Southern Rap



Southern Rap in the news

Rap artist Ludacris coming to Musikfest 

The Express-Times - Jan 11 9:34 PM
Chart-topping rap artist Ludacris will play the RiverPlace stage at Musikfest in an 8:30 p.m. show Saturday, Aug. 4. Tickets, $22-$39, go on sale in April, according to Musikfest officials.
Composer Aaron Zigman and Tech N9ne dominate this soundtrack. 
IGN Music - Jan 12 6:18 PM
January 12, 2007 - Nick Cassavetes' new flick Alpha Dog is about youth gone wild, driven to drugs and emulating violent rap videos presumably out of sheer boredom and too much excess money and free time.

Criminally inane 
New York Daily News - Jan 12 1:28 AM
Alpha Dog Fictionalized account of an actual kidnapping among the young and shallow in Southern California. With Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone, Bruce Willis. Director: Nick Cassavetes (1:57). R: Drugs, language, violence, sexuality, nudity. At area theaters.

Wasted youth takes tragic turn in 'Alpha Dog' 
Chicago Sun-Times - Jan 11 10:27 PM
Kidnapping rule No. 1: Never parade your victim in front of a good chunk of Southern California. Rule No. 2: Kidnapping is a federal offense.

- Southren Rap

Here is an article on Southern Rap.

Southern rap
Stylistic origins: Hip hop, other influences
Cultural origins: Early-1980s Southern United States
Typical instruments: Prominent drum machine - Turntable - rapping - Sampler - synthesizer - human beatboxing
Mainstream popularity: Became a staple of popular music in the late 1990s; dominant in the 2000s.
Snap music - Dirty South - Crunk - Memphis rap - New Orleans Rap - Chopped and screwed - Miami bass - Bounce music
Regional scenes
Houston - Miami - Atlanta - Memphis - New Orleans -

Southern Rap (also known as Dirty South) is a type of hip hop music that emerged in the late-1990s as a popular force from cities such as New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, Houston, and Baton Rouge.


  • 1 History and rise to popularity
    • 1.1 Miami Bass
    • 1.2 Southern hardcore
    • 1.3 Spirituality
    • 1.4 No Limit/Cash Money
    • 1.5 Crunk
    • 1.6 Screwed and Chopped
    • 1.7 Yvonne McElveen
  • 2 Typical features
  • 3 Southern Rappers
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

History and rise to popularity

In the 1980s, the rise and spread of hip hop culture from New York City and California spurred cities in the Southern United States to develop and nurture their own respective hip hop scenes. Without large urban markets like New York City and California, major record labels largely ignored the south for decades. Southern rap artists were forced to release their music independently. The mixtape scene has factored largely in the success of many of today's southern rap artists.

Miami Bass

Miami Bass is a popular style of music from the Miami area of South Florida and is embodied by the musical style of local rap stars such as Trick Daddy. [1] Miami Bass is a part of the robust music scene in the South Florida metropolitan area, which is comprised of cities such as Miami, Pompano Beach, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.

Cover art from Trick Daddy album Thugs Are Us.
Cover art from 2 Live Crew album Is What We Are.

In Miami, the distinctive bass-heavy scene of Miami bass evolved out of electro hop and similar hip hop-influenced dance scenes in Miami, including Luther Campbell and his group, 2 Live Crew. 2 Live Crew became infamous after their album, Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989), was banned in a Florida town and the group was subsequently arrested on obscenity charges after performing; the charges were eventually dismissed. The Miami Bass scene that 2 Live Crew typified is simply one form of southern rap and Miami Bass' club-oriented sound garnered little respect from hip hop fans. But the 2 Live Crew is not the only music artist in Miami. This city also holds Trick Daddy, DJ Uncle Al, Rick Ross, Trina, Jacki-O, Pitbull, Cool & Dre, DJ Khaled, Smitty, Pretty Ricky and many more. Miami rapper Trick Daddy also grew up in the Liberty Square Housing Projects of the Liberty City section of Miami, one of the city's and America's roughest areas. The city of Miami is also home to the label Slip "N" Slide Records.

Southern hardcore

Cover art from Scarface album Mr. Scarface Is Back.

