With the rise of N.W.A., gangsta rap and Suge Knight, the East Coast-West Coast rivalry climaxes with a lethal beef ensnaring the great Tupac Shakur.
In NYC, the Notorious B.I.G. fosters an empowering protégée, Lil’ Kim. When the East-West feud claims Biggie, Puff Daddy and Jay-Z vie for the throne.
Alternative hip-hop bubbles up from the streets: Mos Def spits in NYC, the Freestyle Fellowship chops it up in LA, and Eminem battles on the circuit.
A hot, sticky music scene is born in Atlanta as the infectious hooks of TLC and Kris Kross yield to the gritty originality of OutKast and Goodie Mob.
In the 1970s, DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and the first rhythmic rappers lay the foundations of hip-hop in the South Bronx.
Bootleg tapes capture the energy of live battles, the Sugarhill Gang releases a Top 40 hit, and hip-hop meets art punk in downtown New York.
Run-D.M.C. and Def Jam bridge the rock-rap divide. Innovators like Marley Marl and Rakim usher in a new sound, and Public Enemy raises consciousness.
Ice-T and N.W.A put West Coast rap on the map, documenting the reality of life in South Central LA. Dr. Dre tops the charts with "The Chronic."
2 Live Crew popularizes the Miami bass sound and scores a victory for free speech. The Geto Boys put Houston on the map, paving the way for UGK.
In the Bay Area, Too $hort channels pimp culture, MC Hammer becomes rap's first pop star, and Digital Underground introduces the world to Tupac Shakur.
KRS-One makes his mark at New York's legendary Latin Quarter club. A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul cultivate an Afrocentric, jazzy style.
In the early 1990s, a new wave of hardcore East Coast artists emerges, led by Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and the Notorious B.I.G.