the south got somethin' to say, and that's all i got to say © dre 3000
scene: the '95 source awards
this was arguably the most significant event in hip-hop during the 90's. you were in the midst of the east coast/west coast beef, and the drama was unfolding in a major way during the award show. however, in the midst of all the nonsense, dre 3000 boldly planted a seed to set the course for the next 15 yrs of southern hip-hop. within the next 15 yrs., the south would gain dominance over the hip-hop industry, and make NY & west coast hip-hop seem obsolete....this article is inspired by many conversations i have listened to where people give the south a bad rap within the hip-hop community. granted, i believe there could be more of a balance between the real shit/club shit....however, even if i don't like all of their records, i'm proud of all the artists in the south (except plies, he's a sucka ass nigga).... so i present to you my list of the 5 best southern hip-hop albums.
***it would be easy to list a bunch of albums from one artist, but i'm not a dickrider. the south has way more than just outkast.....break***
honorable mention: eightball & mjg – comin out hard (1993)
5. little brother - the minstrel show (2005): this is the best representation of boom-bap hip-hop to be released during my generation. aside from the sentimental value this album holds for me, it also gives the ingredient for what true hip-hop is all about: dope beats, dope rhymes. i remember vividly going to best buy (purists, don't shoot me) when the store opened tues, sept. 13th 2005 to buy this album. this was about NC. this was about experiencing what buying a classic album felt like. i'm 23. i wasn't listening to hip-hop in '94. i have no idea what it was like to go to the store and buy illmatic, tical, or ready to die....this album filled that void for me. 9th wonder provided great production for this album. the theme of the album is around a fictional tv station, UBN (u black niggaz network, channel 94. raleigh, durham....chapel hill), that deals with rappers raping hip-hop culture, and behaving as minstrel acts (talkin' about you plies). lyrically, phonte was solid, and big pooh showed progression from their previous album, the listening. this album provided the soundtrack to my life from sept. 2005-may 2006. respect.
4. scarface - the diary (1994): very few artists have a catalogue that can rival scarface's. it was the first southern solo hip-hop album to receive 5 mic's from the source (when the source actually meant something).... this is the best example of southern gangsta rap music. scarface doesn't show the lyrical dexterity of a biggie or rakim, but what he does, very effectively on this album, is paint a vivid picture of the world around him. he does this by simply getting from point A to point B, without the lyrical tricks, the production is just as hard-hitting as the lyrics.... released 16 years ago, this album still holds up. definite classic. arguably, scarface's best/most complete album.
3. outkast - aquemini (1998): released on the same day as jay-z's vol. 2, and tribe called quest's love movement. the only album from outkast to receive 5 mic's from the source. this album showed what hip-hop is capable of, it pushed the boundaries. harmonica solo, people rapping from prison, addressing the lack of substance in hip-hop records. liberation is the perfect example to describe this album. they did what they wanted, and didn't worry about the consequences. lyrically, big boi started becoming more of a force with this album. his verses on slump, skew it on the bar-b, and chonkyfire, are why big boi should receive his due respect in hip-hop and not be looked upon as a 2nd fiddle. as for andre 3000, his verse on rosa parks explains it all.... this was also when dre started wearing wigs....just thought i would mention that.
2. ugk - ridin' dirty (1996): i discovered this album my freshman yr....the shit blew my mind. it love how they talk about life. they didn't do it in a corny, krs-one kinda way.....they admit they sold drugs, and did dirt... blah blah blah....but, they also talk about the downside to the drug game, and what's it like when you're in prison and suffering the consequences for your actions. hip-hop is about talking about your life experiences, your background, where you're from....this album gave me all the information i needed to know about port arthur, texas. lyrically and visually, they represent an updated version of run-dmc. pimp c = run. pimp, just like run, was less skilled than his partner, but what he lacked lyrically, he made up for with charisma and personality on the mic. however, the quintessential pimp c moments on the mic are found on this album in hi-life, and one day.... bun b = dmc. very skilled, able to break down lyrically why things are the way they are. he can intectualize it, or can simply explain it in "point A/point B" format. very dope album. an essential must have for any real hip-hop fan.
1. goodie mob - soul food (1995): courtesy of cool breeze, the album that coined the phrase "dirty south"....it deals with life in atlanta from the common man perspective. whereas outkast represented the young teenagers in the black community trying to get money, goodie mob represented someone in the barber shop with a lot of street knowledge...this album best defines the south because it represents unity. the theme of the album is unity, and black people sticking together to overcome whatever obstacles in their way. i believe this is why the album is entitled soul food. soul food represents taking the worst of a situation and making it in your favor. and with this album, and the knowledge being shared by khujo, t-mo, cee-lo, and big gipp, it makes you think and it stays on your mind, just as soul food sticks to your ribs....i believe this album also represents how hip-hop should be in general. they told you about their lives, and they didn't lie about it. they let you know "you may see a nigga on tv/but hell it's almost like i'm rappin for free"....in an age where everyone wants to be a boss, or stunt on what their worth, that honesty is poigant....organized noize handled all the production, and it fits the album very well. whereas southernplayalistic (outkast's debut album) was musical and lush with instruments, this album is very sparse and makes you focus on the lyrics. this is the best the south as to offer, and it's pretty damn good.