Posted by: Ian – Mar 30, 2010
If you don't like Southern Hip-Hop, you're either racist or some kind of yankee tool. There, I said it, please disagree with me and argue in the comments section. It incorporates distinctly African-American traditions and culture, specifically southern, into a style of music that blends the blues, gospel, spirituals, marching band, and call-and-response song structure, and a still-evolving style of beats and production; it is, in a way, a form of folk music. It's as American as apple pie and Rock and Roll (which is southern in origin, as well, FYI). When the (northern) East Coast vs. West Coast beef was evolving and being overhyped by the media, the South was not paying attention; instead, crafting this form of music that is hip-hop yet distinct.
Richmond, once the capital of the Confederacy, is now argued by some as not being part of The South. And if we were to set forth a rubric based on the city's contribution to Southern Hip-Hop, well, the haters might be right. Locals can sure as hell name rappers from RVA, and some of the dopest flows I've heard came out of Concice, but no matter how dope his rhymes were and why they didn't get popular outside of RVA, if we were to travel to say, Atlanta, would anyone have a fucking clue who Murk One is?
Speaking of the ATL, now HERE is a city on the fuckin' hiphop map. Instead of rambling off a list of unfuckwithable ballers from Dogwood City, I'll let some of ATL's finest do the talking for me.
Yes, my main man, Cee-Lo. Clearly the most influential member of the Goodie Mob, he released two solo records, then made two stellar records as part of the supersensation Gnarls Barkley, and now is purportedly back in the studio on a record with super-producer-you-probably-haven't-heard-of Jazze Pha. This track was produced by and features Timbaland, whose production style and mad flavor has shaped southern hip-hop.
"Dirty south mind blown, dirty south bread, catfish fried up dirty south BIG." What more can I say? Luda nails tracks like Romans nailed messiahs to crosses- that shit gets famous. The track, for the record, is from VA's own The Neptunes and it's one of my favorite beats of all damn time.
Don't fuck with this. If this isn't southern, then neither is sweet fucking tea, and if the harmonica solo doesn't make you slap you knee, you're either dead or so uncurably white you probably think Al Gore can dance.
Lil' Jon is Atlanta, born and raised, and don't you fuckin' forget it. He and the East Side Boyz brought his bass-heavy crunk style, which is definitely Southern, to the mainstream, and it's tight. His tracks should not be foxed with unless your system is serious, and I'm serious- if you're reading this on your laptop, haul your ass to the nearest pro audio shop and hook it up. Better yet, get some subs & dubs installed on that macbook. You'll thank me later.
Not originally from Atlanta but still very much part of the scene, Jeezy was born in South Carolina and came up in Macon, Georgia. He's new on the scene compared to the rest mentioned here, but that doesn't make this track suck.
There you have it. Five ballers from ATL. RVA should step it's game UP in this light. Feel free to hate below!
image by Peter Beste