See also:

*Don't Call Him Country. Everlast is Hip-Hop, Dammit.

*Top 20 Greatest L.A. Rap Albums Of All Time: The Complete List

As a teenager, Everlast was a graf writer. He made a couple tapes with his buddies, and the next thing he knew he was part of Ice-T's Rhyme Syndicate crew. He, Danny Boy and DJ Lethal formed House of Pain, and the DJ Muggs'-produced “Jump Around” prompted a label bidding war and propelled House of Pain into hip-hop history.

But Everlast was not a fad. “I've made a living making music for 20-some odd years now,” he says, surrounded by graffiti in his Studio City studio. “Not a lot of people can say that.” But though his new album is drenched in whiskey and blues, he asserts that he's still as hip-hop as ever. To prove it, he told us about the top five West Coast rap albums that influenced him.

5. Ice Cube

Amerikkka's Most Wanted

“[Classic] even though he went to New York to do that one. And a couple of Ice Cube's albums could make this list. Death Certificate could easily be on here.”

4. Cypress Hill

Cypress Hill

“Their first album changed the game and saved hip hop at a time when it was really boring. There were a couple of times in hip hop that there was a lull. Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back saved it at one point, and five, four years later it went through another lull, and Cypress Hill stepped up. Anybody that is a fan of hip-hop music tells you the first time they heard that they didn't get chills? I don't know what's wrong with 'em.”

3. Tupac

2Pacalypse Now

“This was probably the first one as far as what influenced me. I was already doin' it when he first came out and I remember I liked that one a lot. I knew 'Pac. Real sweet dude. I wasn't around for a lot of that craziness at the end. I was kinda there in the middle of his career. He lived right down the block from me here in the Valley.

I don't think anything about dude was fake. I think, toward the end, he was playing up–like the whole catch-22 Hunter S. Thompson had, where he had to live up to his drugged-out party animal [reputation]. Tupac had built this image that was larger-than-life, Black Panther, thugged-out, street hero character that he had to live up to, and it greatly added to the time and place he passed on. I believe firmly you can call shit into existence. I don't mean it in a spooky, devilish way, but it's just like people believe in the philosophy of positive visualization.”

1. Eazy-E (tie)


“It was the same era as N.W.A.–Ice Cube wrote it, Dr. Dre produced it. 'Eazy Duz It' is on that record, 'Radio' is on that record. A lot of classic hits.”

1. Ice -T (tie)


“I was around when that was being made. I watched, learned a lot. This would probably be on there even more than 'Pac, cause [Tupac and I] were peers. Wild to think about some of the places I've been and things I've seen in L.A. Doing shit in World on Wheels in Mid-City and Skateland in Compton. This was an accident. I'm here as a white kid opening up for the likes of Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick and N.W.A. cause I'm down with Ice-T. I was just coming in the game then. I opened for them. They were larger than life.”

LA Weekly