5 Rap Anthems That Propelled the South’s Presence in Hip-Hop: A Journey Through Beats and Rhymes (Watch)

BY Abena Dzaka October 17, 2023 6:07 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Facebook @Jermaine Dupri

Hip-hop developed a distinct voice, a new name, and a distinct personality in each state. The sound was able to traverse state boundaries and reach a wide variety of languages in the area with each advancement.

The Third Coast, sometimes known as the South, entered the genre with something to say in its own accent rather than adopting the voices of the East or West.

In Memphis, the hip-hop sound developed into buck and crunk, and in New Orleans, the housing projects gave rise to the bounce. While snap and trap music are king in Atlanta, electronic bass is booming on Miami’s beaches.

Hip-hop was confined to New York for many years, despite the fact that its musical trends spread to other areas like Boston and Philadelphia. In those cities, hip-hop was a cultural production of the city’s individual sound and history rather than that of an entire region.

The influence of the new ‘gangsta rap’ from Los Angeles marked the start of an outsider’s attempt to transform hip-hop. The neighboring cities consolidated under the East Coast umbrella when L.A. rappers started to challenge NYC rappers.

But when it comes to the development of hip-hop, the South has unquestionably made a substantial contribution to defining the landscape of the genre.

So So Def Records celebrated its 30th anniversary with a captivating tribute performance during the BET Hip Hop Awards, a constellation of So So Def all-stars, including Da Brat, Bow Wow, Bone Crusher, Dem Franchize Boyz, and many others, performed on stage with Dupri, the master himself.

We’re delving into So So Def’s crates and examining five rap anthems that helped the South ascend in hip-hop and influenced the genre’s evolution in appreciation of the label’s efforts.

Jermaine Dupri ft. Ludacris – “Welcome to Atlanta”

Together, Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris wrote a homage to Atlanta, where they both grew up. The song highlights the city’s thriving hip-hop scene and establishes the South as a major hip-hop region, establishing Atlanta as a major center for creativity and talent.

Kris Kross – “Jump”

So So Def’s reputation was launched by Kris Kross’ youthful vigor and captivating beats, which perfectly encapsulated the unpolished brilliance of Southern rap.

Nelly ft. Paul Wall, Ali, and Gipp – “Grillz”

The song “Grillz” is an example of Southern fashion. This partnership emphasized how the South influenced hip-hop style and sound.

Jermaine Dupri ft. Jay-Z – “Money Ain’t a Thang”

Jermaine’s 1998 epic collaboration with Jay-Z had some blurred lines from the original song.

Dem Franchize Boyz ft. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, and Bow Wow – “I Think They Like Me” So So Def Remix

This explosive collaboration between the So So Def family, Dem Franchize Boyz, Dupri, Da Brat, and Bow Wow ignited the Southern rap industry.