Beast Coast Rap


Pablo Hewitt


It’s been quite some time since names like Jay-Z, Nas, Notorious BIG, the Wu Tang Clan, and Big Daddy Kane were making a name for East Coast hip hop. In recent years, the West Coast has been dominating the market, with big names like Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q rising to popularity in the 2010’s. But now a new movement called Beast Coast has taken the East Coast by storm, even getting attention from big names like Jay-Z.

The movement quickly has been growing, appealing to younger Hip Hop fans looking for a new artist to idolize like the golden age of Hip Hop. Evan Sorger, a senior at Ipswich High, believes that, “beast coast is a movement; it’s more than just a fad,” which is shown by the continued flocking towards the Beast Coast from the youth of today. The movement is made up of four different rap groups: Pro Era, The Underachievers, Phony Ppl and Flatbush Zombies, all with their own unique styles and influences. As Sadie Goldfarb says, “It has a very cool flair to it. It brings some aspects from earlier styles of hip hop, it gets people excited and anxious for the next verse of lyrical genius.” 

The most popular group is probably in the Beast Coast movement is Pro Era. They have raised in popularity after several of members released popular mixtapes. The main rappers of the group are: Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly, Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, Dyemond Lewis, Dessy Hinds, A La $ole, Rawle, Dirty Sanchez, Ali and T’nah Apex. Kirk Knight and Powers Pleasent are also the main producers of Pro Era. The unofficial leader of pro era, Joey Bada$$, is one of the biggest names on the East Coast right now. As one Keene State student, Alex Jean Charles says “Joey’s on the come up; he is going to be the next big rapper”. He released his debut album B4.DA.$$ on January 20th, which received high praise for the media and sold 58,000 copies in the first week. Joey has links to big names like Jay-Z,  who tried to sign him when he was just 17. Joey however rejected Jay-Z’s offer because he wanted to create his own empire much like Jay-Z has done over the years. Sadly Pro Era saw the loss of their founding member, Capital Steez, who committed suicide in December of 2012 at only 19 years old. There are many theories online to the cause of his suicide, but most agree that a mental disorder may have troubled his mind. Although the death of Capital Steez was a huge loss to group, Pro Era has been growing in popularity and are critically acclaimed in the rap community. 

The next group gaining popularity are the collective group Clockwork Indigo. A coalition of the Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers. Flatbush Zombies consists of three members Meechy Darko, Juice and Erick Arc Elliott. The groups members are from the neighbourhood of Flatbush in Brooklyn where they met. The group were already friends before high school, Erick Arc Elliott and Meechy Darko actually lived on the same block growing up. Flatbush Zombies have released two mixtapes; their most recent mixtape, BetteroffDEAD has  received high praise from critics and generated them a lot of popularity. They are known for their intense beats which are produced by Erick Arc Elliott himself and impressive verses which has generated a loyal fanbase. The second group in Clockwork Indigo are a duo called the Underachievers who are made up of Issa Gold and AK. Much like the Flatbush Zombies, Issa Gold and AK grew up in Flatbush and even grew up only a few blocks away from each other. The duo are known for their psychedelic instrumentals and their unique lyrics. They have released several projects but are best known for their two mixtapes Indigoism and Lords of Flatbush which were released in 2013. The collective group of Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers make up Clockwork Indigo which released a collective EP (Extended Play) in 2014. If you like high energy beats with great beats then I would definitely check out both of these groups.

The last group in the beast coast movement is the Phony Ppl. Although they lack attention other groups have, they still produce very good music. Phony Ppl are made up of many members Elbee Thrie (Vocals), Sheriff PJ (Vocals), Elijah Rawk(Lead Guitar), Matt “Maffyuu” Byas – (Drums), Aja Grant(Keyboards), Bari Bass(Bass guitar). The members of Phony Ppl grew up in Brooklyn, as well and knowing many other members of beast coast since childhood. They mix rapping with soulful instrumentals and mellow harmonies,a nice change from most of the upbeat performers in Beast Coast. Personally, I recommend listening to these rappers because although lacking attention, they do not lack skill, producing excellent music.

Photo: Joey Bada$$ performing at the Paradise Rock Club