Hardcore hip hop

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Hardcore hip hop (also hardcore rap) is a genre of hip hop music that developed through the East Coast hip hop scene in the 1980s. Pioneered by such artists as Run-DMC, Schoolly D, Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy, it is generally characterized by anger, aggression and confrontation.



Music experts have credited Run-DMC as the first hardcore hip hop group. [1] Other early artists to adopt an aggressive style were Schoolly D in Philadelphia and Too $hort in Oakland, California. Before a formula for gangsta rap had developed, artists such as Boogie Down Productions and Ice-T wrote lyrics based on detailed observations of "street life", while the confrontational and aggressive lyrics and chaotic rough production style of Public Enemy's records set new standards for hardcore hip hop and hip hop production. [2] Though initially a largely East Coast phenomenon, by the late 1980s, hardcore rap increasingly became largely synonymous with West Coast gangsta rap, with artists like N.W.A infusing "gangsta" themed stories of gritty gang life.

In the early 1990s, hardcore hip hop again became associated with the East Coast as Wu-Tang Clan emerged with minimalistic beats and piano-driven sampling, which became widely popular among other hardcore hip hop artists of the time. [2] In the early, late 90s and early 2000s, other New York based artists like Onyx, DMX [3] [4] and M.O.P. [5] incorporated yelling in their lyrics. In the 2010s, punk rap combined elements of hardcore hip hop and hardcore punk, with artists like Denzel Curry at the forefront. [6] [7]


Gangsta rap has often been associated with the hardcore hip hop style, and gangsta rap is generally considered a subgenre or offshoot of hardcore hip hop; however, not all hardcore hip hop revolves around "gangsta" lyrical themes, despite the considerable overlap between the two genres, especially within hardcore rappers of the 1990s. [2] Hardcore hip hop is characterised by aggression and confrontation and generally describes violence or anger. Russell Potter wrote that while hardcore rap has been associated with a "monolithic 'gangsta' outlook" by the popular press hardcore rappers have "laid claim to a wide variety of ground". [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Gangsta rap or gangster rap, initially called reality rap, emerged in the mid- to late 1980s as a controversial hip-hop subgenre whose lyrics assert the culture and values typical of American street gangs and street hustlers. Many gangsta rappers flaunt associations with real street gangs, like the Crips and Bloods. Gangsta rap's pioneers were Schoolly D of Philadelphia in 1985, Ice-T of Los Angeles in 1986, and especially N.W.A in 1988. In 1993, via record producer Dr. Dre, rapper Snoop Dogg and their G-funk sound, gangsta rap took the rap genre's lead and became mainstream, popular music.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New school hip hop</span> Movement in hip hop music

The new school of hip hop was a movement in hip hop music, beginning in 1983–84 with the early records of Run–D.M.C. and LL Cool J. Like the preceding hip hop, it came predominantly from New York City. The new school was characterized by drum machine led minimalism, often tinged with elements of rock. It comprised rapping taunts, boasts, and socio-political commentary delivered in an aggressive, self-assertive style. In song and image its artists projected a tough, cool, street b-boy attitude. These elements contrasted sharply with funk and disco, novelty hits, live bands, synthesizers and party rhymes of artists prevalent in the early 1980s, thus rendering them old school. New school artists crafted shorter songs more amenable to airplay, and more cohesive LPs than their old school counterparts. By 1986 their releases began to establish hip hop as a fixture of the mainstream.

East Coast hip hop is a regional subgenre of hip hop music that originated in New York City during the 1970s. Hip hop is recognized to have originated and evolved first in the Bronx, New York City.

<i>Straight Outta Compton</i> 1988 studio album by N.W.A

Straight Outta Compton is the debut studio album by rap group N.W.A, which, led by Eazy-E, formed in Los Angeles County's City of Compton in early 1987. Released by his label, Ruthless Records, on August 8, 1988, the album was produced by N.W.A members Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince, with lyrics written by N.W.A members Ice Cube and MC Ren along with Ruthless rapper The D.O.C. Not merely depicting Compton's street violence, the lyrics repeatedly threaten to lead it by attacking peers and even police. The track "Fuck tha Police" drew an FBI agent's warning letter, which aided N.W.A's notoriety, with N.W.A calling itself "the world's most dangerous group."

<i>Its Dark and Hell Is Hot</i> 1998 studio album by DMX

It's Dark and Hell Is Hot is the debut album by American rapper DMX. It was released on May 12, 1998, by Def Jam Recordings and Ruff Ryders. It was supported by four singles—"Get at Me Dog", "Stop Being Greedy", "Ruff Ryders Anthem" and "How's It Goin' Down", in order of release—and their accompanying music videos.

