Questions: Sunday, Sept. 4

Spike as Rapper: Dramaturg’s Thoughts

Since there is little in the play to suggest that Spike’s attitude or style is “gangsta,” I think the key question here is this: Does Spike see his rap as a quick and easy way to become rich and famous OR is he a driven artist who really needs rap to express himself (but wouldn’t mind the perqs that success would bring)? If fame and fortune are his objectives, then a mega-star like Jay-Z seems a likely model; although “east coast,” Jay-Z still was prolific and the #2 wealthiest rapper in 2005. If Spike is truly an artist (if only at heart), then Dr. Dre would be a more likely role model: Dr. Dre is “west coast,” wealthly, and famous for his work ethic and perfectionism. Given Spike’s sexual activity in the play, he might be more influenced by Snoop Dogg and his music videos.

Top Hip-Hop Songs of 2005

  1. The Game ft. 50 Cent – Hate It Or Love It
  2. Aasim – Hip-Hop 101
  3. Three-6-Mafia ft. Young Buck, Eightball & MJG – Stay Fly
  4. Common – Testify
  5. Paul Wall – Sittin’ Sidewayz
  6. Young Jeezy ft. Jay-Z & Fat Joe – Go Crazy (Remix)
  7. Zion-I ft. Talib Kweli – Temperature
  8. Gorillaz ft. De La Soul – Feel
  9. Jay-Z – Dear Summer
  10. Kanye West -Diamonds (from Sierra Leone)

Among the most successful and wealthy rappers of 2005 are 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. 50 Cent is from Queens (NYC) and categorized as “East Coast Rap” and “Gangsta Rap.” Jay Z is from Brooklyn (NYC) and categorized as “East Coast Rap” and “Battle Rap.” Kanye is from Atlanta and spent his early 20s in Chicago. He is categorized as “Midwest Hip-Hop” and “Conscious Rap.”

Top 10 Wealthiest Rappers in 2005

  1. P. Diddy, $346 Million
  2. Jay-Z, $340 Million
  3. Russell Simmons, $325 Million
  4. Damon Dash, $200 Million
  5. Neptunes, $155 Million
  6. Dr. Dre, $150 Million
  7. Ice Cube, $145 Million
  8. Eminem, $110 Million
  9. 50 Cent, $100 Million
  10. Nelly, $60 Million

West Coast Rap/Hip-Hop

More than just ageographical division in the hip-hop world, the split between the East and West coasts represents a divergence in both style and content. Although influenced by hip-hop forefathers like Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambatta, West Coast Rap acts stray further from Old-School Rap than their East Coast rivals. They use funkier, stylized beats and rhythms to support smoothly-delivered, melodic rhymes. West Coasters were also the first to bring the problems and perks of the “Gangsta” lifestyle to the forefront of hip-hop culture. Although the line between east and west is slowly dissolving as rap continues to evolve, there is still a distinct West Coast lineage that runs from seminal rappers N.W.A. to artists like Snoop Dogg and Vallejo, California’s E-40.