The gangster sub-genre of hip hop is primarily referred to as the voice of the African American community of the United States through which they express their different desires and resentment for the government as well as law enforcement agencies.
This particular genre of music gained popularity during the 80s all over the world and to this today its popularity has not declined. The epicenter of the music that is made under the banner of gangster rap focuses primarily upon the life of the violent life that prevails in the city ghettos of the different cities of US. (Owen, 1995)
The criminalistic theme of this genre has made it contentious, vulnerable to criticism and popular at the same time because of its crux that makes music and songs on subjects like rape, drug dealing, sex, vandalism, crime, street gangs, materialism and alcoholism.
Despite of the criticism that they have encountered musicians of this genre have always defended themselves by saying that their music and songs basically intends to provide an inner picture of the city ghettos and the conditions in which people survive. With its unique theme, distinctive music beat and lyrical composition gangster rap was able to entrench its roots within a very short span of time.
Today with people like Eminem, 50 cent and Snoopdog extending the legacy of gangster rap their music and popularity has spans all over the world. In addition to this it is also important to mention here due to the distinctive theme of the music and the message that it intends to disseminate it has basically introduced people to a horrendous reality to which they were previously ignorant about, hence because of this it has further cemented the foundations of its popularity and importance in modern mainstream music.
Furthermore in concomitance to its popularity the music genre has also developed a profound impact which is easily manifested with the presence of various other male and female singers who have adopted to sing and make this kind of music. (Cole, 1991)
Conflict between Notorious Big and 2pac
While discussing the genre of gangster rap it would be unfair if some of the kingpins of this genre are not mentioned. Among all others two of them occupy a very prominent position because of their music as well as their rivalry.
These two were notorious BIG and 2pac Shakur. Raised in Brooklyn, New York Notorious Big or Christopher George Latore Wallace emerged in mainstream rap music when this genre of music was pre-dominantly ruled by musicians and singers from the Western end of the country.
It was during that time when Notorious began to gain fame and thus became a central character in the East-West hip hop feud. Another key character involved in this feud was 2pac Shakur who was Biggies former associated but then parted ways after he openly accused Biggie and the founder of Uptown records Andre Harell of having prior knowledge regarding the bank robbery that took place.
Even though the charges could not be proved, it was clear that the battle between the kingpins of East and Western hip hoppers was out in the open. The entire feud intensified when in his very famous song Hit Em Up 2pac Shakur explicitly claimed of having sex with Biggies wife and also said that Wallace imitates his style of singing and song composition. Biggie refused to comment on the matter which ended after a couple of days with the assassination of 2pac in Las Vegas. (Saddik, 2003)
Even though Biggie refused to have any interference in the entire case he also had to pay a heavy price in the form of his life by becoming a victim to the very gangster music culture that he had pioneered.