Album: The War Report

Few things define 1996 more than the East Coast/West Coast rivalry, and few songs embody that rivalry better than “L.A. L.A.” by Capone-N-Noreaga. Tha Dogg Pound released their East Coast diss track “New York, New York” in Nov. 1995, complete with a video of them kicking over NYC’s famous buildings. Capone-N-Noreaga decided to snap back right away with “L.A. L.A.” Over Marly Marl’s production, the pair (along with Mobb Deep and Tragedy Khadafi) come for California’s neck. “L.A., L.A. big city of dreams/But everything in L.A. ain’t always what it seems,” rang out the chorus before a host of talented Big Apple rappers fired shots at their West Coast rival. Most controversially, the song’s music video depicts the rappers kidnapping members of Tha Dogg Pound and dropping them off a bridge in New York. At a time when coastal tensions were running high, “L.A. L.A.” threw even more fuel on the fire, setting the two rap scenes up for a deadly collision course just months later. —Chris Mench