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Southern Rap

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"The South got somethin' to say!"
André 3000 of OutKast

Southern rap is a subgenre of Hip-Hop that (as its name suggests) largely originated from the American South (with the scene being heavily centered on Atlanta) and was one of the most prominent types of rap music in the 2000s, and contains the prominent subgenres Crunk and Trap Music. However, it's also extremely controversial and polarizing. Southern rap took off in popularity in the early 2000s; the fallout from the "East Coast/West Coast" rivalry and the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls were among the main catalysts, as was the declining popularity of Bad Boy Records and the outright demise of Death Row Records, while the ability of Cash Money Records and No Limit Records to publish large amounts of albums from artists that had, up to that point, mostly been limited to New Orleans and East Texas (neither of which were known for being major hip-hop landmarks) with low production costs that charted well convinced the music industry to look to the South on more than just an individual basis. The rise of the Hot Boy$ and Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz around the end of the 1990s (and Lil Wayne's own departure from the Hot Boy$ and subsequent solo success) largely cemented the South's eventual stranglehold on the mainstream, and by the end of 2003, crunk had officially taken over, and snap followed roughly a year later. Both genres ruled the charts for the entirety of the mid-2000s, but 2008 was where their hold began slipping rapidly, and by 2009, crunk and snap were completely and utterly gone from the face of the earth as Trap Music began to replace them.

Southern rap can be distinguished into roughly 3 predominant styles, sometimes overlapping with each other, though many artists such as Killer Mike and Outkast do not fit clearly into any of these styles:

Type 1: Party Music/Dirty South, exemplified by Ludacris, Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, and Gucci Mane. Minimalistic, bass-heavy instrumentals, chanted choruses, lots and lots of Cluster F-Bomb and N-Word Privileges, overt sexism (there are actually several female Southern Rap artists like Ciara, Trina, Rasheeda, Jacki-O and Diamond and Princess from Crime Mob but they're mainly there as Ms. Fanservice and tend to objectify themselves) and lyrics about casual sex, using and dealing drugs, partying, the club, killing people, criminal activity and girls' butts. Also typically associated with artwork from Pen & Pixel Graphics, particularly late 90s/early 00s artists. This was easily the most popular type of Southern Hip Hop up until the late 2000s (and, along with crunk and snap, is what most people associate with the "ringtone rap" era), and the one that people usually think about when talking about the genre in a derogatory fashion.

Type 2: The Soulful style, exemplified by groups such Goodie Mob, UGK, Little Brother, and Cunninlynguists, feature a slower, chilled-out production, influences from Gospel and Soul music, and having lyrics that often deal with social issues, though some do still incorporate lyrics revolving around criminality (often in a more introspective or deconstructive light) or more abstract topics. Often associated with the Dungeon Family and Organized Noize, who helped codify the production style, but they were not the only production group who did that style.

Type 3: The eerier, no-holds-barred style, overlapping with Hardcore Gangsta Rap and often Horrorcore, exemplified by artists such as Geto Boys (though they lack several of the hallmarks), Three 6 Mafia, Tommy Wright III, and Denzel Curry with creepy and lo-fi production, lyrics with unglamorous, brutal descriptions of criminality and a distinctively quick flow style. This style is generally referred to as "Memphis Rap", and has become popular as an influence on more recent MC's and producers due to its atmospheric nature, especially on the emo rap and Soundcloud horrorcore styles that emerged in the late 2010s.

Examples of Southern rap artists