The 10 best West Coast rap music lyrics aren’t for the faint of heart. These lyrics and the songs they come from spin tales of violence, sex, drugs, destitution, racial prejudice, abject poverty and rival rap factions. They’re also hella gangsta. Get down with it.
- “F*ck tha police comin’ straight from the underground/A young brother got it bad cause he brown,” intones Ice Cube in one the most notorious songs ever. The opening salvo of NWA’s anti po-po anthem is one of the 10 best West Coast rap lyrics for its anger, directness and the manner in which it perfectly captured its time and place.
- “First off, f*ck your bitch.” The first lyric of Tupac’s infamous Biggie diss “Hit ‘Em Up” pulls no punches and is pure, old school West Coast. Tupac goes on to insult Bad Boy Entertainment, Puff Daddy, Lil Kim, Junior Mafia and more. It’s one of the hardest, most direct diss tracks of the era.
- “Rollin’ down the street smokin’ endo/Sippin’ on gin and juice.” Oh boy. This 10 best caliber West Coast rap lyric doesn’t even really merit explanation. It’s the credo of a coast, the rallying cry for every man between 16 and 30 living under the California sun. Even your mom knows this one. And if she claims she doesn’t, she’s lying.
- “California knows how to party/In the city of LA.” So begins Dr. Dre and Tupac’s megahit, “California Love.” The song perfectly captured the mood and tenor of early 90’s socal gangsta rap by melding a G-funk beat to lyrics about partying, drinking and gangbanging.
- “Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west/A state that's untouchable like Elliot Ness,” spits Dr. Dre on the first verse of “California Love.” A far cry from Will Smith’s tepid “Wild Wild West,” Dr. Dre’s version includes pimps, bullets and hoes. It’s one for the 10 best West Coast rap lyrics for the Death Row braggadocio it epitomizes.
- “Ya'll mothaf*kers moved straight outta Compton/Livin' with the whites, one big house/and not another nigga in sight” constitutes one of the 10 best West Coast rap lyrics as it marks the official severing of Ice Cube from NWA. These brutal words come from an even more brutal track, “No Vaseline,” Cube’s ultimate condemnation of his former NWA cohorts.
- “As long as I’m from Compton, California Icould never go soft,” spits Game on “Remedy,” one of the Compton MC’s best tracks. Game goes hard every time he gets in the booth, like true LA gangstas did before the rise of backpack rap. With one of the 10 best West Coast rap lyrics, he reminds you of that.
- “I didn’t even have to use my AK/I gotta say it was a good day,” is another straight classic West Coast rap lyric from Ice Cube. What makes this lyric, and the track “It Was a Good Day,” the best the West has to offer is its complexity. As much as he brags of how hard he is, Ice Cube also laments the circumstances that led him to be that way, painting a dense and confusing portrait of the black American experience in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
- “All of a sudden Dr. Dre is a G thing/but on his old album covers he was a she thing,” another day another NWA feud. This lyric comes compliments of Eazy-E and is a dig at the legitimacy of Dr. Dre’s claims of being a real G. Of course, Dre never was a real G, he is and always has been an entertainer, so Eazy was spot on.
- “Carbon copies gettin’ caught up in the paparazzi” is a forward-thinking gem from Xzibit. Released in ’96, the Xzibit’s “Paparazzi” is a classic West Coast joint that predicted the course hip hop travels over the next decade with eerie precision.
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