80′s Rap, Gold Chains and Sneakers
By the mid-80s rap had entered what is often referred to as its “Golden Age”. With it came mainstream success for artists like LL. Cool J, Beastie Boys, and Run DMC, all of which were featured on radio stations and MTV. This period, which began roughly around 1986 with the release of Run DMC’s cover version of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” was noted for its heavy use of sampling and often controversial lyrics.
The mid-80s also saw the emergence of West Coast rap. Two of the biggest West Coast acts that surfaced during that time were arguably Ice-T and NWA, the latter of which is often cited as having created the sub-genre, gangsta rap. After the release of NWA’s 1988 debut album, “Straight Outta Compton,” West Coast rap enjoyed a period of prominence that lasted well into the early 90s, with artists like Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, and Dr. Dre reaching unparalleled commercial success.