5.04 Quiz: Hip-Hop Music Part 3

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


It’s time for another quiz! This time, we’re testing your knowledge of hip-hop music. Part 3 of our series will focus on the years 2000-2009. Good luck!

The Origins of Hip-Hop

Hip-hop is a music genre that originated in the United States in the 1970s. The term is often used to refer to rap music, but it can also refer to other genres of music that are related to hip-hop culture.

The Bronx

The origins of hip-hop can be traced back to the Bronx in the 1970s. Hip-hop is a type of music that is characterized by its use of sampling, rhythm, and rhyme. It developed from two other genres of music: disco and rock. DJ Kool Herc, a pioneer of hip-hop, is credited with creating the genre by using two turntables to play extended breaks of songs. These extended breaks, or “raps”, became the basis for what would later become known as rap music.

DJ Kool Herc

DJ Kool Herc is a Jamaican-American DJ who is credited with inventing hip-hop music. Herc, born Clive Campbell, started playing records at block parties in the Bronx in the early 1970s. He developed a style of playing two copies of the same record at the same time, extending the instrumental break in the middle of the song, which became known as “the break.” This style of DJing was soon adopted by other DJs and became the basis for hip-hop music.

The Rise of Gangsta Rap

In the late 1980s, a new type of rap music called gangsta rap began to emerge. Gangsta rap was characterized by its aggressive, often violent lyrics. The genre was popularized by artists such as N.W.A, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dogg.


N.W.A. (an acronym for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip hop group from Compton, California, which existed from 1986 to 1991. The group was controversial for their music’s explicit depictions of poverty, gang violence, drugs, promiscuity, and racism. They are widely considered one of the seminal groups in rap history, and their 1988 album Straight Outta Compton has been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The original lineup formed in 1986 consisted of Arabian Prince, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Yella, and MC Ren. Ice Cube was added as an additional member in 1987. In 1988, N.W.A released Straight Outta Compton on Eazy-E’s record label Ruthless Records to massive commercial and critical success; it is considered one of the greatest and most influential albums in the history of hip-hop music. The album featured three singles: “Fuck tha Police”, “Straight Outta Compton”, and “Gangsta Gangsta”.

Due to the success of Straight Outta Compton, N.W.A was accused by law enforcement agencies across the United States of advocating violence against police officers; their song “Fuck tha Police” in particular led to multiple protests from police organizations nationwide. In response to strong criticism aimed at both N.W.A and gangsta rap as a whole for glorifying crime and violence, Ice Cube left the group in 1989 and pursued a highly successful solo career; he would later state that he regretted leaving NWA as he felt he had been exploited by Eazy-E and Jerry Heller while with the group.[1][2] The remaining members released two more albums without Ice Cube: EFil4zaggin (1991) and Niggaz4Life (1991). Both albums were certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Upon its release Niggaz4Life became the first hardcore hip-hop album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.[3]

After tensions arose between Arabian Prince and Dre due to financial disagreements with Ruthless founder Eazy-E, Arabian Prince left the group in early 1991.[4][5] Despite being offered record deals from several major labels including Tommy Boy Records,[6] Dre chose not to sign with any label due to ongoing contract disputes with Eazy-E.[7] In October 1991, Dre began working with Suge Knight—owner of Death Row Records—and immediately started working on material for his first solo album The Chronic.[8][9] The album marked a significant change in direction for gangsta rap; instead of focusing on inner city crime like its predecessors such as Straight Outta Compton and AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted—both albums being blatantly critical towards law enforcement—Dre shifted his focus towards marijuana smoking and leisurely pursuits such as women.[10] Although it is not considered a classic like Straight Outta Compton or The Chronic due to its less serious lyrical content,[11][12] The Chronic is notable for establishing G-funk[13][14] as a prominent subgenre within gangsta rap; it also helped organize West Coast rap into a regional scene distinct from other areas such as New York City or Houston.[15][16].

Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre, born Andre Romelle Young, on February 18, 1965, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics, and was previously co-owner of Death Row Records. He has produced albums for and overseen the careers of many rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game, Kendrick Lamar, and Anderson .Paak. He is credited as a key figure in the popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music characterized by a distinctive synthesizer bass which became extremely popular in the early to mid-1990s.

The East Coast-West Coast Feud

The East Coast-West Coast Feud was a feud between the two American coasts that lasted throughout the 1990s. The two coasts were in competition with each other for the title of the best region for hip-hop music. The East Coast was home to acts such as the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas, while the West Coast was represented by artists like Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur. The feud came to a head when Tupac was killed in 1996.

Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur was born on June 16, 1971, in East Harlem, New York. His mother, Afeni Shakur, was a member of the Black Panther Party. Tupac’s birth name was Lesane Parish Crooks; he was later renamed after Túpac Amaru II, an 18th-century Peruvian revolutionary who was executed by the Spanish. Tupac’s father abandoned the family when he was five years old, and his parents divorced shortly thereafter. Tupac and his sister lived with their mother in New York City; they frequently moved to new apartments and schools because Afeni could not afford to pay rent or tuition for both children.

Tupac dropped out of high school in tenth grade but later obtained his GED while in prison. He began writing poetry and songs as a teenager, and he first developed an interest in rap music after hearing the Sugarhill Gang’s song “Rapper’s Delight.” He debuted as a rapper with the group Digital Underground in 1991; his first solo album, 2Pacalypse Now, was released that same year. In 1992, Tupac starred in the film Juice as Bishop, a young man who turns to crime to escape a difficult home life. The film received mixed reviews but is now considered a cult classic.

In September 1996, Tupac was shot four times during a robbery attempt in Las Vegas; he died six days later at the age of 25. His death remains shrouded in mystery; no arrests have ever been made in connection with the crime. At the time of his death, Tupac had sold over 75 million records worldwide and is considered one of the most influential rappers of all time.

Biggie Smalls

Biggie Smalls, also known as Notorious B.I.G., was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City. He is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time and is renowned for his storytelling abilities and vocal delivery. Biggie’s debut album, Ready to Die, was released in 1994 and is considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. After his untimely death in 1997, Biggie’s legend only grew, as his posthumous album, Life After Death, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified diamond by the RIAA.

The Legacy of Hip-Hop

Part 3 of the 5.04 Quiz on Hip-Hop Music will focus on the legacy of the genre. We will be discussing the different ways that hip-hop has been able to maintain its relevancy over the years. This quiz will also touch on the ways that hip-hop has been able to transcend its genre and become a dominant force in popular culture.


Jay-Z is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is one of the most successful hip-hop artists of all time, with 22 Grammy Awards and an estimated net worth of $1 billion. He is also the founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc Nation.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Jay-Z began his musical career in the early 1990s. He released his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996 to critical acclaim. Over the next few years, he released a number of successful albums, including Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998) and The Blueprint (2001). In 2003, he founded Roc-A-Fella Records with Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs. The label would go on to release some of Jay-Z’s most successful albums, including The Black Album (2003) and American Gangster (2007).

In 2008, Jay-Z was ranked by Forbes magazine as the wealthiest hip-hop artist in the world. In 2009, he founded the entertainment company Roc Nation. In 2013, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is currently working on a new album with producer Rick Rubin.

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed rappers of our generation. He first rose to prominence with his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city in 2012, which earned him seven Grammy nominations and ushered in a new era of conscious rap. In 2015, he released his follow-up album To Pimp a Butterfly, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. It won five Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album, and was hailed by President Barack Obama as “one of the best rap albums of all time.”

Lamar is known for his deeply personal lyrics and socially conscious messages. He often addresses issues of race and poverty in his music, and has said that he wants to use his platform to uplift marginalized communities. In 2017, he released DAMN., another critically acclaimed album that deals with themes of violence and despair in the black community.

Lamar is widely considered to be one of the greatest rappers alive today, and his influence can be seen in the work of many younger artists. He has inspired a new generation of hip-hop fans and continues to push the genre forward with his innovative style and powerful lyrics.

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