From the hipsters who fused dupstep and electro with heavy bass and 808s and called it “trap” music; to Drake and his obsession with Houston; and even the recent mainstream acceptance of strip club culture and twerking; you literally can’t deny the Southern influence in today’s hip-hop.
So for all the West/East Coast and Midwestern Hip-Hop fans who think their respective regions run the rap game; this is the history of the Southern Hip-Hop game.
1980’s; The Beginnings: 2 Live Crew, Geto Boys
Hip Hop was nearing puberty, and like any angst-filled middle-schooler; the culture began to branch out into new experiences, playing around with different sounds and finally being taken seriously by the grown-ups over at MTV. In 1989, The Geto Boys was one of the first groups to put hip-hop on the map, with their debut “Grip It! On That Other Level.” For the babies, this is the group that featured Scarface and Bushwick Bill. If you don’t recognize those two names then, idk bruh, you might be lost.
Also released in ’89 was Uncle Luke (you better know who Uncle Luke is), and the 2 Live Crew had all your mamas twerking down to their Miami bass sound. Please understand how serious 2 Live Crew was about getting your aunties to be as Nasty as They Want to Be; these are the people responsible for the mandatory parental advisory label the industry had to put on every explicit album artwork after.
1990’s; UGK, 8-Ball & MJG, Outkast, Trick Daddy, Everybody Dammit.
If anybody tries to tell you there was a better decade for hip-hop music than the 90’s, knock them right the hell out. And as great as the rap game was during the 90’s, OMG the southern rap game in the 90’s was epic. Besides the above mentioned groups from the late 80’s, this period saw the introduction of trap music in Memphis, screw music in Houston, Dirty South soul in Atlanta, and more twerkable classics from Miami and New Orleans.
Master P held it down with No Limit Soldiers; The Dungeon Family had Outkast, Goodie Mob, and Organized Noize behind the boards producing everything; Swishahouse was just…*pours something out for DJ Screw and Pimp C*. Also underappreciated artists like Kilo Ali, 8-Ball and MJG, Z-Ro, Three 6 Mafia, Devin the Dude, and Trick Daddy had the rap game sewed up; no Mike Jones.
2000’s; Cash Money Records, ATL Rap Scene, and Swishahouse Greatness
There was absolutely no hyperbole when Juvie the Great said that Cash Money Records was taking over for the 99 and the 2000. Not only did the Hot Boys/Big Tymers/anybody signed under Baby give us plenty quotables for the culture, the South was actually rising again (word to Paula Deen).
This era probably had some of the biggest influence on today’s south inspired sounds. Swishahouse was everything, and I mean every bloodclaat thing. Jay-Z wasn’t doing tracks with just anybody; and Pimp C completely washed him on Big Pimpin (all facts). Mike Jones was really a thing, and we all tried to call him at least once. Lil Flip was involved in a rap beef with T.I., who was also beefing Ludacris around the same time. BTW, Luda gave us so many gems on Word of Mouf and Chicken and Beer. Probably the most memorable acts to come out of the South in the early 00’s are Lil Wayne’s solo career, and T.I. aka the “Jay-Z of the South”.
Sidenote: The Carter was actually a classic, we can admit that now. Also, Trap Musik > Urban Legend> anything else TI ever did.
This is really just the icing on the upside down Southern rap pound cake. (Cake. Cake. Cake. Cake.) Look for a part II because we haven’t even scratched the surface. Since I know Twitter will be all “you completely forgot about…” let me just go ahead and say it now: Ludacris, Young Jeezy, Boosie, Gucci Mane, Ying Yang Twins, Chamillionaire, Trae the Truth, Yo Gotti, Lil Wyte, Lil Keke, Turk, Lil Jon, Willie D, Paul Wall, and Mystikal.