Just so you know, the East/West Coast rap wars didn’t start with Tupac and Biggie. Actually, that beef always kind of made me laugh. ‘Pac was born in New York.
Anyway, the animosity between rappers from New York and rappers from California started almost as soon as West Coast rappers began making noise. Growing up in Brooklyn, no one in my neighborhood was walking around with Ice-T tapes. Cali cats were corny. They wore jheri curls or perms. New York had posses, L.A. had gangs. The only L.A. rapper that really got love back on the East Coast was Ice Cube. Then Cypress Hill came along and blew up in New York (of course, it didn’t hurt that most rap fans thought they *were* from New York). It wasn’t until “The Chronic” blew up in ’93 that L.A. rappers REALLY got love out East.
Want to know how most New Yorkers felt about Cali rap back in the early Nineties? Check out “Fuck Compton”, a 1991 song by the South Bronx’s Tim Dog that became an underground smash-hitting #1 on Billboard’s rap chart just as NWA dropped “Niggaz4life”. Now, I’m not here to start (or regenerate) any beef, but this song is hilarious from a lyrical standpoint. There’s also the fact that Tim’s flow…well, it’s kinda wack. As much as my 15 year old self was loving this song, I’ve gotta say: I taped Tim Dog off the radio. I went to Sam Goody and BOUGHT NWA. Of course, within 18 months of “Fuck Compton”, West Coast rap was runnin’ shit and Tim Dog was probably bagging groceries somewhere. So we know who had the last laugh.