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Explore the History of Bay Area Hip-Hop

This timeline of Bay Area hip-hop history is a living, evolving collection of key events from the past five decades. Explore by filtering or by decade to discover big cultural-impact moments as well as small acts that had a ripple effect over time. Know of something that should be included? We want to hear from you.

Contributors: Gabe Meline, Eric Arnold, Nastia Voynovskaya, Pendarvis Harshaw

Illustration of man with large afro holding microphone, surrounded by small photos of Betty Davis, building ruins, Sun Ra, the Black Resurgents and women of the Black Panther party.

Image credits (clockwise from upper left): Just Sunshine Records; Warner Bros. Records; ABC-Dunhill Records; 'The Jay Payton Show' courtesy AAMLO; Prikl Jones courtesy BAMPFA. Illustration of Sly Stone by Noah Haytin/NOH8TIN.

’60s - ’70s

The social, political and musical building blocks of Bay Area hip-hop

Illustration of man in white T-shirt wearing a beeper and gold chain, surrounded by small photos of MC Hammer, a newspaper headline about crack, a Home Turf logo, Motocycle Mike and graffiti artists against a colorful wall.

Image credits (clockwise from upper left): Bustin' Records; Oakland Tribune archive; KRON-4; Hodisk Records; James Prigoff archive. Illustration of Too Short by Noah Haytin/NOH8TIN.


An exciting new art form finds its sound, style and voice

Illustration of a man in large jacket and ball cap with glasses, surrounded by small photos of the Conscious Daughters, Mike Dream Francisco, Saafir, The Coup and the Invisibl Scratch Piklz.

Image credits (clockwise from upper left): Thud Rumble LTD; Anthony Pidgeon/Getty Images; 'The Dream Kontinues'/courtesy photo; Alex Asher Daniel/Skyfre Productions; Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns. Illustration of E-40 by Noah Haytin/NOH8TIN.


The golden era of major players, mobb music and global attention

Illustration of a man in backwards baseball cap and gold chain, surrounded by small photos of Mac Dre, Mystic, Turf Fienz, Keak Da Sneak and a car in a sideshow.

Image credits (clockwise from upper left): Ray Tamarra/Getty Images; Bay Curious/YouTube; Thizz Entertainment; Good Vibe Recordings; YAK Films. Illustration of Mistah FAB by Noah Haytin/NOH8TIN.


Lemme tell you ’bout this hyphy movement we got goin’ in the Bay

Image of a woman in track pants and Fila visor, holding a microphone, surrounded by Lil B, Chinaka Hodge, a mural of Oscar Grant, Kehlani and Nef the Pharoah.

Image credits (clockwise from upper left): Artist photo; Stephen Hawk; Sonja Hutson/KQED; Estefany Gonzalez/KQED; courtesy Nef the Pharoah. Illustration of Kamaiyah by Noah Haytin/NOH8TIN.


Digital platforms, new aesthetics, and it don’t stop… ’til infinity