The first rap group to gain national notice for southern rap music were the Geto Boys. The Geto Boys hailed from Houston, and consisted of Willie D, Dr. Wolfgang Von Bushwickin the Barbarian Mother Funky Stay High Dollar Billstir, and Scarface. Houston was the first major city outside of New York City and Los Angeles to attract attention from the rap world; the Geto Boy's 1989 local debut, Grip It! On That Other Level, garnered the attention of Def Jam founder Rick Rubin to executive produce and release their 1990 nationwide debut

However, it was the Geto Boys' 1991 hit, Mind Playin' Tricks on Me, that began to break down the barrier for southern rap. The raw and unforgiving lyrics about paranoia and losing one's mind were a huge change from what most hip hop fans expected coming from the South. The song would go on to influence several other acts that would popularize the Southern rap scene; for example, while hosting BET's Top 25 countdown in 2004, OutKast's André 3000 remarked that "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me" "put Southern rap on the map." The Geto Boy's Scarface later launched a successful solo career and is referred to by some as the original "King of the South."

Soon after the Geto Boys' success, Houston became a main center of Southern hip hop. Now-popular groups such as UGK (from Port Arthur, Texas) and 8 Ball & MJG (from Memphis, Tennessee) moved to Houston in the late 80s to begin their musical careers. Both groups went on to release influential albums such as UGK's Too Hard to Swallow (1992) and 8 Ball & MJG's Comin' Out Hard (1993). Houston was also home to Rap-A-Lot Records, the first successful Southern rap label, incidentally headed by Scarface.


Cover art from Arrested Development album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of....

In Tennessee, Arrested Development released their album five months after "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me." Their brand of lighthearted and spiritual party singles from their debut LP, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of..., was a world apart from the sexually explicit, bass heavy party music of Miami and the gangsta rap bravado of Houston, but the group gained both commercial success and critical acclaim. While Arrested Development was not able to keep their momentum going, their success did set the stage for Atlanta's OutKast and Goodie Mob.

These two groups, both a part of the collective the Dungeon Family, debuted in 1994 and 1995 respectively. Their musical basis was alternately heavy-bassed funk over which were party raps, and slow introspective songs about poverty, promiscuity and racism. OutKast and Goodie Mob were the first groups to popularize Atlanta, Georgia in the South and were among the first acts from the South to gain national recognition.

No Limit/Cash Money

Cover art from Juvenile album 400 Degreez.

By the late 1990s, Atlanta had emerged as a major city in hip hop and the city's success and influence in the rap world continues on today. While OutKast, Goodie Mob, and a number of other Atlanta-based acts (several of them part of Organized Noize the Dungeon Family collective) balanced critical and commercial success, New Orleans rapper/label mogul Master P popularized a bounce-based sound that focused more on commercial appeal than artistry.

The late 1990s also saw the emergence of New Orleans as a hotbed for rap music. Master P's No Limit Records popularized rappers such as Mystikal and Silkk the Shocker and became home to highly popular West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg; the compteting Cash Money label presented acts such as The Hot Boys (The B.G., Juvenile, Lil Wayne, and Turk).

The No Limit/Cash Money formula was also successfully co-opted by Miami's Slip-N-Slide label, which included Trick Daddy and Trina. Labels such as these also caused Dirty South music to be associated with "mass produced" albums released in rapid succession. The CD packaging for these releases typically featured brightly-colored, heavily Photoshopped "bling bling"-style album covers; and a whole page of the liner notes for each LP was usually devoted to advertising its follow-ups.

A number of other southern cities were the home base for popular hip hop acts: [1] The controversial Three 6 Mafia hailed from Memphis, Tennessee, Nappy Roots from Bowling Green, Kentucky, Petey Pablo from Greenville, North Carolina, Little Brother from Durham, North Carolina, and Missy Elliott, Clipse, Pharrell, Timbaland, and The Neptunes from Virginia.


Cover art from Lil' Jon album Kings of Crunk.

By the early 2000s, Southern rap was arguably becoming the genre's most popular form. This is due to the mainstream acceptance of the crunk music movement that originated from Memphis, Tennessee. Rap groups such as Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, 8 Ball & MJG, the Youngbloodz, and Three 6 Mafia have had massive mainstream success releasing music focused on the ever-popular club scene.

Many East Coast (most notably New York) critics, DJ's, and even a few rappers have frequently expressed their distaste for Southern dominance, the latest being 50 Cent in a recent interview, while East Coast rap is currently struggling for mainstream recognition. Critics of crunk music (such as Ghostface Killah) have expressed distaste at the fact that some New York artists (such as Mobb Deep) have recently delved into what they view as a trend or as strictly a Southern phenomenon. Fans of and from both areas also tend to clash on the subject of which type of rap is the better. There has been speculation that this might end up being a rivalry, similar to the East coast vs. West coast rivalry in the 1990's.

Screwed and Chopped

Cover art from Chamillionaire album The Sound of Revenge (Screwed & Chopped).

