Hardcore hip-hop gave rise to the hip-hop subgenre known as gangsta rap. Rappers like Schoolly D and Ice-T helped establish the genre in the middle of the 1980s. During this time, groups like N.W.A helped make it mainstream in the latter years of the decade. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, gangsta rap emerged as hip-hop’s most financially successful subgenre. Some gangsta rappers allegedly have ties to the Bloods or Crips gangs.

Gangsta rap’s intrinsic subject matter has generated a great deal of debate. Left- and right-wing commentators, as well as religious leaders, have criticized the genre. They allege that it encourages criminal activity, violent crimes, brutality, vulgarity, sexual addiction, prejudice against homosexuals, racism, sexual promiscuity, sexism, sexual assault, street gangs, etc.

Gangsta Rap Criticism Over the Years

Many black rappers feel unfairly singled out because of how they reflect societal changes in their music. In an assessment of the conflict between supporters of rap music and the Establishment, writer Chuck Philips said that white politicians “neither comprehend the music nor have the inclination to hear what’s going on in the shattered neighborhoods that gave birth to the art form. Rap is being attacked because it highlights all the inconsistencies in American society. This art form has evolved into a platform for exposing many vital topics that most overlook in American politics. The White House stands for a political system that has no intention of addressing these urban turmoils.

Popular Releases

In order to round out the year 1987, N.W.A. released their debut album, “N.W.A. and the Posse.”  The record was a hit, but N.W.A. ‘s album, “Straight Outta Compton,” released in August 1988, went triple platinum. It only had little radio broadcast, but it cemented gangsta rap’s dominance. The tracks were more brutal than the previous Gangsta Rap since it valued yelling at people and making jokes over thoughtful societal criticism.

The most well-known kind of Gangsta Rap is G-Funk. Musicians like Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre pioneered it. It has slow, slurred hip-hop that heavily samples P-Funk musicians, particularly Parliament and Funkadelic. G-funk had several layers and a straightforward tune that was simple to dance to. The lyrics frequently emphasized that using firearms, alcohol, or marijuana might solve issues in life. It also has a more relaxed feel than most rap music.

Although gangsta rap is a prevalent genre, most consider it outside the pop mainstream. Since it was dedicated to capturing the inner-city experience, it did not “sell out” to the pop charts. But Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.’s enormous popularity and murders heralded a significant aesthetic change. After 50 Cent’s first single, “Get Rich or Die Tryin,” dropped in February 2003, G-Unit and the rise of 50 Cent restored the prominence of Gangsta Rap. The album received an 8x platinum certification, and G-Unit’s “Beg For Mercy” received a 4x platinum certification in November 2003. The G-Unit albums during the following years had less impact, but they continued to be a consistent source of gangsta rap in popular culture.

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