Inside Music Curation: Hip Hop's Regional Movements
2023 is a mammoth year in music, as the world celebrates Hip Hop @ 50. From New York to L.A., Atlanta to Houston - we're looking at the regional movements in Hip Hop that have made the genre ever-evolving.
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hello everyone and welcome to inside music curation We Are the team at feed Media Group uh where we program music for businesses and we love to get together on the first Wednesday of each month and talk all things music curation uh this week we are continuing to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop in 2023 and our first episode we talked a lot about the roots of hip-hop in New York um how we as music fans sort of got into hop in our our wide-ranging interest there um and this week we're talking about Regional movements so we've got uh Mike Juan and stens from the team here to sort of take us on the sort of more geographical journey of how hip-hop grew and spread so sends you want to start us off with a little history lesson as well yeah sure and not to keep it hopefully not too dry but um you know when you think about hip-hop I think those of us that are old enough to live through a lot of it you know even if we didn't even if we weren't born and raised in the Bronx in the 1970s we've come to know that you know Well Done sir that's another reason we need to do on this call but uh yeah I mean it was a New York thing you know fundamentally and so um in Broad Strokes it was all about the New York scene in the 80s right and then you know LA and the LA area especially Compton grab the mic rudely and aggressively away from New York and they re-anchored the base into La in the late 80s early 90s that really you know started to steal a lot of the Thunder from hip-hop it also added some huge new flavors and styles and just more diversity into it and then um you know we'll get more into this but I think well there was obviously a really famous Feud that ensued between the to the West Coast it took down two of our most beloved MCS of all time which really still hurts because to this day Biggie and Tupac Are legitimately some of the greatest to have ever rocked the mic and made hip hop music but in the midst of that you know war between the coasts in the 90s the South you know didn't so much tiptoe in as like broke the door down with you know outcasts famously you know showing up at one of the source award shows in the mid 90s and getting booed originally and Andre 3000 saying well he was just Andre then he wasn't Andre 3000 but the South got something to say and that was a huge understatement because then the so-called Dirty South erupted in the mid to late 90s and it became kind of a tri-coast hip-hop landscape and with each addition into this Regional stew of hip-hop new flavors and new Styles and new Incredible artists came into it and um yeah I think we wanted to get a little bit into some of those different pockets and like what we've experienced as curators and as hip-hop fans in our life you know kind of compare and contrast not only those big three coasts if you will but also like some of the other pockets of of hip-hop that have enriched the Styles and sounds and I'd love to just pan it off to Juan and um you know Juan maybe because we did a little pre-call you were talking about how like pre-2000 it really was like where are you from where are you at right and then it comes to 2000 it became a lot more loosened up and opened up about that can you like I thought that was super on point can you give us a perspective on like what that meant to you and like how that came to be and maybe some examples of it yeah no of course um you know I wasn't there for the beginning of hip-hop right but I was a 90s baby and regionality still existed then because you know it was always like East Coast hip-hop like that was defined it was a certain type of thing and West Coast hip-hop is a different type of thing and so you know I think that it was a it was a two a two kind of like two punch type thing where it was partial media and partial just like at this point 20 years into uh hip-hop styles were changing right uh and so then in that time there was this just like this definite like ownership right of what those styles were uh and then after what you like one of the biggest events I think still one of the biggest events in hip-hop uh was when Biggie and Tupac passed right I think that that was a reflecting moment for hip-hop to see hey you know uh other than you know this regionality stylistic difference you know like this other stuff that is involved with hip-hop it allowed people to kind of take a look at that and I think what that did it created a time in history late 90s early 2000s where hip-hop was so open right in fact so open to the point where it became basically pop right um last week and I'm only telling the story because I think this really kind of uh explains this right last weekend I went to go see Ghostface Killah uh at a show in Los Angeles and lo and behold Will I Am came out of nowhere you know last possible person I would have expected to be at a ghost face kill show right Ghostface Killah invites him on stage hands him a mic and goes man I'm so appreciative of you you know like because of you we were able to move you know we were able to expand our base right and I thought that was so powerful right because here you're looking at a amazing underground rapper with a lot of esteem right and you have this other rapper or I mean pop artist right well I am where he is a part of that movement he is this pop guy you know but at the same time he's getting