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As a complete exploration of the origins of gangster rap and as a historical account of a genre that inspired a movement in the eighties with rappers like Ice-T and rap groups like N.W.A., Baker reveals that although gangster rap was made popular with West Coast influence, rapper Schoolly D was the first artist to create the first gangster rap song. Explaining why he wanted to write the book, Soren says:
Well, my favorite rapper of all time is Schoolly D and he’s the one that created gangster rap and I’ve been listening to rap since I was a little kid. I’ve been studying it since ’85, when I first started listening to rap. And then gangster rap became..I love all forms of rap but I think I really connected with gangster rap for a lot of different reasons. And then Schoolly D being the pioneer and creator of it, I really gravitated toward him.
Baker’s new book not only explores the history of gangster rap but it also highlights pivotal moments in the hip hop culture that continued to influence the sound of rap music and the impact many rappers have had on the movement. Not only exploring those rappers prominent in gangster rap but Baker’s efforts also showcases artists whose music was placed on the outer spectrum of hip-hop.
Watch the entire interview below: