Because of gang affiliations and gang culture being so pervasive out west.. 'dis' records aren't perceived or received the same way out west as they maybe back east.. It ain't about mc battling especially when you start capping and don't know some one...For one, it messes with people's livelihood and for many out here on the west coast hip hop artist who have there own labels and publishing companies hip hop is a business as well as an art form. Unflattering remarks can effect record sales. If that happens or looks like it can happen then it's all about gettin it on... Almost every dis war I've seen between west coast groups has led to some serious confrontations... For many, the rule of thumb has been, if you dis we fight next time I see ya.. Hence when dissing between west coast artists show up on vinyl, folks have made moves behind the scenes to stop any potential drama. Things get taken on a very personal level if not by the artist definitely his fans.

That's why I have to wonder when prominent east coast artist like AZ come out and start dissing. Why would pop off like that ? It's not just a dis to 40..but to all his fans who seen him struggle in this business for the past 10 years and work his butt off to get to his platinum success.. A dis to the artist is a dis to the fans.. that's how its taken. No one dissed AZ for his success...and no one tripped when his record was played 10 times a day on commercial radio. He got his props for putting out a good song like Sugar Hill..and here he comes dissing one of the Bay Area's most popular artists.

The thing that will help alleviate some of this tension will be for folks to drop the NY intolerant attitude when talking about hip hop. Don't say things like the west coast is not real hip hop and the west coast is all gangsta music while listening to east coast acts like Mobb Deep, Biggie, Jay Z and Wu-Tang talk about inner city street life all the time in their rhymes..These artist talk about selling drugs.. shootin' other brothers.. and hitting skins..Some go so far as to pretend they are down with the Mafia.. If that ain't fake then what is?

Remember it was acts like Run DMC who introduced many of us to the 'virtues' of drinking Ole English 40 ounce and the importance of being hard. Others like Schoolly D rapped about smokin' weed and being down with a gang..Heck, KRS-One came out with a gangsta album when he dropped his first lp Criminal Minded. Here he spoke about how he loved his nine millimeter. He even had a cover depicting him and Scott La Rock with a gun. So when west coast acts come out rappin' about what their street life culture is about, how are they are suddenly ruining rap?

The other thing that needs to be dropped is this east coast criticism of west coast artists selling hip hop out because they're making money. To me, it sounds like jealousy. Everyone from Ice Cube to Hammer is an artist. They do what they do and they're responsive to their fans.. This has always been a part of hip hop from day one. The only difference was in '78 artists collected props and hand claps and in '96 they collect money. If folks could've collected money in '78 they certainly would've.. Nevertheless, rappers did what they needed to do to get props..even if it meant wearing outrageous costumes, doing dance routines or harmonizing their raps. Artists like GM Flash, Afrika Bambaatta and The Force MCs and later MDs weren't considered sellouts for appealing to their fans so why are today's west coast artists any different?

Many of these east coast pioneers performed at ritzy upscale clubs in places around NY's Greenwhich Village.. ie The Roxy, Club Mars etc.. were they sellouts for taking hip hop to an audience outside the hood? They weren't then so why are they now when west coast artists do this?

West coast artists understand that they're the one's creating the music..and they deserve to get paid..especially since everyone else within the music BUSINESS is. Don't front on someone for getting paid especially when he's doing his craft. If east coast artists don't wanna get paid that's on them..but the fact that folks are signed to major record labels by default means they are an integral part of the money making machinery within hip hop. You might as well go on and get paid. Heck everyone from Nas to Wu-Tang rap about collecting their CREAM.

Finally let's dispel this notion of west coast artists having one style..gangsta rap.. You constantly here east coast critics stereotyping the west on this tip. Just like Biggie isn't the only east coast rapper, Snoop and Ice Cube aren't the only west coast artists... They do what they do because they're successful...for whatever reasons... But the west is very diverse. There all sorts of artists with rhyme skillz...artists like Ras Kass, Aceyalone, The BUMS, Pharcyde, Saafir and Soul Of Mischief etc...Continued conversations from east coast critics about west coast rappers lacking skillz continues to show that disrespect... Again it's the uninformed speaking from a point of ignorance...

Try and think of this conflict from this angle, when the NY Times or some other newspaper continually writes negative stories about Blacks or young people or women.. these groups will get stirred and demand more balance information.. If that doesn't happen they'll scream louder..and start kicking up dust..Eventually they'll get frustrated and stop showing any respect to the NY Times... This is what has happened with this whole east west Coast thing.. Its been NY djs and critics abusing their power... when folks start showing respect and began embracing their west coast brethren a whole lot of folks will stop yelling 'west side'.

Let's keep it strange in '96...
Davey D

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