love from Ghostface and he spit more than 12 bars over some Wu-Tang beats it was it was super cool um but that just shows you how open it is now right whereas I think in 96 would you have seen will I am in Ghostface on the same stage maybe not yeah I do think it's interesting um for you know as we look on 50 years of hip-hop and it's still being or now even more sort of obviously always additionally belongs to like the younger generation too so from a historical's perspective you know they're going back to discover some of the old older hip-hop and seeing its influence on newer hip-hop um so I think it'd be good to sort of talk about you know what are the sort of like sound stylistic tent poles east west south um you know when when you're a new hip-hop fan or whatever like what are you sort of hearing that's distinctive in those regions well you know one of the things that um I I can't remember who said this in an interview it might have been Ice Cube but um explain it pretty concisely just in in terms of the difference between East Coast hip-hop the sound of it and west coast and East Coast hip-hop was made to be listened to in headphones when you're on a Subway or you know using mass transit so the sounds are going to be different West Coast hip-hop was recorded for car culture so you know you had the heavier sort of like you know bass to sort of drown out traffic you know you're listening to it you're blasting it in your car as opposed to listening to it on your on your you know your headphones so right right there just sonically there's a there's a difference right yeah that's that's really I had not heard that and it's just so it's like an aha it's like oh yeah totally of course like you don't have to know a lot about hip-hop for that explanation to ring true as far as sonically you know especially if you know kind of the late 80s style of New York hip-hop and then like The Chronic and Dr Dre and the stuff the Lush instrumental deep massive bass right it like sonically opened everything up it made it like cinematic you know probably not a coincidence that it's close to Hollywood right like it became cinematic and then I I think most people would agree that Atlanta has also got like a healthy car culture and so it's continuing that depth and sound and just the volume around it but yeah coming back like to East Coast like to the original and that whole headphones idea which is really interesting well it was it was the street parties first right like it was the it was the block parties and everything like that where it was like the Disco influence and it was party and breaks the break beats and all that stuff and then as hip-hop became like with the Walkman probably technology was a driver like in 1982 83 84. you start hard to get more intricate lyricism right and so I think you know East Coast hip-hop as far as signifiers cleared to get into some of the like musical weeds of it I would say for East Coast hip-hop traditionally it would be like sampling you know I mean like borrowing anything any sounds that you can that you want or you need like you didn't have maybe instrumentalists you maybe didn't have instruments like you had a record player you had two record players right so like the limitations became the aesthetic Foundation right and so that and then like you didn't have maybe you weren't trained on how to sing or you weren't trained as a musicians that you you wrapped you spoke right and it became more and more um like um refined the lyricism became so refined in East Coast hip-hop that I think to this day many people could still legitimately point to some of the late 80s MCS like rock him and Big Daddy Kane and KRS one and you could legitimately say that purely from a lyrical standpoint and it's subjective the lyricism it already had been kind of gone to the highest level of like lyricism like other it's not to say it's done Kendrick Lamar is a supreme lead Lyricist and stuff like that but like the headphones and all that stuff it was really much more about the lyrics and the sampling sounds and then yeah like hot potato to you on like talk us through some of more of the Stylistics of maybe quintessential West Coast and quintessential South sounds of what those sound like yeah um you know it's interesting um I feel like well now I feel but it's also demonstrated in a lot of the tracks that you know happen towards like you know maybe the not the latter of the 90s but towards like the middle of the 90s like a lot of Dre uh they started utilizing a lot of like Parliament Funkadelic like Funk twos G Funk G Funk era right that became almost something synonymous at least for 90s babies that was a part of that West Coast sound right because like uh East Coast sound in the 90s was more on like the Jazz kind of like it had it was I mean obviously boom bap was hard and it was intense but it had a very Jazzy undertone whereas like West Coast yeah I was just so funky and so groovy and it just gave kind of like a different aesthetic and uh to uh Mike's Point about um you know the car culture and the subway uh being from Connecticut and also living in Los Angeles that's so true you know it's such a difference in environment um yeah but uh you know to not leave the South behind right uh you know the South incredibly I think will be known or we also discussed this right we'll be known for its uh contributions and rhythm uh everything from crunk right the intensity of that crunk base right with those blaring like you know uh sense and things of that nature to you know trap you know where you're having that duple meter you know you're having it's a different intensity a