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Southern rap

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Southern rap

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Southern rap
Stylistic origins: A form of hip hop music that combines the elements of Jamaican Dancehall toasting with the rhythms of R&B, disco and funk among other influences.
Cultural origins: Early-1980s Southern United States
Typical instruments: Prominent drum machine - Turntable - rapping - Sampler - synthesizer - human beatboxing
Mainstream popularity: Remains a staple of popular music since the late 1980s; dominant in the 2000s.
Snap music - Dirty South - Crunk - Memphis rap - New Orleans Rap - Chopped and screwed - Miami bass - Bounce music

Southern rap (or Dirty South hip-hop) is a type of hip hop music that emerged in the late-1980s as a popular force from cities such as Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Memphis and New Orleans.


History and rise to popularity

In the late 1980s, a distinctive bass-heavy scene 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 barely made any headway nationally.

The first rap group to put southern rap music on the map were the Geto Boys. The Geto Boys hailed from Houston, TX and consisted of Willie D, Bushwick Bill, and Scarface. Houston was the first city outside of New York City and Los Angeles to attract attention from the rap world. The musical strength of 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 The Geto Boys However it was the Geto Boy's seminal 1991 hit, "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me", that broke down the barrier for southern rap. The raw and unforgiving lyrics about paranoia and losing one's mind proved to the nation that southern rap was more than the booty rap and Vanilla Ice antics produced out of Miami. The song is considered a hip-hop classic and proves to be influential even today. While hosting BET's Top 25 countdown in 2004, Outkast's Andre 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 the original "King of the South", solidifying Houston's status as one of the first cities in southern rap.

Five months after "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me" was released came Tennessee's Arrested Development, and their brand of uplifting, spiritual party singles from their debut LP, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of.... Their sound was a world apart from the sexually explicit, bass heavy party music of Miami, but sales were swift and reviews were raving. While Arrested Development was not able to keep their momentum going, their success did set the stage for the mainstream breakthrough of southern hip hop with OutKast and Goodie Mob in the middle of the decade.

OutKast, more than any other group, put Atlanta on the hip hop map, and became one of the most popular groups in hip hop by the end of the decade. Aquemini, their third LP, was a groundbreaking album that redefined southern hip hop, and was able to successfully appeal to both the core audience and the mainstream audience. While OutKast, Goodie Mob, and a number of other Atlanta-based acts (many, like OutKast and Goodie Mob, of them part of Organized Noize's 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.

Master P's No Limit label popularized rappers such as Mystikal and Silkk the Shocker, and 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 successful co-opted by Miami's Slip-N-Slide label, which included Trick Daddy and Trina. Labels such as Cash Money and No Limit 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 ususally 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 Six Mafia hailed from Memphis, Tennessee, Scarface and The Geto Boys from Houston, Texas, Nappy Roots from Bowling Green, Kentucky, Petey Pablo from Greenville, North Carolina, and Missy Elliott, Timbaland, and The Neptunes from Virginia Beach.

Southern rap is, arguably, the most popular form of hip-hop today. 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. Some hip-hop experts speculate that this will eventually lead to a regional war, a la the infamous East Coast/West Coast feud.

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 rhythmic lyrical delivery. Within certain esoteric hip-hop circles, Southern rappers have been criticized for a perceived over-reliance on production and lacking lyrical substance or creativity. In particular, crunk music (a popular offshoot of New Orleans Rap's bounce music) has been criticized for its repetitive chants and its materialistic and sexually-profane content. Despite these criticisms, the Southern rap genre is now one of the dominant forces driving hip-hop record sales.

The production style of southern rap can veer towards either a soul-based sound (Dungeon Family, Arrested Development) or a more "street" 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 the snare twice as far apart from one another. 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.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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