mogul Jay-Z revealed that next studio album would be an experimental effort, stating, “… it’s not gonna be a #1 album. That’s where I’m at right now. I wanna make the most experimental album I ever made.”[97] Jay-Z elaborated that like Kanye, he was unsatisfied with contemporary hip hop, was being inspired by indie-rockers like Grizzly Bear and asserted his belief that the indie rock movement would play an important role in the continued evolution of hip-hop.[98]

The alternative hip hop movement is not limited only to the United States, as rappers such as SomaliCanadian poet K’naanJapanese rapper Shing02, and Sri Lankan British artist M.I.A. have achieved considerable worldwide recognition. In 2009, TIME magazine placed M.I.A in the Time 100 list of “World’s Most Influential people” for having “global influence across many genres.”[99][100] Today, due in part to the increasing use of music distribution through the internet, many alternative rap artists find acceptance by far-reaching audiences. Several burgeoning artists such as Kid Cudi and Drake have managed to attain record-breaking, chart-topping hit songs, “Day ‘n’ Night” and “Best I Ever Had” respectively, which they both released on free online mixtapes without the help of a major record label. The pair, along with other new artists such as WaleThe Cool KidsJay Electronica, and B.o.B, openly acknowledge being directly influenced by their nineties alt-rap predecessors[citation needed] in addition to alt-rock groups while their music has been noted by critics as expressing eclectic sounds, life experiences, and emotions rarely seen in mainstream hip hop.[101]