The death of Tupac marked the decline of West Coast hip-hop. As the early 2000’s rolled around, the power in Hip-hop shifted from the West Coast back to the East. As the West lay dying through the mid 2000’s, a new group of artists and producers began to revive West Coast hip-hop. The late 2000’s saw a new group of West Coast artists, effectively black hippies and backpack rappers. The West Coast, once heralded for the hardcore, gangster rap of N.W.A., Eazy-E, and Snoop, became a safe haven for the new wave of rappers. This generation of rappers, using more laid back beats and progressive lyrics, helped usher in a new era in the West Coast rap saga. Ironically the new age rappers saved the West Coast rap game. I, along with guestspots from my roommate, will give you my 12 favorite underground West Coast artists, groups, and producers in a 12 part series entitled the West Coast Revival. Pop the corks and lets get this party started people.
I choose to start off with probably the least known of the 12 artists but one of my personal favorites. Diz Gibran, out of Los Angeles, teamed up with Crooks & Castles to drop an amazing album, Soon You’ll Understand. Dizzy teams up with his producer Moonshine to release an album showing off the talents of not only Diz but Moonshine. The production is heavy on drums, horns, and pianos, providing really laid back beats. The instruments used give the album a jazz rap feel. This album is clearly not a pump up album, it’s one you put in your car and cruise to on a summer day. No need to bump it either, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the wordplay of Dizzy and the smooth beats of Moonshine.
Diz is a great lyricist in his own right. His voice fits the beats perfectly too, I don’t really know how to explain that, but if you listen I’m sure you will know what I mean. He’s not afraid to tap into songs with much deeper meaning, not really going into guns, drugs, or women but stuff which pertains to the people he is trying to reach. Even though this was his debut album, a lot of rappers could learn from the man’s lyrics and see the more important things in life. My favorite song on the album is “Impossible”, a song featuring a sample from Feist, who is an amazing singer. The song talks about regrets and what would happen if events happened in a different way. “New Religion”, placed after the outro for some reason, is also a gem on the album, addressing the problems many kids have with religion as they grow up. Sadly Soon You’ll Understand is the only complete project I know of. Hopefully he has just been in the kitchen, cooking up some new rhymes.
You can stream the album from Diz’s website here