different type of experience but it's all still pretty intense um you know before uh before today I was actually looking through just to see like other you know Southern rappers and you know it's incredible the amount of con like the contribution they've given right like Master P right like make him say ah like when I heard that song I was waving a white like white tea like this for days you know or uh so so deaf Jermaine Dupree or um you know could be could not be Timberland that's for discussion though but uh yeah it's just they Infuse so much flavor so much like new ideas that I think that it just uh if anything improved well then improve it it just changed American hip-hop yeah I kind of want to chime in with my own sort of like localized hip-hop anecdote of um being from the Bay Area and being exposed to that scene because in a lot of ways I think at the time um sort of more like early 2000s of like true like hyphy coming on to the scene they got a lot of parallels with crunk um but we're very quick like it kind of acknowledged it but kind of was like Hey like this is our own thing um and for me in that music even though I'm not as you know deep in some of the other sort of like Regional hip-hop movements um the slang and linguistics within that music is so specific um to the point of it like it really um defines the subculture of if you're in it or you're not and if you're from that region or you're not and like even the amount of people I've had to just explain how to use hella properly which is like a pretty basic phrase but it like it's all intertwined um with the music scene I car culture also plays into that ghost writing also a big part of it so um that is yeah sort of an interesting aspect we have have yet to unpack um the sort of like many elements of those as well so uh yeah I think the the sort of sense of belonging that comes with the regionality is really important and um I think again yeah we've we sort of see that peak in the a pre-internet age of like it being as common in social media or whatever and then I think we sort of see that like in that information era and the the ability to be able to disseminate and send beats over the Internet versus having to show up in studio you're getting a lot more you know cross-country collaboration across Regional collaboration um and all those different sounds blending together what do you guys think about that I mean you know now that you can do all of that you know is it is that Regional flavor gonna go away is it all going to be homogenized like yeah how do we what do we what's the what's the takeaway there you know what I mean like are we are we happy about that are we yeah I don't I don't see it as like a yeah like happy or not as much as it is like uh there's a greater opening as Juan was talking about just in the defining of the genre I do think though like you know people have a lot of Pride about where they're from and and it's always going to be a part of their story so in hip-hop and in genres of music where like you know so much of yeah your quote unquote street cred comes from like which streets you were on I think it'll always be a part of a part of that flavor yeah and one you know one of the things you know Mike about that there's not like obviously an open shut answer to that but I think and you know Juan talked about this a lot on our pre-call too of like the role of the hip-hop producer right which I think let's just briefly get into it which is to say that you know typically in other genres namely Rock and pop you know to a certain extent anyway not always for pop this isn't true but to a certain extent the producer role on those was like the engineering and the like finalizing the product and the musicians the people whose name you are Bruce Springsteen and stuff like that they're heavily involved in the production XYZ but in hip-hop it's always been or at least for a long time there's like the emcee and the producer the producer creates the music you know what I'm saying and so I think coming to your point in question it's like the interesting thing now is to hear like you know Jay-Z over a Timberland beat like like a New York rapper over a southern beat or like you know Scarface over a Rizzo beat you know what I mean like a southern rapper over like an East Coast beat and so like that kind of that interplay between those two sometimes when it's obvious like that where it's like hey this like with Dr Dre producing like a Raekwon song like he's produced a couple rayquon songs so it's like oh yo what does the woo sound like flowing over Dr Dre ooh amazing sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not and so you're gonna have I think there's gonna it's obviously too like more of this cross-pollination but then at the same time the underground like the underground is always digging up and you know that because you're an a r guy the anr is always digging up like new sounds and new flavors and flows and redefining you know like what it means for this area yeah yeah it's it's interesting to to to I was thinking about that before this call you know I I just moved last week to Nashville and I was like can't really name very many huge hip-hop artists that have come out of Nashville but there are some pretty big producers from from Nashville Ron Gilmore Junior um you know who who worked with Jay Cole um take Heath I think did Drake stuff and I think those guys uh those producers living in Nashville being influenced by the music that is predominant here which is country and country music production which is very clean very tight you can hear that in some of those J Cole tracks and some