Gangsta rap or gangster rap, initially called reality rap, emerged in the mid- to late 1980s as a controversial hip-hop subgenre whose lyrics assert the culture and values typical of American street gangs and street hustlers. Many gangsta rappers flaunt associations with real street gangs, like the Crips, Bloods, and Black Disciples. Gangsta rap's pioneers were Schoolly D of Philadelphia in 1985, Ice-T of Los Angeles in 1986, and especially N.W.A in 1988. In 1993, via record producer Dr. Dre, rapper Snoop Dogg and their G-funk sound, gangsta rap took the rap genre's lead and became mainstream, popular music.
Gangsta rap has been recurrently accused of promoting disorderly conduct and broad criminality, especially assault, homicide, and drug dealing, as well as misogyny, promiscuity, and materialism. Gangsta rap's defenders have variously characterized it as artistic depictions but not literal endorsements of real life in American ghettos, or suggested that some lyrics voice rage against social oppression or police brutality, and have often accused critics of hypocrisy and racial bias. Still, gangsta rap has been assailed even by some black public figures, including Spike Lee, pastor Calvin Butts and activist C. Delores Tucker.