Screwed and Chopped was developed in Houston, Texas which remains the location most associated with the style. The late DJ Screw, a South Houston DJ, is credited with the creation of and early experimentation with the genre. DJ Screw began making mixtapes of the slowed-down music in the early 1990s. This provided a significant outlet for MCs in the South-Houston area, and helped local rappers such as Lil' Flip, E.S.G., UGK, Lil' Keke and Z-Ro gain regional and sometimes national prominence. Originally, this process involved mixing two copies of the same record, slowed down either on the turntables using pitch shift or through use of an after-mixer device. Phasing, flanging and echo effects were originally the result of the two records being played at millisecond intervals.

Some Houston-area artists (e.g. Ganksta N-I-P and Willie D) incorporated the slowed tempo into a few rap songs long before chopped and screwed was part of the mainstream. For example, Willie D's song Die (from the album I'm Goin Out Lika Soldier) featured a slowed-down sample of the line "Balls and my word" from the movie Scarface.

By the time of Screw's death in 2000, the genre had become widely known throughout the southern United States. Currently, the style is exemplified in the music of Swishahouse DJs such as OG Ron C and Michael 5000 Watts. Their work has helped establish current rappers Chamillionaire, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Mike Jones and rap groups such as The Color Changin' Click and the Screwed Up Click. More major recording labels have embraced the genre, and chopped and screwed albums occasionally outsell the unmixed version.

2005 saw the return of Houston as a leader in Southern rap with Houston artists such as Mike Jones, Slim Thug, Chamillionaire, Bun B of UGK, and Paul Wall experienced great commercial success.

Yvonne McElveen

McElveen's work as a performer can be characterised as Southern Rap; most of it is part of the Tallahassee Bass sub-genre. The sexual content of her group's lyrics caused controversy and led to legal cases. Usually, McElveen does not rap but rather shouts or chants—very often in a call and response manner, with her calling and the crowd responding. She was not an original member of the 2 Live Crew, only joining them after their first steps as a California rap crew. Only through McElveen did they become "Southern" rappers. McElveen ran Yvonne Records, which shortened its name from Yvonne Skyywalker Records after George Lucas filed a legal case against them for infringing on the name of her Star Wars character, Yvonne Skywalker. Yvonne actually began as a concert promoter in Tallahassee, bringing all the hot rap groups of the early 1980s to the city. In 1985, 2 Live Crew's initial single (2 Live AKA Beat Box) was a smash hit on the South Florida club circuit, so Yvonne brought them from California to Tallahassee for a performance. She took a special interest in the group and began managing them, and only after she saw a lack of stage presence in the front men did she insert himself into the group as their "hype man". She was dissed by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg on the song "Dre Day". Yvonne's first solo LP, Banned in the USA, was basically a 2 Live Crew record, yet she did not offer royalties to the group for creating the album; rather, a small flat fee was paid. When 2 Live Crew's contracts with Yvonne Records ended in 1991, the group's producer (and Yvonne Records's in-house producer for the entire label) Mr. Mixx left the group and returned to California. However, the group did decide to do a sequel to their biggest album. Initially, Yvonne employed the label's second string producers The O.D.S. to produce the album, but it was not turning into the group's vision, so Yvonne recruited Mr. Mixx to return and produce the album as an independent producer (T-Shirt and Khakis Productions). However, by the time of the album's completion, they sought to make it appear as if the group was totally intact. Shortly after, all members of the group drew up a lawsuit against Yvonne for unpaid royalties, which member Fresh Kid Ice backed out of and revamped a new 2 Live Crew with Yvonne in 1994. Finally a settlement was reached for the remaining plaintiffs. Shortly after this, label-mate MC Shy D would effectively sue Yvonne Records for $1 million dollars in unpaid royalties. The judge in the case, a former musician himself, verbally stated that she wanted to make an example of Yvonne. Yvonne released a solo record (technically, her first) in 1991 entitled I Wanna Rock (also known as Doo Doo Brown), but she remained true to her call and response style rather than rapping, and hired outside producers. The song is seen as a pivotal point in Tallahassee Bass, sparking what some call its third wave. She released it on the heels of the final 2 Live Crew album, going so far as to stop promotion on their album while the 2 Live Crew single "Pop that Coochie" was still in the charts. It is suggested that Yvonne wanted her solo song to be seen as the next 2 Live Crew single, despite not having rights to the group's name. Yvonne Records filed for bankruptcy in the mid-1990s. Former Yvonne Records' Chief Financial Officer Lil Joe Weinstein acquired the Yvonne Records catalog, and reunified the original three members of 2 Live Crew without Yvonne during the mid-1990s to release music on Lil Joe Records. Some suggest Lil Joe deliberately forced Yvonne Records into bankruptcy over unpaid loans between the two men. McElveen was also infamous in the late 1980s–early 1990s for her association with the University of Tallahassee Hurricanes football team. McElveen told The Tallahassee Herald that she offered "bounties" to Tallahassee players for scoring touchdowns, intercepting passes, sacking quarterbacks, and knocking opposing players out of games. It may be interesting to note that Lil Jon (who used to produce Tallahassee Bass records) has a vocal style not too dissimilar from Yvonne—in any case, they both (normally) do not rap and use guest rappers. Crunk music may be seen as the heir of McElveen's brand of Tallahassee bass—both lyrically and musically. She has a new album that is to be released in April 2006. It will be called My Life & Freaky Times. It will feature Trick Daddy, Petey Pablo, Jacki-O, Pitbull, Dirtbag, and Big Tigger to name a few. The first singles being serviced to radio and the clubs from the compilation album are "Holla At Cha Homeboy", featuring Pitbull & Petey Pablo, and the reggaeton-leaning "Pop That" by Plan B and Rey Chester Secretweapon.[1]