<i>WWF Aggression</i> 2000 soundtrack album by World Wrestling Federation

WWF Aggression is a soundtrack album by WWE. Released on March 21, 2000 by Priority Records, it features entrance music of WWE wrestlers re-recorded by various hip hop artists and groups. The album was a commercial success, charting at number eight on the US Billboard 200.

Pop rap is a genre of music fusing the rhythm-based lyricism of hip hop music with pop music's preference for melodious vocals and catchy tunes. This genre gained mainstream popularity during the 1990s, though the influences and roots of pop rap can trace back to late-1980s hip hop artists such as Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and Beastie Boys. The lyrics are often lighthearted, with choruses similar to those heard in pop music.

<i>Hip Hop Connection</i> British magazine

Hip Hop Connection (HHC) was the longest running monthly periodical devoted entirely to hip hop culture. It was described by rapper Chuck D as "the best magazine in the world".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Political hip hop</span> Music genre

Political hip hop is a subgenre of hip hop music that was developed in the 1980s as a way of turning hip hop into a call for political and/or social action and a form of social and/or political activism. Inspired by 1970s political artists such as The Last Poets and musician Gil Scott-Heron, Public Enemy was the first predominantly political hip-hop group. The genre has helped to create a new form of social expression for subordinate groups to speak about their exclusions, injustices and lack of power. Political hip-hop is the use of hip hop music to send political messages to inspire action or social change or to convince the listener of a particular worldview. There is no all-encompassing political hip-hop ideology; rather, there are multiple perspectives that range anywhere from anarchism to Marxism to the values of the Five-Percent Nation.

Hip hop music or hip-hop music, also known as rap music, is a genre of popular music that originated in New York City in the 1970s. It consists of stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. It developed as part of hip hop culture, a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching with turntables, break dancing, and graffiti writing. Other elements include sampling beats or bass lines from records, and rhythmic beatboxing. While often used to refer solely to rapping, "hip hop" more properly denotes the practice of the entire subculture. The term hip hop music is sometimes used synonymously with the term rap music, though rapping is not a required component of hip hop music; the genre may also incorporate other elements of hip hop culture, including DJing, turntablism, scratching, beatboxing, and instrumental tracks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Punk rap</span> Genre of hip hop

Punk rap is hip hop music influenced by the rebellious ethos, and sometimes musical characteristics, of punk rock. The genre has been described as being influenced by styles such as trap music, punk rock, heavy metal and lo-fi music.

Comedy hip hop or comedy rap, is a subgenre of lighter hip hop music designed to be amusing or funny, compared to artists who incorporate humor into their more serious, purist hip hop styles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Run-DMC</span> American hip hop group

Run-DMC was an American hip hop group from Hollis, Queens, New York City, founded in 1983 by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell. Run-DMC is regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of hip hop culture and one of the most famous hip hop acts of the 1980s. Along with Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and Public Enemy, the group pioneered new school hip hop music. The group was among the first to highlight the importance of the MC and DJ relationship.

Memphis rap, also known as Memphis hip hop or Memphis horrorcore, is a regional subgenre of hip hop music that originated in Memphis, Tennessee in the early 1990s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">City Morgue</span> American hip-hop group

City Morgue is an American hip hop group from New York City which consists of rappers ZillaKami, SosMula and producer Thraxx.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">ZillaKami</span> American rapper

Junius Rogers, professionally known as ZillaKami, is an American rapper, singer and songwriter. He is a member of the hip hop group City Morgue and a former songwriter for 6ix9ine.

Raider Klan was an American hip hop collective formed in Carol City, Florida, in 2008. It grew to include members from other U.S. cities, such as Memphis, Seattle (Thraxxhouse), and Houston. They are widely regarded by fans, critics, and fellow artists as one of the most influential hip hop movements of the 2010s. In 2012, the Guardian cited them as one of the key acts bringing back hip hop groups.


  1. Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. allmusic ((( Run-D.M.C. > Biography ))). Allmusic. Accessed January 14, 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 [Hardcore hip hop at AllMusic Hardcore Rap]. Allmusic. Accessed May 22, 2008.
  3. "DMX - Undisputed Reigning King of Hardcore Rap". February 18, 2020.
  4. "Hardcore Rap Music Songs". AllMusic .
  5. "10 things you didn't know about the hip-hop heavy hitters M.O.P." Red Bull .
  6. "Denzel Curry Comes Home to Miami for His Zeltron Word Wide Rap Battle".
  7. "How today's rappers are resurrecting the spirit of punk".
  8. Potter, Russell A. (1995). Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-hop and the Politics of Postmodernism. p. 130. SUNY Press. ISBN   0-7914-2626-2.