PH-1 : Serve you with some Southern Hospitality.
Remember around the early 90's when the West Coast was dominating the rap scene? It was crazy how the game was divided & how folks were simply choosing sides. I even found myself deciding would I be an East Coast bias, since most of the cats I listened to were from the East.
And I wasn't particular fond of too many gangsta rappers back then. Not necessarily becuz they were from the West, but becuz back then, it seems the more real of a gangsta they were, the wacker their rhymes were. While the East might've had fake killers but dope spitters, the West had some dope dealers/wack spitters.
Don't get me wrong, I had my favorites like Ice Cube, D.O.C., Warren G, Ice T., Cypress Hill, Death Row, MC Eiht & DJ Quik just to name a few. But the thing that was fucked up about that characterization is there was a whole other movement going on in the West that wasn't & should've been getting the buzz it got. For example.... the whole Hieroglyphics (Souls of Mischief & Del.. etc.), Ras Kass, Xzibit (b4 Dr. Dre), Paris, The Pharcyde, DIgital Underground, Tha Alkaholiks, Luniz, Fort Minor (yeah... I like them), Black Eye Peas (b4 Fergie), Jurassic 5.... just to name a few dope emcees that came out the West & rep it just as nice, but their skills outshined their gangsta. I feel bad now when I used to hear folks say they sound like the "east coast", when they were simply doing them.
Even til this day, The West still has some fire that's not being acknowledged (except Game) like Murs, Pac Div., Mystic, Evidence / Dilated People & too many to go back to recollect. But that's not the point of this blog.
The point is that I see the same thing with the South. It's been a lot of folks complaining about the music, including myself. But the one thing that's disappointing is The South being blamed for it. No one blamed the West when they were winning all the awards & the only rap that was selling was gangsta music who's subject matters was just as, if not, worser on young minds. But that's not the point of this blog either.
Just like mainstream did with the West Coast 15 years ago, they're looping all Southern rappers into one image. 15 years ago, the images of a west coast rapper was a ruff looking nigga in a doo rag, plaid shirt & kaki pants with a gun, just as ballys & a kangol was an image of an 80's NY rapper. & later baseball cap, jersey & baggy jeans with a toothpick in they mouth in the 90's. Well for Southern rappers, it's wild hair, gold/platinum grill with matching jewels & accessories looking like Tyrone the Pimp on Martin.
In other words, Southern Rappers are made to be a joke in hip hop. By the same ppl that never respected the South, cuz we were looked upon as backwards. It used to be made to feel embarrassed for having a country grammar. 20 years ago, I purposely worked on my pronunciation & syllables when I spit as to not sound too Southern. But funny now how even other regions are trying to cater more to the South now & sound like them. And not the ones that deserves to be acknowledged either.
But you know what's sad? Just like the West, there is a great breed of talent down here, that may never get the props they deserve becuz they're not "crunk" enough, ain't got enough "swag", ain't got no "dance" or "gimmick" going. But one thing they have that a lot of these Southerners that stoop those level don't have.... skills.
Even some of the established Southern emcees that ppl scorn on, if cats actually listened to some.... they are really nice on the mic. Even Young Jeezy, if he got better beats & less "DAMN!!!!" "YEAH!!!!". I might get lynched for this, but IMO, even Jay-Z, New York's god of rap, got murdered by both T.I. (on Swagger Like Us) & Luda (I Do It for Hip Hop). Honestly, I even liked Cris' verse slightly better than Nas'. He did his things, but he didn't kill it. And I haven't even touched on 3 Stacks, Phonte, Scarface or Supastition & many others. In spite of ppl's opinions on that, you can't deny skills & it isn't measured by demographics.
And the South has been the main voice in mainstream hip hop for the past 4 or 5 years. But just like the West Coast before them... for every one (1) mediocre rapper that gets a contract & dominate the airwave, there are about 10 nice emcees that can't get spins or even get love in their own hometown. (See North Carolina. How Carolinians sleep on The Justus League & their affiliates is beyond me.)
I'm not gonna name names.... I'll just let the music speak for me. These are just the few Southern emcees I threw together.
FTR. According to history, Virginia counts as a Southern state, but not looked upon as one in hip hop. So instead of acknowledging more VA artists, I just included the man behind the VA hip hop blueprint, Mad Skillz.