It was essential that the South made a statement when it came to creating music because the hip-hop culture started up north, in the Bronx, New York.
That statement was made in the ’90s, and it continues to this day.
In the South, there were people who had a vision to put Southern music on the map. They included music executive, James Prince in Houston. Prince started Rap-A-Lot records that featured many artists from Texas such as UGK, Geto Boys, Slim Thug and Devin The Dude to name a few.
Down in Miami there was Uncle Luke and the 2 Live Crew and DJ Uncle Al. They made up-tempo dance songs for people, mainly women, to dance to. This ultimately became the music that Miami was known for, “Miami bass,” or “booty music.” It originally emerged in the ’80s, stated by Uncle Luke. Other legendary Miami artists include Trick Daddy, Trina and Rick Ross.
As we make our way to Atlanta, there were artists like one of the most popular rap groups of all time, Outkast, which featured Atlanta natives Big Boi and Andre 3000. Outkast paved the way for how the music scene in Atlanta is today. Their gifted and mastered craft will never go unnoticed as they took the world by storm.
But they couldn’t have done it by themselves. Atlanta rappers like Goodie Mob, Ludacris, Young Jeezy, TI, Gucci Mane and a plethora of other artists also helped in molding Atlanta rap music.
Down in New Orleans, there was Percy Miller, aka Master P, who started his own army and record label, No Limit. He got the idea from his grandfather who was in the military. His grandfather, “Big Daddy,” stated that Miller needed to start his own army, so Miller started by selling CDs out the trunk of his car, which was ideal back then before the internet and social media. He eventually made it big and signed other New Orleans artists like Mystikal, Mia X, his two brothers Silkk the Shocker and C-Murder, and Soulja Slim, to name a few. He even signed Snoop Dogg after he left Suge Knight’s Death Row Records label.
Another mogul record label in New Orleans was Cash Money Records, which was created by Brian Williams, aka Birdman, and his brother Slim. These two entrepreneurs signed artists who had the biggest impact in Southern music in the ’90s and early 2000s. They signed a young Lil’ Wayne, who arguably is one of the greatest rappers of all time. Other artists signed were B.G., Juvenile, Turk and head music producer Mannie Fresh.
In the late 2000s, they signed female rap artist Nicki Minaj and Toronto rapper Drake, who are two of the most notable artists today.
Last but not least, we make our way to Memphis, Tennessee. This state introduced people to the pimp-style rap music created by rap duo, 8ball & MJG. The duo released their debut album, “Comin’ Out Hard,” in 1993, which ended up setting Memphis on fire. When you think of Memphis rap music, 8Ball & MJG is not to be forgotten.
Another major group out of Memphis that made the most impact was Three Six Mafia. Created by Juicy J and DJ Paul, these two formed a group that no one will ever forget making non-stop music with all production done by Juicy J and DJ Paul.
Even though the hip-hop/rap culture started in New York, the South has been a major player in this evolving culture, and it continues to have a major impact.