Typical features

Stylistically, Dirty South is notably different from its northern and western counterparts. Whereas East Coast hip hop has historically been associated with complex lyrics and sparse urban beats, contemporary southern rap is largely characterized by its upbeat, exuberant, club-friendly tunes and simplistic, heavily rhythmic lyrical delivery. Crunk has been criticized by many for its tendency to focus on danceability and to shy away from political, social or spiritual topics, although some artists (such as David Banner and Bubba Sparxxx) have tried to embrace these subjects.

The production style of southern rap can veer towards either a soul-based sound (Dungeon Family, Arrested Development) or a grittier sound (No Limit, Cash Money, Mystikal). Where most East Coast rap operates at tempos around 90-120 beats per minute, Southern rap runs rhythms at 140-160, upwards of 180 beats per minute, and then places each snare hit twice as far apart.

This leaves more time to be filled between the kick (on the down beat of the first measure) and the snare (on the downbeat of the second). Sometimes this space is filled with quick trills of hi-hats, a style pioneered by Three 6 Mafia and Hit Man Sammy Sam's Big Oomp Records; other times, it is filled with additional snare patterns; for instance, Pastor Troy's "Ain't No Mo Play in G.A.," or Miracle's "Bounce." The fastest and slowest rhymers in hip-hop both belong to southern rap, as different talents adapt to the music's distinct tempo. Sampling, while still used, is less common in Southern hip-hop production.

A mainstay feature of hip-hop has always been giving 'shout-outs' to entire coasts, states, or cities, but a more recent trend that is particularly common in southern rap has been to include much more specific shout-outs to specific neighborhoods or local jurisdictions, such the wards of New Orleans, for example, and particular housing projects.

Southern Rappers

  • Outkast
  • Cunninlynguists
  • Bubba Sparxx
  • Ludacris
  • Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz
  • Chamillionaire
  • Mystikal
  • Scarface
  • Paul Wall
  • Ying Yang Twins
  • Jermaine Dupri
  • Boyz N Da Hood
  • Lil Scrappy
  • Project Pat
  • T.I.
  • David Banner
  • Mike Jones
  • Lil Flip- was one of the first to gain national succes
  • Yung Joc
  • Young Dro
  • Majesty
  • Bun B
  • Pimp C
  • Rick Ross
  • Pitbull
  • Trick Daddy
  • Slim Thug
  • Lil Keke
  • YoungBloodz
  • Big Boi
  • Bone Crusher
  • Da Backwudz
  • D4L
  • Dem Franchise Boyz
  • SouthuNoyz
  • Lil Wayne
  • Baby
  • Baby Boy da Prince
  • Master P
  • Juvenile
  • Mannie Fresh
  • Curren$y
  • Chyna Whyte
  • Romeo
  • Young Jeezy
  • Fat Pat
  • Nappy Roots
  • P$C
  • Three 6 Mafia
  • Smitty
  • Trillville
  • TRU
  • C-Murder
  • Lil Boosie
  • Webbie
  • Young Trump
  • C-Loc
  • Young Buck
  • KoKo Petway
  • Pastor Troy

See also

  • Music of Florida
  • Donk (automobile)
  • Houston hip hop
  • Memphis rap


  1. ^ "Trick Daddy's Official Website". Trick Daddy. Retrieved on 2006-11-04.

External links

  • : The Leading Source For Southern Hip Hop
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