L.A. hip-hop is strongly identified with gangsta rap, and that genre is mostly identified with its rappers and their outsized personas. But the classic Los Angeles albums wouldn't be what they are without the incredible sonic textures that define them, the funk, electro, rock, and Latin influences that give them their vitality, their urgency.
The West Coast sound is immediately identifiable, and it's what makes our hip-hop simultaneously menacing and warm. Here, then, are the ten local producers who gave us tapes full of dope beats to bump when strolling through our hoods. -Ben Westhoff
10. Egyptian Lover
The breakout star from the seminal mobile disco crew, Uncle Jamm's Army, the Egyptian Lover didn't invent electro-rap, but he built its pyramid of Khufu. The West Coast's answer to Afrika Bambaataa, Greg Broussard defined afro-centricity, funk, and freaks for the pre-gangsta rap generation. The Egyptian Lover blended 808 slaps, Kraftwerk, and enough jheri curl juice and gold chains to pimp out and power a Delorean. His up-tempo sound lives on in everyone from Dam-Funk to the Black Eyed Peas. Even today, you can play "Egypt Egypt" and the walls will start to sweat. -Jeff Weiss