I’m honestly not sure if West Coast Gangster Hip-Hop will ever die. New artists keep coming in, changing the genre, innovating the sound, and evolving the culture. I wonder if Ice-T, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, or even Snoop knew that this two decade-plus dominance was in the future for the then-budding Gangster rap genre. Skeme is probably one of the closest to this original sound as it gets these days. Even though the sound is far removed from classic old school G-Funk, the swag is larger than ever.
The Statement was my introduction to Skeme, a mixtape full of Southern-influenced bangers that hit just as hard now as they did a couple years ago (the project dropped in 2011). This new wave of West Coast Hip-Hop brings along the trunk rattles and bounce, which are characteristics typical of Southern style. The third coast has been influential enough to mold the East Coast and West Coast sounds in the past 15 years, but each coast still maintains their identity. Skeme understands this, making perfect music to play in your car.
You know what I mean. It’s that type of music that relaxes you and puts you in a good mood as you cruise past the world at “reasonable” speeds (whatever you think is, of course).
“We On (Brand New Day)”, “That Good”, and “I Can’t Lose” are just jams, plain and simple. “Westside Rooftops ft. G. Austin”, “Let it Breathe”, and “When You See Me” show his pop sensiblity. Plus, to top it all of, his Dom Kennedy-assisted “No Stress” is a smooth song with a catchy hook. Versatility is clearly in the tool kit for this rising West Coast sensation, and he continues to prove it with releases such as his latest project, Ingleworld.
Skeme is on the rise, while West Coast Gangster Hip-Hop continues to stay at the top.
Take a trip back to a couple of years ago. Do yourself a favor and listen to The Statement.