Mainstream Hip Hop




Alternative: Often eclectic rap that deviates from the traditional hardcore, gangsta, pop and party rap. Artists: Outkast, The Roots, Common, Black Eyed Peas, Michael Franti.

Bass: A fast-paced dance floor sound frequently associated with Miami and Atlanta, where deep bass accompanies beats that travel at breakneck speeds. Artists: DJ Magic Mike, Luke.

Chopped & Screwed: According to, Houston's DJ Screw had an uncanny mixing style where his records were pitched down to a slow and lumbering pace. Artists who have employed this style: Lil Flip, David Banner.

Crunk: A frenetic, energy-driven type of style specifically engineered for the dance floor. Artists: Lil' Jon & The Eastside Boyz, Three 6 Mafia.

East Coast: Or more specifically northeast U.S. sound, the first nationally recognized hip-hop epi-center. Dense, aggressive break beats — a dominant repetitive drum beat — but also jazz-oriented dusty-grooves. Artists: Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Nas, Talib Kweli.

Gangsta: An edgy and often profane hip-hop style where the common element is the content: gritty street tales that portray a dim reality where the artist can be the subject or the observer. Artists: 2pac, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks.

G-Funk: A specific sound that employs P-funk, melodic synthesizers and slow and steady grooves. This style is most identified with the West Coast gangsta aesthetic of the mid-1990s. Artists: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Warren G.

Golden Age: A period in hip-hop between 1986 and 1993. Many argue that the best hip-hop albums were recorded during this era. Artists from that period: Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim, Slick Rick.

Hardcore: Both a description of the content and of the sonic quality, which often has a minimalist sound bed of a sample and hard drumbeat. Artists: Jadakiss, DMX, Lil' Kim

Old School: Hip-hop at the beginning, before it became such a mainstream commodity. Artists: Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Kurtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Run D.M.C., The Fat Boys.

Pop Rap: Hip-hop music specifically tailored to have a radio-friendly, crossover type of appeal. Artists: P. Diddy, Will Smith.

Southern: The most identifiable elements are ''bounce'' beats and deep bass-grooves that often are party-centered, or can be created in the tradition of Southern soul and blues. Artists: Ludacris, David Banner, Lil' Flip, T.I.

Trip-Hop: Down-tempo soul, funk and jazz over a breakbeat. It's also a dance-based techno music, but set to a hip-hop groove. Artists: DJ Shadow, tricky, Morcheeba, Portishead.


One of the Greatest Lyricests of our time (Eminem)