If You Don’t Know, Now You Know: The Beast Coast Movement

The Beast Coast Movement. No, you didn’t read wrong. And no this isn’t a post about Bethany Consentino, lead singer of Best Coast. This is about a movement bubbling in the heart of the Big Apple. The term was used by NY rapper Joey Bada$$ in his song “Killuminati” They say I’m evil cause I trained my ego to see gold / See, no seagulls couldn’t see these goals, please / It’s the return of the beast coast. From the Pro Era Tumblr page: “BeastCoast is a family of rappers. Sort of how there was ah “Zulu Nation”  with Tribe, Leaders of the New School, De La Soul, etc…” A Google Search of the term “Beast Coast” won’t lead you to any groundbreaking information. It did however, lead me to a link to an Urban Dictionary entry with definitions such as: “East Coast is the Beast Coast. Fuck West may be the best but we Beast at everything & we taking over. With NY, Boston, Newark, Charleston, Atlanta, Montgomery, & Miami we are fucking awesome.” A more definitive definition, provided by an Urban Dictionary user defines the term as, “The Generation of 90s Kids Taking Over the East Coast, which they call themselves the Beast Coast. Better than the East Coast Kids who call themselves the Best Coast.” A NY 90s baby myself, I’ve always had a love for rap music & the influx of rappers hailing from NY has me more than excited & too hype for the future of the Beast Coast Movement. I don’t seem to be the only one enthusiastic about it all.

Many of the rappers within the Beast Coast Movement operate as collectives. Two or more people within a group that consists of in-house producers all the way to in-house photographers. The collective format isn’t completely unfamiliar within Hip Hop. Collectives have ranged from Wu-Tang Clan to Odd Future. Here are some of the artists within the Beast Coast & could even be called the best of the best of what NY has to offer:

THE PROGRESSIVE ERA:

The Progressive Era consists of High School friends Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly, Capital Steez, Chuck Strangers, & Kirk Knight just to name a few. You can see their roster here. I first became aware of Pro Era, for short, after hearing Survival Tactics ft. Capital Steez, a track from Joey’s mixtape 1999. My favorite track on the mixtape is “Suspect” just about every member of the Era raps on it. In unison, they give fair warning. “Suspect niggas don’t come outside / You might get you wig pushed back tonight / Said I deserve my respect / Brains don’t matter if your wig get split on some third eye shit /” Which is then repeated in the last line, ushering in a new member of the crew to rap. Too dope. I definitely see a lot coming from the Pro Era crew in the near future. “Stay chuned.”

FLATBUSH ZOMBIES -

A favorite of mine, the Zombies consist of Meechy Darko, Jewice, & ‘The Architect’ Erick Arc Elliott. Although, they’re a group of three, they could be considered a collective. Their mixtape, D.R.U.G.S, meaning Death & Reincarnation Under God’s Supervision. (Explanation here about 3 minutes in.) dropped this summer after much hype surrounding the group, after they dropped the visuals for their song, “Thug Waffle.” Sticking to the collective idea themselves, every song (except one produced by Meech himself) is produced by in-house producer & rapper, Erick Arc Elliott. Not to say they won’t collaborate with other producers in the future, but Erick Arc Elliott is definitely holding it down right now. (Spell his name wrong, fuck you.) I became aware of the trio after hearing their song, Face-Off. I played the song out loud & was reprimanded by my mother. “I love weed nigga / I got a green thumb / She fuck me nigga / Until she bleed cum.” My mother thought it was disgusting, but I loved it. With the recent release of their track “The Hangover” & their thorough videos I know it’s only just begun..

THE UNDERACHIEVERS -

Okay, so I’m not going to act like I was super up on the Underachievers, because I wasn’t. However, I’m happy I am now. Plus, how could I omit a crew that references the Beast Coast Movement in their song, Herb Shuttles. “Beast Coast, we on the rise.” Further solidifying the obvious fact that the rap game is evolving & amazing talent is coming out of NY, including the Underachievers themselves. The duo consists of Issa Dash & AK, hailing from Brooklyn like their fellow Beast Coast rapper friends, the Flatbush Zombies & Pro Era. They strike me as very smart & sure of themselves, but not in an arrogant kind of way. They refer to themselves as Indigo Children & a quick Google Search gave me this definition: “Indigo Children are highly sensitive beings with a clear sense of self-definition and a strong feeling that they need to make a significant difference in the world.” What better way to make a difference than through music? Issa seems to agree. “Music is the most influential shit on the planet right now, like period, there’s no getting over that. That’s universal language, it goes further than just the music.. That’s what people hold onto ‘nshit. It controls people’s emotions.” They’re definitely interesting & I’m excited to see where they go. “Gold Soul Theory” is definitely my favorite “Holy shit, I’m a motherfucking King nigga! / Black skin, gold soul, born to win nigga.”