of those Drake tracks very clean very tight so it's interesting to see the the what what influences the producer that influences the artist that is recording the music right yeah Rick has a song with Morgan Wallen out this week yeah that's right I forgot about that yeah that was crazy yeah most genre pop that was like yeah I mean that's so smart like you know Morgan wallen's gonna grab for some Morgan Wallen right he's gonna grab for some little Dirks fans and vice verses like that was even I couldn't see that coming that was like wow that's that's next level you know genre blending yeah yeah for sure um so do we want to wrap it up with uh some final thoughts maybe um either like a sort of you know Regional collaboration you've you'd love to see or um or which you know to the extent this regionality has really taken hold anywhere you think will be specifically popping off in 2023 I am going to predict a Resurgence in east coast boom bap hip-hop there are some great new artists coming out of Harlem right now this guy by the name of Joe West I've been keeping an eye on him for a couple years and I think he just did a big record deal with Republic records and I think he's gonna um put some other Harlem hip-hop artists on the map and uh we're gonna we're gonna hear more more of that stuff I hope I I hope it's just kind of a secret wish great one what you got uh uh right now for me it's tough to gauge where hip-hop is um a lot of the big players are in some big trouble um but I will say this right the thing that I'm very confident in is that regardless the region women are taking over hip-hop uh you know I love the fact that like now we sort of have well no no no hold on do we have a West Coast because we have sweetie oh boom thank you all I need yeah you have these great representation throughout the whole nation right and sweetie's not someone to sleep on is an incredible Lyricist uh you know in Houston um there is this amazing uh there's actually a couple amazing uh acts uh besides uh Megan the stallion which I'm really stoked that she's like inspired so many women to come through but like there's Bia there's uh cash page I mean there's so many uh but anyways that's that was all to say foreign well I mean I think that hearing more women in hip-hop is really exciting and you know gratifying and it's definitely very much hap you know it's it's the prevalence is inescapable and I think it's something to be celebrated and I think some of it is that the dudes are making some sleeping music right now I mean like I'm just gonna be honest like I think that some of the party ethos and uh you know like having fun and also like the pop crossover Vibes to hip-hop a lot of women are female MCS uh are like really strongly playing to those right now with like coil array and like um some others we haven't mentioned like ice spice I just saw there's an ice spice remix with Taylor Swift of karma well played both of them and so yeah like I think that's really great and and I'm not disparaging of trap or Atlanta at all because they've given so much tip up and they keep giving to it but I think that to Mike's Point it's time for a little bit more of a course correction you know whether it comes in the form of the baby too and some of these emcees that are a little bit more like on the beat and a little bit more in a duple flow a little bit more of aggressive traditional lyrical style than the the like you know trappy sleepy triplets you know even Drake is like mostly in that space right now I think it's a little like we need a little bit more of that vibrancy I think to kind of counterbalance all of the Trap that's coming out and I guess the one other thing I'll just kind of throw out there is a last minute bomb to walk away from which is interesting to me and maybe it's just because um you know the Atlantic Ocean is even bigger than we sometimes think it is but like with all of these U.S hip-hop Styles blending and cross-pollinating and stuff like Grime in the UK is still like kind of off on its own and that's it's a beautiful amazing thing because there's a lot of incredible Grime hip-hop that's happening um you know speaking of incredible female MCS little Sims is just freaking incredible which I know Mike's seen her live little Sims but it's like is any of that Grime style gonna start to come over here because it hasn't like we're seeing reggaeton's coming into the US charts and we're seeing now like afro pop is coming which is awesome like we're seeing all that stuff happen but Grime is still kind of like in a lock box so let of a prediction and more of a question like are we going to start to see some of those flavors coming in and you know Claire to the extent that you have a point of view I'd ask your question of you too because you're always you're always always plugged in here to the ground on a variety of styles you know what do you think's next or what are you excited about um I was yeah gonna drop coil right in there um as well that is sort of like an interesting yeah like microcosm of uh sort of regionality and Hip-Hop of like it's gonna start with sort of like you know you're one sort of Marquee artist female artist for each region so we are sort of like seeing that a little bit um but I think they're yeah really supportive of each other which is great um and uh and I think yeah that will only breed yeah more collaboration and and interesting sounds so definitely excited for it and uh yeah I want to thank you guys so much for participating today and uh if you want to check out more from feed Media Group you can find us at feedmediagroup.com thanks all awesome thanks thanks guys