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East Coast hip hop is a regional subgenre of hip hop music that originated in New York City during the 1970s. Hip hop is recognized to have originated and evolved first in the East Coast. The style in the East Coast emerged as a definitive subgenre after artists from other regions of the United States emerged with different styles.

In contrast to the simplistic rhyme pattern and scheme utilized in old school hip hop, East Coast hip hop has been noted for its emphasis on lyrical dexterity. It has also been characterized by multi-syllabic rhymes, complex wordplay, a continuous free-flowing delivery and intricate metaphors. While East Coast hip hop does not have a uniform sound or standard style, it tends to gravitate to aggressive beats and sample collages. The aggressive and hard-hitting beats of the form were emphasized by such acts as EPMD and Public Enemy, while artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick were noted for their lyrical skill. Lyrical themes throughout the history of East Coast hip hop have ranged from lyrical consciousness by such artists as Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest to mafioso rap themes by rappers such as Raekwon and Kool G Rap.

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