A$AP MOB -

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m pretty sure you’re at least somewhat aware of Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky. (The A$AP stands for Always & Strive & Prosper. Described by Rocky as “Something positive for people who don’t have shit.”) When I heard Peso & later his LIVELOVEA$AP  mixtape with tracks on it like “Trilla” featuring A$AP Twelvyy & A$AP Nast.. “Style wild like my nigga Common after Erykah.” & Further reaffirming what we already knew, “East Coast muthafuckers making all the noise, all the noise.” I realized that the A$AP Mob didn’t just consist of Rocky & that the dudes I saw in the Peso video made music themselves. I don’t know how many people are in A$AP Mob, but you can see that Rocky rolls deep. You can tell that it is a brotherhood, a commonality that the A$AP Mob has with the other members of the Beast Coast Movement. Late August they released their mixtape Lords Never Worry. (How wavy is the cover though?) & the best song on the mixtape in my humble opinion is Bath Salts. Bath Salts is a collaboration between the Flatbush Zombies, A$AP Ant (who they’ve “known since the MySpace days”.) & A$AP Rocky.  The track is pure gold, Meech starts it off strong with, “The Highest high I’m Ayatollah / Rubber on my dick allergic to baby strollersss.” Each rapper holds their own. Their specific rapping styles mesh together in really unique ways.

WORLD’S FAIR -

“Pick up your piece, G. I’m representing from Queens.” The first line on their song, “Company Fair” let’s you know from the jump. Hailing from Queens, the collective consists of rappers Remy Banks, Cody B. Ware, Nasty Nigel, Prince SAMO,  Lansky Jones, Jeff Donna etc..  The song is each rapper taking turns with a hard hitting beat that fellow Queens rapper 50 Cent would deem rider music, drive with Company’s Fair bumping so loud you might just lose your backseat. Each rapper’s flow is completely different, there’s an obvious distinction between each rapper. Cody B. Ware has a slight accent & with emphasis during certain lines, “ain’t nothing PG!” &  has a voice completely different than Lansky who follows him with a more relaxed approach to his verses. However, the whole track flows in away that there’s isn’t a pause or hiccup between each of them when they take their turn.  Company’s Fair has gotten much play in my house & with a track, “Tip Jar” on the Fool’s Gold compilation Loosie’s along with their Beast Coastal teammates, the crew “levitating Queens” with them is definitely one to keep an eye on.

SMOKE DZA  -

Whether or not he down with the Beast Coast crew, he’s definitely connected. The Flatbush Zombies toured with him on the “He Has Risen” tour with Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire. DZA is from Harlem & even collaborated on a song with fellow Harlemite A$AP Rocky called ‘4 Loko.’ He also references Beast Coast on “Gotham Fucking City,” off his mixtape K.O.N.Y, that features Progressive Era rapper, Joey Bada$$. “No grammatical errors in the conglomerate era / No time for setbacks cause we all on the better.”

BODEGA BAMZ-

Bodega Bamz is a rapper who rolls with the Tanboys. A collective of Latinos who are making ripples in the rap game right now. He recently dropped his Strictly For Me P.A.P.I.Z mixtape & has collaborated with some of the Beast Coast artists himself. I found out about Bamz through his collaboration with the Flatbush Zombies & A$AP Ant & I admire him for trying to “unite the whole Hispanic Community.” With the void left by Big Pun, Terror Squad, etc. there’s definitely a space in Hip Hop for Bamz & the Tanboys & how they fill that space is what piques my interest the most. Keep an eye out on that.

The best part about the Beast Coast moment is the youthful vibe of it all. It’s refreshing & it definitely is really cool that the members within the movement know one another. They’re brothers. They’re family. Brethren. & there’s no competition between them. They all unite & bond over a love for an art form. Hip-Hop. It’s about having fun, but also bringing change & being influential. They offer insight into the mind of the 90s baby & where we stand as a generation. Yes, we.. The way in which they use their specific artistic medium (rapping for the most part) varies. The music doesn’t all sound the same. There’s something for everyone there. It could be considered an arts movement. A renaissance, a rebirth, like those of the past.. The best part is that it’s something I can relate to. It’s a movement I can watch from the outside & support while simultaneously seeing myself in it. I have a love for it & that love grows with knowing that the artists themselves definitely love what they’re doing. More talent is coming out of NY on the daily (maybe, we’ll see women collectives). The culture is expanding & growing. The best part? It’s happening in my own backyard. I personally don’t think it’s just limited to music. Fashion is a major factor with Beast Coast affiliates The Madbury Club & Joey Bada$$’s upcoming Ecko collaboration. And that’s exciting. The Beast Coast Movement should definitely be documented.. It’ll be something that’ll be remembered in the future. Young people doing it for themselves with NYC as the backdrop & serving as a creative space. “Our generation is the change that’s coming ‘nshit. Our generation is breaking down the barriers society has placed on us for so many years.” - Issa Dash. And the Beast Coast Movement is a cornerstone for that change. For the youth in the East Coast & potentially all over the world.

6 thoughts on “If You Don’t Know, Now You Know: The Beast Coast Movement

  1. very interesting article! i’m been into beast coast artistes for a few months now and i was glad to read an article about my fav rappers of the moment. peace

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